Casanova was a soldier, clergyman, gambler, adventurer, and writer, but he is best remembered as the master seducer who had won the hearts of countless women in 18th century Europe. He was such a great womanizer that he is regarded by many as the “world’s greatest lover”. Other than his romantic accomplishments, Casanova was also an excellent writer who gave a vivid account of his adventures and romantic experiences in his memoir Story of My Life.
Giacomo Girolamo Casanova de Seingalt was born on the 2nd of April, 1725 in Venice, Italy. He was the son of actor and director Gaetano Casanova, and the beautiful actress Giovanna Maria Farussi. Casanova’s father passed away when he was just eight years old, and his mother raised him and his siblings on her own. In the year 1734, his mother arranged for him to get an education from Doctor Gozzi in the town of Padua. When he was 12 years old, Casanova attended the University of Padua, and he graduated with a law degree at the age of 17. He also studied at the St. Cyprian seminary, but he failed to become a priest because of his love affairs and drinking.
In 1744, Casanova found employment with Cardinal Acquaviva in Rome, but he was dismissed because of a scandal. He left Rome and traveled to Naples, Corfu, and Constantinople. He was a military officer in Constantinople, but he found the job too boring, so he decided to embark on a career as a professional gambler. In 1746, Casanova returned to Venice, and he played violin at the San Samuel theater. Later on, he saved the life of a senator, who repaid his kindness by offering him a job as a legal assistant. Soon, he was forced to leave Venice again because he was accused of raping a young girl. He fled to Parma, where he had a love affair with a beautiful and intelligent French woman called Henriette. Henriette was probably the greatest love of his life, but she left him after 3 months.
Casanova returned to Venice after the affair ended. Before long, he had gathered enough money to go on a Grand Tour. He made his way to Paris, and then, started to travel from town to town, until he reached Lyon. In Lyon, he became a Freemason, and he made many valuable contacts at the society’s meetings. After returning to Paris and staying there for 2 years, he traveled to Dresden, Prague, and Vienna. In 1753, he was back in Venice again. Two years later, Casanova was arrested because the authorities suspected that he was a magician. He was sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment, but he managed to escape with a fellow prisoner called Father Balbi. He went to Paris and became a professional gambler again. In 1757, he invented the lottery and he became a very wealthy man. He started traveling across Europe in 1760, making his way to Naples, Spain, Germany, and England.
In 1785, Casanova was in Bohemia, and he became a librarian in the Dux castle of the Count of Waldstein. It was during this time that he started writing his famous memoir Story of My Life. The memoir would give a detailed account of the experiences that he had gone through during his lifetime, including stories of his wild sexual encounters with many women. He completed the draft in the year 1792, but he took six years to revise it. Casanova passed away on the 4th of June, 1798.
According to his memoir, Casanova had had sexual relationships with 132 women during his lifetime. His profound understanding of the psychology of women and his extraordinary sexual prowess made him the “world’s greatest lover”. His charm and wit could warm the hearts of most women in his time, and he had sophisticated plots that made it quite impossible for women to resist his advances.
Casanova’s method of seduction was very much inspired by his own fantasies, and it followed a certain pattern of events, actions, and emotional developments. It would usually start with the discovery of a “damsel in distress”, and he would help her solve her problems. In return, she would let him know how grateful she was, and he would start seducing her. Usually, she would accept his advances, and they would start dating. When he got bored of the woman, he would say that he was unworthy of her, and he would help her find another man. Then, he would leave her. More often than not, Casanova would approach women who were insecure or emotionally troubled, and he would act as the perfect escort and find an opportunity to seduce her. He did not believe in violence, and he won his women by his attentiveness and subtle words of love.
Casanova’s exciting adventures and sexual exploits have inspired many writers to write about his life. Some of the more popular novels about Casanova include Casanova In Bolzano by Sandor Marai, Casanova by Derek Parker, Casanova: Actor Lover Priest Spy by Ian Kelly, Casanova: The Man Who Really Loved Women by Lydia Flem and Catherine Temerson, Casanova in Bohemia by Andrei Codrescu, and Casanova’s Women: The Great Seducer and the Women He Loved by Judith Summers.
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