Written in ottava rima stanza form, Byron's Don Juan blends high drama with outrageous farce. Sprinkled with digressions on wealth, power, society, chastity, poets, and England, Don Juan is a poetical novel of satirical fervor and wit.
(P)1996 Blackstone Audio Inc.
It's a bad start when the reader mispronounces the name of the title character - Byron's character is not 'hwan', he is 'joo-an', and there are several other mispronunciations of names. But that can be ignored. What can't be ignored is that the reader breaks up the poem by giving the number of the stanza before reading each one - It makes the whole thing feel like an extraordinarily long shopping list rather than an epic poem. Added to that, the rustling of paper, a speaking style that is very old-fashioned (how old is the recording?!) and a complete lack of awareness of the inherent rhyme and rhythm of the poem.
Unfortunately it seems to be the only full recording of this poem available, but I have to say it would be better not to bother with it.
It isn't fair to give such a low rating to the performance of this excruciatingly long, ineffably annoying lyric journey. I think the snarky drawl fits the poem with great fidelity. I found listening to it for more than an hour to be a serious trial, and made me dislike the piece with an intensity that surprised me. So, well done Frederick Davidson, and I'll never listen to another performance of yours ever.
"Glad to have it"
It's nice to see this finally has become available online. Do not let Davidson's accent put you off. He does a fine job and ably conveys Byron's uproarious wit.
He does make one rather appalling mistake: he pronounces Juan as the Spanish pronounce it. As almost any English lit major will tell you, it is to be pronounced: "JOO-un".
A vastly entertaining poem by a truly great poet.
"The best "Don Juan" on Audible"
"Don Juan" is Byron's masterpiece, and it may be Frederick Davidson's (David Case's), too. None of his other audio books seem so wonderfully suited to his distinctive manner. It is annoying that he does't know how to pronounce the hero's name (JOO-un), instead improvising HOO-hwahn for the sake of the meter, and inexplicable that he finds it necessary to pronounce the number of every stanza. But apart from that, the match between Davidson and Byron is, well, matchless. Robert Bethune, by contrast, makes Byron's deftly-turned lines sound like the sing-song jingles of Underdog, and neither knows Byron's pronunciation of "Juan" nor even tries to make it fit the meter. Charlton Griffin does know how to pronounce the hero's name, but mispronounces many other words and names, even with the meter to give him a clue, and is always working so hard to sound impressive that his bombast impresses me chiefly with its distracting pretentiousness. I love "Don Juan" enough to have listened to all three, and despite my snide remarks all three have merit. But if you're only going to listen to one, you should absolutely choose Davidson.
I must say that Don Juan is ranked in my mental list among the best books I've listened
The whole book is composed of memorable moments, I don't think I'll forget the episode when Don Juan is almost caught, hiding under the bedsheets at Donna Julia's, nor when Lambro, the pirate father of Haidee discovers Don Juan sleeping with his daughter or the Dudù episode.
I don't know if Don Juan must be remembered by scenes; rather I think it is the verse, his opinions, etc. which make the book have favorite parts. The poet is very witty and outspoken, but perhaps most importantly, very creative and intelligent. I'm always smiling with things like: "The world is full of strange vicissitudes, and here was one exceedingly unpleasant: A gentleman so rich in the world's goods, handsome and young, enjoying all the present, just at the very time when he least broods on such a thing is suddenly to sea sent, wounded and chained, so that he cannot move, and all because a lady fell in love". Etc.
Yes, the book made me laugh the whole time and also gasp with amazement at all the incidents.
I am very happy with this audio book. It has been an amazing experience, better than I expected.
"Hard to follow"
I have listen to numerous books. This has been one of the hardest to follow. The accent of the reader and story line was to much for me. I tried to listen to this book but after 1 hour I could not stand it any more. Save use your credit for another book.
"Strong British accent"
The narrator has a strong British Accent. Sometimes, it is barely understandable.
I have listened to a lot of audiobooks in English, including TMS and TTC letures on physics, philosophy, psychology, mathematics and biology.
Given, I am not a native English speaker. But I have never had any trouble understanding and following much more complex content than this. What ruins this audiobook for me is simply the author's accent, which makes this very, very hard to listen to.
It surprises me Blackstone Audio would use such a narrator, when there are narrators out there that would be better understood by a great number of people.
If you are not very accustomed to the British English accent, I'd advise you to save your 20$ and stay away from this version.
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