Don Juan and Casanova: The Seducer in Literature and Film - CPLT6550

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Autumn Term 6 15 (7.5) Joanne Pettitt checkmark-circle


Don Juan and Casanova are archetypes of the male seducer who, in the Western European tradition, stand for different interpretations of excessive passion. Don Juan hunts for virgins, nuns, and other women who are difficult to get (in that they belong to other men). Casanova, in turn, was attracted to the easy accessibility of moments of intense pleasure, which, although within potential reach to all, only few knew how to enjoy.

In this module we shall chart the metamorphoses of these two almost mythical figures since their emergence in seventeenth-century Spain and eighteenth-century Italy to explore the relationship between literature, music, film, and the erotic within different cultural and historical contexts. In our close analyses of plays, novellas, opera, and film, we will engage with the works of Freud and Jung, and we will consider gender as both a structure of power and, for Casanova, as a potentially fluid construct. More broadly, we will consider the historical, social and political contexts that frame various incarnations of Don Juan and Casanova, and we will use these central figures to answer important questions about the depiction of society, religion, sexuality, and morality.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Presentation (20 minutes) – 20%
Essay (3,000 words) – 80%

Reassessment methods
Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Analyse critically a selection of representations of Don Juan and Casanova as archetypes of the male seducer in literature, music, and film;
2 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the gender-historical and wider philosophical questions that are at stake in such representations;
3 Demonstrate detailed understanding of what motivates the creation of these archetypes, such as the projection of male/female anxieties concerning sexuality or conflicting relations between individual and society;
4 Engage at an advanced critical level with the literary texts, music, and films discussed through close interpretations of these works;
5 Demonstrate systematic knowledge of key theoretical concepts relevant to the study of Don Juan and Casanova;
6 Demonstrate a systematic and critical understanding of recent criticism relating to texts, films and music studied on the module.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate confident communication skills using a variety of methods;
2 Demonstrate refined written communication skills, including the structuring of an original argument;
3 Demonstrate the ability to read closely and critically, and to apply a range of critical terms to literary texts; as well as film and music;
4 Engage critically and systematically with recent criticism;
5 Demonstrate the ability to undertake the comparative analysis of literature and other media, and to appreciate both the complexities and limitations of this approach to literary study.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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