[Milton-L] Re Paradise Lost and the Many Versions of the Don Juan Legend

Arnie Perlstein arnieperlstein at myacc.net
Wed Apr 25 16:14:05 EDT 2007

I am sure I am not the first person to detect some resonance between the
behavior of Satan in tempting Eve in Paradise Lost and that of Don Juan in
the various versions of the legend. In each case, there is the attempt by a
corruptor to cause a virtuous woman to sin. 

However, I have taken a quick look at JSTOR, Amazon.com, Google and Google
Books, and was surprised to only find discussion in that ballpark in
"Paradise Lost and the Romantic Reader" by Lucy Newlyn, focused on Byron's
Don Juan, over which Milton's poem obviously cast a large shadow.   

If I can trust Samuel Waxman's 1908 article on the subject, the first Don
Juan was Cueva's Infamador (1581) but the one which first made a big splash
throughout Europe was Tirso's Burlador (1630), and there were then some
Italian and French play versions before Milton wrote Paradise Lost, so I
would guess that Milton would have been aware of the legend when he wrote

I wonder whether anyone here can suggest which other commentators have
written on this subject? 


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