The Dedication and first Canto of Byron's risky, satirical poem "Don Juan," read by Peter Gallagher in a new recording, synchronised with the text, and with lush illustrations by Lynette Yencho.
Canto One was first printed anonymously in July 1819 by John Murray (also Jane Austen's publisher) who feared prosecution for the "wicked Lord's" attacks on conservative politics, politicians and poets; for his sexual innuendo, loose language and, possibly; for offending the values of the "middling classes." But it was an open secret that the author was Byron and the Poem was an immediate, popular hit. In the hilarious bedroom-romp of the first Canto of 'Don Juan', England's greatest satirist since Pope had found his mature voice.
Now, Peter Gallagher's two-hour reading brings you the music and fun of Byron's exquisitely-rhymed ottava-rima verse. Best on the iPad (2 or 3). Also in iBooks on the iPhone.
Byron's greatest epic poem is first and funny, deliciously funny. Long before rap-stars dissed each other, Byron was mocking fellow poets, parents, and The Establishment. So while there are several free copies available and Byron's genius is already rightly established, the reason for this enthusiastic review is the perfect narration of the text by Peter Gallagher accompanied by lovely illustrations by Lynette Yencho. This will be a template for future electronic poetry with integrated audio, visual and the original text. But it is the narration that most commends this release. Great poetry is best listened to but all too often butchered by the reader - not so here. Gallagher seems to inhabit Byron's voice so effectively that I find myself questioning his morality.
If there is a potential downside it is that this work only covers Cantos 1, leaving the reader/listener waiting for more.
The Essential Don Juan
Peter Gallagher's audio recordings of Byron's Don Juan are magnificent. This recording of Canto 1 introduces us to Juan's story and Byron's masterwork through Gallagher's ability to voice the rhyme, the meter, and the theater in a truly delightful way. This recording and Gallagher's others available on Librivox are a nearly perfect way to introduce new readers to Byron.
Paraphrase from the Kenyon Review— The two absolutely unsurpassable poetic works in the English language are King Lear and Don Juan, for tragedy and comedy.