The Hidden Story Of Don Giovanni, Mozart’s Jewish Opera
Text for Freudian reference: Burke, Janine: The Sphinx On The Table: Sigmund Freud’s Art Collection And The Development Of Psychoanalysis, 2006, Walker & Co.
A rake seduces women and murders their male relatives with impunity until the statue of one of his victims invites him to supper and drags him to hell. It sounds silly, but for two centuries it was the most-favored plot device in Western Literature. Don Juan was the invention of Tirso de Molina, a Spanish monk from a family of converted Jews. Concealed in its puppet-theater plot is a Jewish joke; Don Juan exists to prove by construction that a devout Christian can be a sociopath, and by extension, that the Christian world can be ruled by sociopaths. The Enlightenment’s most insidious attack on Catholic faith, then, came not from athiests like Voltaire, but from a Spanish monk with buried Jewish sensibilities.
–David P. Goldman
Every collector is a substitute for Don Juan Tenorio…
Dave seems to have opened a can of worms here in his interpretation of Don Juan. I wasn’t overly familiar with the legend or sources either. I have done some research on the internet to gain a little familiarity.
While Dave finds a Jewish joke in the ‘puppet-theater’ plot I must say I’m having a hard time finding it in Tirso de Molina’s play and the various synopses and analyses.
Unless Dave’s interpretation is in Lorenzo Da Ponte’s libretto of 1786 I can’t find evidence of the joke in Tirso. In researching Dave himself who doubles as a religious economist and music critic he admits to writing from a Jewish perspective as a religious Jew. As such his attitude seems to be that the ritualistic legal Semitic approach to society is conducive to a just society while the Western approach of freedom of conscience, choice and speech has led to a society of sociopaths. As the Moslem Semites shout: To hell with Freedom. He places this construction in the context of religion rather than psychology, maintaining that Jews are outside of human psychology. This is wise because the ruling spirit of psycho-analysis was a fellow Jew, Sigmund Freud. If society is sociopathic, Christianity, by which Dave appears to mean Catholicism, would be absolved while Dave’s own legalistic Judaism is at fault. After all as BenZion Netanyahu points out in his history of the Jews in Spain, the West (or Christianity as the Jews always put it) was a branch grafted onto a Jewish trunk.
Dave makes one error in his claims about the evolution of the Don Juan myth. Tirso has Don seduce less than a half dozen women before an aggrieved father who had threatened to hound Juan returns from the grave to wreak his vengeance. This would seem to obviate the Jewish joke.
By the nineteenth century Don Juan’s conquests had increased to the thousands. Indeed Giovanni Casanova, a legend of seduction, seems to have patterned his career after Juan, while Jose Zorilla wrote a stage version as late as 1844 harking back to Tirso. Rather than the story being unsuitable for the present age as Dave suggests the Zorilla play has been staged as an annual event in Spain every year since its inception to the present.
Indeed, it may be that one of the great Don Juans of history may have been Sigmund Freud himself. In the quote that heads this piece Freud says: Every collector is a substitute for Don Juan Tenorio…. Thus Freud was familiar with Zorilla’s play in which Don Juan is surnamed Tenorio. Obviously Siggy was enthralled by the Don Juan mythos. He equates compulsive seduction of women with the pathology of the collector. (See the movie: The Collector) Indeed, collecting may be a substitute for the seduction of women as Siggy suggests.
In that light, Sig was a great collector with thousands of pieces of ancient sculpture. While his physical seduction of women may not have been extensive, or may have, his psychological seduction of the girls was.
Examine his technique: He invited the women to lie down full length on his couch or bed which he covered with a Persian rug favored by courtesans for their assignations. Sitting behind them he lulled them into a hypnotic trance then got them to tell him their sexual secrets and yearnings. Perverted in its own way don’t you think, Dave? Law or no law? While passing for therapy Sig had no certified cures. Over the years then, Sig Freud ‘seduced dozens or perhaps scores of women.’
Was the great Jewish psychologist then a sociopath of the stripe of Don Juan Tenorio who he himself references? The famous Rothchilds were some of the most fanatical collectors ever seen; were they also great sociopaths?
Perhaps Dave finds that Semitic legal ritualism preserves them from sociopathy but then, perhaps, he should clear his mind and look at the problem of sociopathy more broadly from a human and not just a Jewish point of view.