This introductory chapter explains the coverage of this book, which is about Lord Byron's epic poem Don Juan. This book attempts to uncover the debates about sexual and class politics in which Byron's poem was automatically implicated. It outlines a history of the Don Juan legend until 1824, recreates the constitutive presence of the historical reader, and considers the poem as a ‘speech act’. It also examines the political issue of seduction in the poem and refutes the critical claims that Don Juan was only a name.
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