The Lost Diary of Don Juan

A Novel

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About The Book

It was a time of discovery and decadence, when life became a gamble and the gold that poured endlessly into the port of Sevilla devalued money, marriage, and love itself. In the midst of these treacherous times, Juan Tenorio is born and then abandoned in the barn of a convent. Raised secretly by the nuns, he learns to love and worship all women and wants nothing more than to be a priest, until he falls in love with one of the sisters. When their affair is discovered, Juan leaves the Church forever. He is soon recruited to be a spy by the powerful Marquis de la Mota, who teaches him to become the world's greatest libertine and seducer of women. But when he crosses swords with the most powerful man in the Empire, Don Juan must escape the murderous fury of the Inquisitor who battles all forms of debauchery, deviance, and heresy.

It is after knowing countless women that he is convinced by the Marquis to keep a diary, and it is here within its pages that Don Juan reveals his greatest adventures and the Arts of Passion he mastered. But what finally compels him to confess everything and risk losing his life, livelihood, and honor is the most perilous adventure of all -- the irresistible fall into the madness of love with the only woman who could ever make him forget all others.

Reading Group Guide

The Lost Diary of Don Juan

Douglas Carlton Abrams

 

Description


In 1590’s Sevilla, Don Juan reveals through his lost diary his countless adventures and romances as a fugitive, seeking nobility.  As a young boy, Juan is orphaned and left to the convent to fend for himself, and out if this grows a passionate, reckless boy seeking guidance into manhood. 

Not long after his adventures with the convent, the great noble Marquis takes Don Juan under his own wing to train and mold into a shining galanteado.  The Marquis trains Don Juan with a noble swordsman’s ability and enough passion to satisfy the entire city of widows and mistresses with his master of the supreme pleasure. 

This the story begins as the Don Juan pursues passion and seduces the young fair daughter of the King Phillip II, right under his lordship’s nose.  The pulse racing rendezvous with Infanata Dona Isabel make it clear that Don Juan will be the eternal sword fighting bachelor, relieving the streets of harm and it’s need for passion.  That is until he sets his eyes on the exquisite, lovely, Dona Ana; the untouchable daughter of the fierce Commander of Calatrava, the Morisco-Slayer. 

Heart-rendering and comprehensive, filled with evocative details from a seductive time and place, The Lost Diary of Don Juan illustrates a captivating romance filled with adventure and expectation creating a supreme pleasure for all.

Questions and Topics for Discussion 
 
  1. As an orphan Don Juan depended on the convent and Padre Miguel for healing and growth.  Don Juan writes: “It was from Padre Miguel that I learned God always sides with the weak, with the widow and with the orphan.” (p.33).   Discuss the quote and focus on the role of the statues, priests and nuns during his early years. 
      
  2. One of the central themes in the story is passion and seduction and Don Juan’s ability to deliver these experiences to women. What qualities does Don Juan possess that make him so successful?  What does this say of Don Juan? How would the women he’s encountered respond? 
     
  3. Don Juan repeatedly discusses mans’ inability to be monogamous and “to be faithful to ones’ wife seems like an unnecessary penance to almost all men. . . . I am not willing to wed a woman just to be unfaithful and untrue.”  (p. 111).   
     
  4. Don Juan’s friend and benefactor, Don Pedro, the Marquis de la Mota, played a critical part in the development of Don Juan’s noble character.  Discuss the significance of the Marquis throughout the book.  What forges their relationship?
     
  5. Consider the following statement spoken by Fatima, “There was more pleasure in one kiss from the man I loved than a thousand nights with a stranger.”  (p. 120).  Does Don Juan feel the same? What about the other characters?

  1. For some, a sexual experience is a union as a bridge to profound feelings of oneness and bliss.  How does The Lost Diary of Don Juan celebrate this idea of a blissful union between lovers?  
     
  2. How does Abrams illustrate the vision of true compassion for women to the reader?  
     
  3. Sword fighting was a critical part of a gentleman’s existence during this time period.  Discuss the art of sword fighting and how Don Juan develops his skill to perfection.    How does Don Juan’ strength and his ability for fight with his sword play out in the eyes of women in Sevilla?  
     
  4. Finally Don Juan discusses the “True Passionate Love,” (p. 257) as he forgets all other women and discovers his need for only Dona Ana.  He declares his love to her in her bedchamber..  What is it about Dona Ana that secures a hold over Don Juan?  What does she have that other woman do not?   
     
  5. Don Juan eloquently breathes life into his desire and sensual ability to pleasure woman, and is very successful at the art.  Consider the following, “Was it not God Himself who made man to desire women-flesh in his flesh- and for a women’s desire to also be for her man?” (p. 248).  How is religion used to support Don Juan’s warm relationships with women and his heightened talents?  
     
  6. Don Juan declares, “We shared our bodies with a fusion of love and lust- which I now understand is nothing more and nothing less that the consort of love,” (p. 274).  Discuss the beauty in the above statement.  How does Abrams illustrate Juan’s innocence and tenderness?  How does this ending support the Don Juan image of today?



    Tips to Enhance Your Book Club

     

Throw a Casanova party and view the 2005 release of the movie, Casanova, directed by Lasse Hallstom.  Discuss the parallels between Casanova and Don Juan. 

http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=5201 is an online historical book for further reading on the historical influences of Don Juan.  Visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Juan_Tenorio to learn more about the story of Don Juan.  Peruse these websites to discuss the historical influences of Don Juan. 

The tender topics courageously approached by author Douglas Carlton Abrams lends itself to discussion of the oldest debated topics in the world: passion and relationships.  Visit http://nourishingarts.com/index.htm for more information about passion for women.  Let this website and the book act as platform for further discussion and appreciation of various viewpoints on the topic.

About The Author

Photograph © Susan Shacter

Douglas Carlton Abrams is the nationally bestselling author of The Lost Diary of Don Juan, which has been published in thirty languages.  He writes fact-based fiction and did extensive research for his new novel, including swimming with and recording humpback whales, meeting present-day whalers, and cage diving with great white sharks. Previously an editor at the University at California Press and HarperCollins, he is the cofounder of Idea Architects, a book and media development agency.
 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Washington Square Press (July 1, 2008)
  • Length: 336 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781416532521

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