Casanova by Ian Kelly
Actor, Lover, Priest, Spy

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Synopsis

"A sheer testament to the power of the written word." (The New York Times)

Giacomo Casanova's energy was dazzling. He made and lost fortunes, founded state lotteries, and wrote forty-two books and 3,600 pages of memoirs recording the tastes and smells of the years before the French Revolution-as well as his affairs and sexual encounters with dozens of women and a handful of men.

Historian Ian Kelly draws on previously unpublished documents from the Venetian Inquisition, and documents by Casanova and his friends and lovers, which give new insights into his life and world. Kelly's research spans eighteenth-century Venice, Paris, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Rome, Prague, and the Czech castle where Casanova lived, wrote, and died.

From his devotion to kabbalah to his collaboration with Mozart and librettist Da Ponte on the opera Don Giovanni, from his vast appetite for food and sex to his training for the priesthood, Casanova reveled in the commedia dell'arte. And, as Kelly posits, it is from Casanova's careful study of its artifice and illusion that his success as both a libertine and a libertarian was founded.


 

About Ian Kelly

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Ian Kelly has written prize-winning biographies of Casanova, Beau Brummell and Antonin Careme, he combines this with acting, from playing the art-historian in Lee Hall’s The Pitman Painters to Hermione’s father in the final instalments of the Harry Potter films.
 
Published October 16, 2008 by Tarcher. 444 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Noting that he undoubtedly had friends as well as lovers who went to the guillotine during the Terror, Kelly notes, “In this new testament for the modern world, Giacomo Casanova cast himself as messiah and lead actor, lover, sex-god and principal protagonist but also as lead fall-guy, comedian, f...

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The New York Times

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A biography of Casanova points out there was much more to the man’s life than sex. (But let’s not forget the sex.)

Dec 07 2008 | Read Full Review of Casanova: Actor, Lover, Pries...

The Guardian

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I cringed for a moment at his description of Casanova's "adolescent snogging", then reflected that Casanova, the aged roué with the well-notched bed, might well have cringed, too.

Jun 27 2009 | Read Full Review of Casanova: Actor, Lover, Pries...

The Guardian

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Giacomo Casanova may not have been a tinker or a tailor, but he was briefly a soldier and certainly a spy, not to mention a trainee cleric, a diplomat, entrepreneur, musician, cabbalist and, of course, lover, too.

Aug 15 2008 | Read Full Review of Casanova: Actor, Lover, Pries...

The Telegraph

He was born into the 'last great age of Venetian cooking', he liked his macaroni sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, and during his final years, while he mouldered away in Dux Castle, 'A day did not go by', a friend observed, 'that he did not have a quarrel, over his coffee, over his milk, his pla...

Jun 22 2008 | Read Full Review of Casanova: Actor, Lover, Pries...

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