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Seducer, gambler, necromancer, swindler, Good Samaritan, spy, swashbuckler, self-made gentleman, entrepreneur, wit, poet, translator, philosopher, and general bon vivant, Giacomo Casanova was not only the most notorious lover the Western world has known, but also a storyteller of the first order. Since he lived a life richer and stranger than most fictions, the tale of his own adventures is his most compelling story, but his memoir remained-at twelve volumes-unfinished at the time of his death. In these ...
Seducer, gambler, necromancer, swindler, Good Samaritan, spy, swashbuckler, self-made gentleman, entrepreneur, wit, poet, translator, philosopher, and general bon vivant, Giacomo Casanova was not only the most notorious lover the Western world has known, but also a storyteller of the first order. Since he lived a life richer and stranger than most fictions, the tale of his own adventures is his most compelling story, but his memoir remained-at twelve volumes-unfinished at the time of his death. In these selections culled from authoritative French texts are all the highlights of Casanova's life: his youth in Venice as a precocious ecclesiastic; carousing and dabbling in the occult; imprisonment and thrilling escape; travels and encounters with major literary figures and world leaders; and, of course, many amorous conquests, ranging from noblewomen to nuns to cobblers' daughters, all of them willing partners in the adventures of his life.
The first new translation since the 1960s, this Penguin Classics edition will provide readers with the most famous episodes as well as the overall shape of a monumental work in one beautiful, unique volume.
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Introduction by Gilberto Pizzamiglio
Note on the Text
THE STORY OF MY LIFE
Family history. My first memory. Journey to Padua.
My grandmother boards me at the home of Doctor Gozzi. My first acquaintance with love.
Bettina believed to be mad. Father Mancia. The pox. I leave Padua.
The patriarch of Venice confers the minor orders on me. Getting to know Senator Malipiero, Teresa Imer, Father Tosello's niece, Signora Orio, Nanetta, Marta, and La Cavamacchie. I become a preacher. My adventure at Pasiano with Lucia.
My brief but highly eventful visit to Ancona. Cecilia, Marina, Bellino. The Greek slave girl from the lazaretto. Bellino revealed.
Bellino Unmasked. His Story
Comic encounter at Orsara. Journey to Corfu. Sojourn in Constantinople. Bonneval. My return to Corfu.
I became a true good-for-nothing. A great stroke of luck raises me from destitution to the rank of wealthy gentleman.
My apprenticeship in Paris. Portraits. Oddities. A thousand things.
My blunders in the French language, my successes, my many acquaintances. Louis XV. My brother arrives in Paris.
My sojourn in Vienna. Joseph II. My departure for Venice.
First meeting with M. M. Letter from C. C. Second meeting with the nun in my superb casino in Venice. I am happy.
Continuation of the preceding chapter. Visit to the convent and conversation with M. M. Her letter to me and my answer. Rendezvous at the casino in Murano, witnessed by her lover.
Under the lead roof. The earthquake.
Soradaci's betrayal. The means I used to overwhelm him. Father Balbi succeeds in his task. I leave my cell. Count Asquini's untimely remarks. The moment of departure.
My escape from the prison. I nearly lose my life on the roof. I leave the Ducal Palace, take ship and reach the mainland. Father Balbi exposes me to danger. The ruse by which I separate from him for the moment.
Voltaire, my discussions with the great man. Ariosto. The duke of Villars. The syndic and his three lovely ladies. Debate at Voltaire's house.
Cardinal Passionei. The pope. Mariuccia. My arrival in Naples.
I reach Marseilles. Mme. D'Urfé. My niece is well received by Mme. Audibert. I get rid of my brother and Passano. Regeneration. Mme. d'Urfé departs. Marcolina's constancy.
My arrival in London. Mrs. Cornelys. I am presented at Court. I rent a furnished house. I meet many people. The customs of the English.
Lord Keith. Appointment with the king of Prussia in the garden of Sans Souci. My conversation with the monarch. La Denis. The Pomeranian cadets.
I meet the czarina. My conversations with the great Sovereign. La Valville. I leave Zaira. My departure from St. Petersburg and arrival in Warsaw. Princes Adam Czartoryski and Sulkowski. The king of Poland, Stanislaus Poniatowski, called Stanislaus Augustus I. Theatrical intrigues. Branicki.
My duel with Branicki.
My departure from Paris. My journey to Madrid. The count of Aranda. The prince of La Catolica. The duke of Losada. Mengs. A ball. La Pichona. Doña Ignacia.
My courtship of Doña Ignacia, the gentleman-cobbler's daughter. My imprisonment at Buen Retiro and my triumph. I am recommended to the Venetian ambassador by a State Inquisitor of the Republic.
Posted December 30, 2002
After having read this book, I'm not sure if the reader gets a fair impression of Casanova's life. The account is largely stories his amorous escapades. And this might have been enough, if we hadn't been in anticipation of stories of an adventurer and Renaissance man (spy, economist, etc.). I advise those who would avoid the 12-volume autobiography would be better advised to pursue another translation. Ignoring the content, I give two positive notes on the book. I enjoyed the writing style, and was pleased by the notes and footnotes. On the whole, this translation is unsuitable for serious readers, but appropriate as a casual read.
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Posted January 16, 2013
Posted July 25, 2013
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