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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Adventurer, charlatan, musician, practitioner of the medical and kabalistic arts, Freemason, con artist, memoirist, spy, and above all, seducer of women, Giacomo Casanova (1725 - 1798) is one of the most extraordinary characters of the 18th century. The son of Venetian actors (his published assertion that his real father was Venetian nobleman would result in his second, and permanent, exile from the Republic), Casanova became the consummate actor of the age, extemporizing a lifelong performance that won him access to the highest social levels in the courts of Europe. His acquaintances included such worthies as Benjamin Franklin, the librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, Catharine the Great — even Pope Clement XIII, who conferred upon him a knighthood in the Papal Order of the Holy Spur. In all, the astonishing record of his life — thoughtfully transcribed by Casanova himself in his autobiography, HISTOIRE DE MA VIE — so nearly resembles the stuff of fiction that it is difficult to know just where the historical truth begins and where it ends.
Little wonder then that few novelists have attempted to enlarge upon Casanova's version of events. That singular accomplishment belongs to English author Andrew Miller, who in CASANOVA IN LOVE undertakes an inspired psychological portrait of the legendary Venetian seducer and the Age of Enlightenment that created him.
Miller, who memorably immersed readers in the turbulent scientific, philosophical and social upheaval of the 18th century in his 1997 debut novel INGENIOUS PAIN, focuses on a crucial episode in Casanova's career —onethat Casanova himself recognized as the turning point in his life: His arrival in England in 1763, seeking respite from the excesses of his rake's progress.