Giacomo Casanova Got Around

Giacomo / Jacques Casanova de Seingalt’s autobiography is pretty strong stuff. He is amoral leaning towards sociopathy, often self-congratulatory, extremely energetic and apparently enormously talented. Over a brief period when he is 23 in 1747 he manages to

a) Seduce a rich farmer’s daughter and propose marriage

b) Change his mind, find another husband for her whom she is happy to accept, participate in the wedding

c) Disinter a random corpse and cut off one of its arms with a hunting knife

d) Use the arm for a nocturnal vengeful practical joke that frightens the victim so badly that he is permanently mentally incapacitated

e) File a written affidavit with a criminal court that he has not at all raped a young prostitute, on the contrary, he has beaten her with a broomstick because she refused to have sex with him

And all of this within 27 pages.

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

2 thoughts on “Giacomo Casanova Got Around”

  1. Uh.
    Another romanticized figure from history who turned out to be a sad excuse of a human being.
    Don Giovanni/Don Juan is another one whose real life was nothing glamorous. In these benighted times, “seducer” only meant that the guy managed to bypass the girl’s defences. Dinner by candlelight or brute force, it was all the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. On the other hand, he wrote it all down giving us a glimpse of a particular way of life during an interesting era. He shed a lot of light on our modern world as it was being formed. He was one of many adventurers in Europe, traveling from city to city, seeking a patronage, gambling, scamming and having sexual adventures – not all women were averse to having sex back then though we seem to be moving back to that presumption. We know Casanova started using condoms around 1760. His memoirs are still cited in academic circles if only on that point. In many ways, the real Casanova is an even more interesting figure than the romanticized one.

    (France was the first nation to artificially lower its fertility rate back in the 18th century even as sex became more of an open subject. It was the era of deSade and a host of scurrilous pornographers skirting censorship laws on both political and moral charges even as the debate about women’s rights was first taken seriously. As one English author noted, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.)

    There are still people living lives much like Casanova’s today, both men and women. They’re all adventurers up for sex, scams, scandals, sedatives, stimulants and just about anything else. Not all of them are really horrible people. Most of them just get on with their adventures quietly, but now and then there’s an exposé or a court case. Few of them publish memoirs, to the regret of future historians.

    Liked by 1 person

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