Don Juan, Canto 5

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788 - 1824)

Juan, captured by Turkish pirates and sold into slavery is bought by a beautiful Princess as her toy-boy. Dressed as an odalisque, he is smuggled into the Sultan's harem for a steamy assignation. Unbelievably, Byron's publisher almost baulked at this feast of allusive irony, blasphemy (mild), calumny, scorn, lesse-majeste, cross-dressing, bestiality, assassination, circumcision and dwarf-tossing. This was the last Canto published by the stuffy John Murray (who had, however, made a tidy fortune on the earlier parts of the Epic). Although Byron's mood starts, after this, to grow darker and his bitterness at English hypocrisy to grow sharper, his discursive comedy and precise and intriguing rhyme is rarely better than in Canto V. (Summary by Peter Gallagher)

Genre(s): Poetry

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 Part 1 Peter Gallagher
Play 02 Part 2 Peter Gallagher
Play 03 Part 3 Peter Gallagher
Play 04 Part 4 Peter Gallagher
Play 05 Part 5 Peter Gallagher
Play 06 Part 6 Peter Gallagher
Play 07 Part 7 Peter Gallagher
Play 08 Part 8 Peter Gallagher