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The Lost Diary of Don Juan: An Account of the True Arts of Passion and the Perilous Adventure of Loveby Douglas Carlton Abrams
Reading Group Guide
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. As an orphan Don Juan depended on the convent and Padre Miguel for healing and growth. Don Juan writes: "It was from Padre Miguel that I learned God always sides with the weak, with the widow, and with the orphan" (p. 33). Discuss the quote and focus on the role of the statues, priests, and nuns during his early years.
2. One of the central themes in the story is passion and seduction, and Don Juan's ability to deliver these experiences to women. What qualities does Don Juan possess that make him so successful? What does this say of Don Juan? How would the women he encounters respond?
3. Don Juan repeatedly discusses man's inability to be monogamous and "to be faithful to one's wife seems like an unnecessary penance to almost all men.... I am not willing to wed a woman just to be unfaithful and untrue" (p. 111). What do you think of this statement? How does Don Juan's attitude change by the end of the book?
4. Don Juan's friend and benefactor, Don Pedro, the Marquis de la Mota, played a critical part in the development of Don Juan's noble character. Discuss the significance of the Marquis throughout the book. What forges their relationship?
5. Consider the following statement spoken by Fatima: "There was more pleasure in one kiss from the man I loved than a thousand nights with a stranger" (p. 120). Does Don Juan feel the same? What about the other characters?
6. For some, a sexual experience is a union and a bridge to profound feelings of oneness and bliss. How does The Lost Diary of Don Juan celebrate this idea of a blissful union between lovers?
7. How does the author illustrate the vision of Don Juan's true compassion for women to the reader?
8. Sword fighting was a critical part of a gentleman's existence during this time period. Discuss the art of sword fighting and how Don Juan develops his skill to perfection. How do his strength and his ability to fight with his sword affect how the women in Sevilla view him?
9. Finally Don Juan discusses "True Passionate Love" (p. 257) as he forgets all other women and discovers his need for only Doña Ana. What is it about Doña Ana that secures a hold over Don Juan? What does she have that other woman do not?
10. Don Juan eloquently breathes life into his desire and sensual ability to pleasure women, and is very successful at the art. Consider the following: "Was it not God Himself who made man to desire woman — flesh of his flesh — and for a woman's desire also to be for her man?" (p. 248). How is religion used to support Don Juan's relationships with women and his heightened talents?
11. Don Juan declares, "We shared our bodies with a fusion of love and lust — which I now understand is nothing more and nothing less than the holy consort of love" p. 274). Discuss the beauty in the above statement. How does Abrams illustrate Juan's innocence and tenderness? How does this ending support the passionate ideals of today?
Tips to Enhance Your Book Club
1. Throw a Don Juan party and view the 2005 movie Casanova, directed by Lasse Hallström. Discuss the parallels and differences between Casanova and Don Juan.
2. For further reading on the historical influences of Don Juan, visit http://www.don-juan.net and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Juan to learn more about Don Juan's story. After reading these sites, discuss the historical influences of Don Juan.
3. The tender topics courageously approached by author Douglas Carlton Abrams lends itself to discussion of the oldest debated topics in the world: passion and relationships. Read the book coauthored by Doug's wife, Rachel Carlton Abrams, M.D., The Multi-Orgasmic Woman, for a further exploration of women's passion and sexuality. Let both books act as platforms for further discussion and appreciation of various viewpoints on the topic.
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