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The name of Giacomo Casanova, Chevalier de Seingalt (1725-1798), in now synonymous with amorous exploits, and there are plenty of these, vividly narrated, in him memoirs. But Casanova was not just an energetic lover. In his time he was diplomat, business man, trainee priest, traveller, prisoner, magician, confidence trickster, gambler, professional entertainer and chalatan. He financed business projects, organised lotteries, wrote opera libretti and dabbled in high politics. Above all he was an autobiographer of enduring brilliance and subtlety who left behind him what is probably the most remarkable confession ever written. Casanova was a Venetian who explored to the full all the possibilities 18th century Venice offered by way of love and profit before being imprisoned, escaping from gaol, and fleeing from the city to begin travels which took him across Europe. In Moscow and London, Berlin and Constantinople, he met the famous men and women of the time - Catherine the Great, Voltaire, Louis XV, Rousseau - and recorded his encounters for the memoirs he wrote in retirement at the end of his life. These memoirs are by turns subtle, touching, thrilling, wonderfully comic and quite irresistible. Although the present edition includes one third of Casanova's enormous (though unfinished) book, it contains all his major adventures and all is greatest affairs of the heart. 'Casanova is unsurpassed as the recreator of the daily talking interests of 18th century Europe. he ranges from slut to patrician, from closet to cabinet, waterfront to palace.' - V S PRITCHETT

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781857152906
ISBN-10: 1857152905
Format: Hardback
(211mm x 133mm x 54mm)
Pages: 1512
Imprint: Everyman's Library
Publisher: Everyman
Publish Date: 5-Oct-2006
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Giacomo Casanova

"I saw that everything in the world that is famous and beautiful, if we rely on the descriptions and drawings of writers and artists, always loses when we go to see it and examine it up close." Born into a family of Venetian actors, Giacomo Casanova studied for the priesthood as a young man, at a Seminary in Padua. Expelled for his licentious activities, he returned to Venice by way of a secretariship to a Cardinal in Rome - from which he was promptly fired, amid scandal. Back in his home town, Casanova supported himself by conning the local nobility with a mixture of magic tricks, fake alchemy and vague occult mysticism. Rather too successful at this, he was convicted of witchcraft by the Inquisition in 1755, and imprisoned in the Doge's palace. He managed to escape and flee to France, where his skill in self-publicity really began to shine. A sensationalised account of his story appeared as a pamplet which led to a sudden popularity. Styling himself 'Jacques Casanova, the Chevalier de Seingalt' he made a small fortune establishing a lottery. This established a pattern for Casanova of travelling to a new country, re-mythologising himself and his history, making and then losing fortunes. In his time, he encountered such luminaries as Pope Clement XIII (1760), Voltaire (1760), Rousseau and Mozart (1787). His legacy was ensured by the publication of his "Histoire de Ma Vie" - a document better regarded for its portrait of the social history of the Enlightenment period in continental Europe, than for its strict biographical accuracy. Once more impoverished, Casanova ended his days as the librarian to the Count of Waldstein in the castle of Dux, Bohemia (now Duchcov, Czech Republic). He died, aged 73, almost forgotten. "I have lived as a philosopher, and die as a Christian."

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