Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

On Both Sides of the Atlantic: Re-Visioning Don Juan and Don Quixote in Modern Literature and Film

  • Author(s): Perez, Karen Patricia
  • Advisor(s): Parr, James A
  • et al.

The study analyzes contemporary literature and film based on two of the most universal characters in Spanish literature, Don Juan and Don Quixote, in both Spain and Hispanic America. Although both characters have undergone re-visioning from work to work through the centuries, it is the aim of this work to present the most salient characteristics of both archetypes in modern times only.

The focus of this study is on works by well-known writers from Hispanic America and contemporary writers in the Spanish peninsula. The genres that form part of this study in Hispanic America for the Don Juan section are novel, theatre and poetry; and theater and novel for the Spanish section. The aim in this section is to highlight the qualities that make the protagonist bear the name of Don Juan and to discuss their contribution to the myth.

In the segment on Don Quixote, the concentration is on narrative alone. The sequels analyzed are from the 20th- and 21st-century and the attention is directed toward the characterization of the protagonist and his squire. Since the scope of this study deals with most contemporary works, and no sequels were found in Hispanic America after Juan Montalvo's 1898 continuation, a brief discussion of previous works is offered, with a major focus on a contemporary Mexican film.

Bearing in mind that one of the key factors for the success and popularity of both archetypal characters has been the reception they had among audiences after becoming mythical figures in the popular mind, a study is developed from another medium that greatly appeals to that popular mind: film. The works analyzed in relation to the literary adaptations are Leven's Don Juan DeMarco (1995) and Roberto Girault's El estudiante (2009) using the concept of intermediality as a framework.

The study explores the re-characterizations of Don Juan and Don Quixote in modern times especially, taking into account time and place as well as the idiosyncrasies of certain re-visionists.

Main Content
Current View