Girl in Byron's Don Juan / MON 1-6-14 / 1988 Best Play Tony winner inspired by Puccini / 2007 Stephen Colbert satirical book
Monday, January 6, 2014
Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel
Relative difficulty: Medium
M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN (17A: *"The Sixth Sense" director)
M. BUTTERFLY (23A: *1988 Best Play Tony winner inspired by Puccini)
X-ACTO (39A: *Craft knife brand)
"I AM AMERICA" (47A: *2007 Stephen Colbert satirical book)
"'V' IS FOR VENGEANCE" (58A: *22nd in a Sue Grafton series)
Word of the Day: LEILA (35A: Girl in Byron's "Don Juan") —
Don Juan is a satiric poem by Lord Byron, based on the legend of Don Juan, which Byron reverses, portraying Juan not as a womaniser but as someone easily seduced by women. It is a variation on the epicform. Byron himself called it an "Epic Satire" (Don Juan, c. xiv, st. 99). Modern critics generally consider it Byron's masterpiece, with a total of more than 16,000 lines of verse. Byron completed 16 cantos, leaving anunfinished 17th canto before his death in 1824. Byron claimed he had no ideas in his mind as to what would happen in subsequent cantos as he wrote his work.When the first two cantos were published anonymously in 1819, the poem was criticised for its 'immoral content', though it was also immensely popular. […] [In Canto VIII], Juan and John join fearlessly and bravely in the savage assault on Ismail. They scale the walls of the town and charge into battle. The conquest of Ismail causes the slaughter of 40,000 Turks, among them women (a few of whom are ravished) and children. Juan nobly rescues a ten-year-old Muslim girl, from two murderous Cossacks intent on killing her, and immediately resolves to adopt her as his own child. A noble Tartar khan valiantly fights to the death beside his five sons, just as instructed by Mahomet, presumably to be rewarded with houris in heaven.Juan is a hero and is sent to Saint Petersburg, accompanied by the Muslim girl, whom he makes a vow to protect. Her name, Leila, is only revealed in Canto X.
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P.S. if you are thinking "but there are other LEILAs," let me stop you right there and tell you you are thinking of Eric Clapton's LAYLA, LAILA Ali, or LEELA from "Futurama." There are, actually, a few other LEILAs (an old-time actress, a character in a novel here and there), but they make the Byron girl seem Meryl Streep-famous by comparison.
P.P.S. Apologies to opera buffs, but come on.