The Story of Casanova’s Life

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A 3,700  page diary belonging to Giacomo Casanova has been purchased by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. The amount of pages is enough to put any modern sex diarist to shame. It took two years to secure this diary and it seems that the global financial crisis and the subsequent recession in Europe wasn’t going to dampen France’s enthusiasm in purchasing this diary -the GFC beginning almost two years ago. Apparently an anonymous patron donated €7 million toward the acquisition. It’s nice to know that there are generous benefactors around. But Frances interest in the diary is also related to Casanova’s account of life in Paris:

Casanova made a hurried escape from Paris in 1760 after earning the wrath of eminent subjects of Louis XV for seducing their wives and daughters and cheating them of money.

The tale of the manuscript’s survival was almost as colourful as the 73-year life of the gambler, swindler, diplomat and impenitent libertine who died in exile in Bohemia in 1798. Bowdlerised, pirated versions were published across Europe from the early 19th century, mainly focusing on Casanova’s amorous exploits with 120 women and girls, including a nun.

“As for women, I have always found that the one I was in love with smelled good, and the more copious her sweat the sweeter I found it,” Casanova wrote. [source]

The question remains. Will there be interest in contemporary (and frequently online) sex diaries two hundred years from now or will they disappear, as most web sites do? Despite all the hoo-ha about gadgets like Kindle, the written hard copy seems to have withstood time. When you really think about it, if parchment is preserved well, it tends to last longer than computers and other gadgets that need to be constantly upgraded.

Some notable facts about the world’s most famous ‘lover’ and bon vivant include:

  • He once worked as a scribe to a Catholic cardinal.
  • He had a degree in law.
  • He was a compulsive gambler -an interesting detail in relation to his promiscuity (Could there be a correlation between impulsive behavior like gambling and high numbers of sexual partners?)

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