Reviews

Examining half a century of Western literary critique of Lord Byron’s Don Juan since the 1950s, the author, a staff of the University of Tehran, wonders why this critical tradition systematically praises the ‘authenticity’ of the British poet’s description of the Orient. A chapter is devoted to cantos 6, 7 and 8, in which preface Byron explains that some of the incidents attributed to Juan during the episode of the siege of Ismail Khan by Suvorov are based on real events. Nonetheless, the bulk of the article is a catalogue of Byron’s derogatory qualifications of the Ottoman and Caucasian East, except only the heroic attitude of the Khan himself ― counterbalanced by the wait by the women of his community of their capture and rape by Russian army rabble. “The puzzling question in what is touted as an age of multiculturalism remains: Why do contemporary critics insist on the authenticity of Byron’s Oriental world?”

The Redaction
CER: II-1.2.A-25