One of the most notorious hedonists is being honored: the infamous and legendary Casanova. A native Italian, Giacomo Girolamo Casanova is most famous for “seducing the wives and daughters of important subjects of King Louis XV and cheating them out of their money.”
There have been numerous movies, TV specials and TV series glamorizing his triumphs over the years. Now, after fleeing Paris in 1760 for his indiscretions, he is back as an honorary guest of the National Library of France…or, at least, through the words of his memoirs and other writings.
The exhibition, “Casanova—The Passion for Freedom,” includes his memoirs’ original manuscript entitled “The Story of My Life.” If only all our lives were as exciting and deliciously scandalous as dear ol’ Giacomo’s.
The story alone of how these writings were kept safe for over two centuries is exciting enough, without even beginning to delve into his exploits.
Irony has encompassed the sale of Casanova’s writings, from the deal’s cost achieving the title of most expensive purchase—$9.6 million—by the French library, to it being hailed the most spectacular as well. The man who was frowned upon so deeply within the upper circles of French society is probably laughing to himself in his grave right now.
The most amusing point made by this New York Times article is Casanova has been hailed a feminist. It’d be interesting to know how many feminists would agree with that comparison. I suppose one point Casanova might have made regarding women is that it is there choice whether or not they would want to sleep with him. Although, I’m not so sure that would qualify him as a feminist.
Whether or not people condemn his behavior, he is a part of history and our society seems to thrive on a good story—especially the really juicy ones. His might be one of the juiciest in history. I know I plan on going if I get the chance. I mean, why not?