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  • "Who is the notorious lover of women? The author gives us an unexpected portrait that challenges the traditional ideas surrounding him." Natasha Randall reviews Don Juan: His Own Version by European master Peter Handke (via the LA Times):

    Peter Handke isn't interested in damnation. He said as much in an interview published in the Drama Review in 1970: "Morality is the least of my concerns... To me, morality in a society that -- however moral its pose -- is hierarchically organized is simply a lie, an alibi for the inequalities that exist in society." And so Don Juan: His Own Version is a story without a moral. It is episodic and uncapped, a text that neither delivers nor allows judgment.

    The legend of Don Juan may be one of the most retold stories in literature. More than 1,500 versions of the tale have been written since the 17th century. The earliest known version was published in 1626, called "El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra" by the priest Tirso de Molina. As you might expect from a priest, Tirso's Don Juan was a villainous scoundrel sent to hell for his sins. Subsequent stories tend to damn Don Juan variously -- and to damn the women who succumbed to or partook in the seduction too. But Handke is defiant of these versions, and his Don Juan isn't corralled into any tidy deliverance (more...)

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