Biography of Sexual Superstar the Famous Casanova

About the famous sexual impresario Casanova, history and biography of the man of love.


Frequently he ate 50 oysters for breakfast, often with a companion in his bathtub built for 2. Usually he seduced his friends' wives or daughters, sometimes 2 at a time if we are to believe him. Mostly he played the adventurer: a spy sentenced to jail and escaping over the wall, a lover dueling with an outraged husband, a gambler making several fortunes and spending them on women and wine. Always he lived by his wits. Giovanni Jacopo Casanova de Seingalt was a man of many talents: in turn, journalist, raconteur, soldier, gastronome, preacher, philosopher, violinist, alchemist, businessman, diplomat, and lover. The incomparable Casanova's guiding philosophy is expressed in a little-quoted passage found midway in his Memoirs: "The instants that man is compelled to give up to misfortune or suffering are so many moments stolen from his life; but he doubles his existence when he has the talent of multiplying his pleasures, no matter of what nature they may be."

So did Casanova live his life, from age 16, when expelled from a seminary in his native Venice for immoral conduct, to his death in Bohemia--where he served as a librarian for Count von Waldstein--at Dux Castle, in 1798, aged 73. In between there was more than he or any other man could write down. Casanova's famous Memoirs run to some 1,500,000 words, and yet they only take us through his 49th year. He 1st won fame when he was jailed as a secret agent in Venice in 1755 and escaped to France, his doubtless exaggerated account of the episode making him a romantic hero throughout Europe. The French soon appointed him head of the national lotteries, a position that made him his 1st fortune, but instead of settling down he resumed his travels. Florence expelled him; strangely enough, the Pope in Rome awarded him the order of the Golden Spur; Madrid also expelled him; from 1774 to 1782 he was a police spy for the state inquisitors of Venice. Wherever he went, never did he cease to search out new pleasures.

It's said that Casanova's famous autobiography should be trusted in the main outline as a picture of the 18th century, but not in the details, though it seems relatively tame today and the details aren't as licentious or racy as they once appeared. Casanova's elegant wit, reflected in these pages, made him the welcome guest of giants like Voltaire and Frederick the Great, but even then he was recognized as little more than a homme a bonnes fortunes. He is of course best remembered as a great lover, his name equaled only by Don Juan's as a synonym for the promiscuous womanizer. Women, he said, were his cuisine, and he knew or invented every trick to lure them to his banquet-bed--from ploys like his "oyster game" (he would convince a likely prospect that they should eat oysters from one another's tongues, often letting the oysters drop onto her "alabaster spheres") to poetry, music, and exaggerated accounts of his prowess in every realm. This fabled lover is a typical example of the neurotic seducer whose need to please is the very breath of life, yet he was as much a gentleman as a sensualist, a rare combination indeed.

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