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The Story of My Life (Penguin Classics) Paperback – May 1, 2001

3.5 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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About the Author

Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) was born in Venice, the son of actors who wanted him to become a priest. Instead he had numerous occupations, and is remembered as one of history's great lovers. Stephen Satarelli is a poet and translator of Italian and French literary works. Sophie Hawes is an artist, printmaker, and translator. Gilberto Pizzamiglio is Professor of Italian Literature at the University of Venice.
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140439153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140439151
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.3 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are dozens of different versions of this book, and they are all DRAMATICALLY different. Do not buy this "Penguin Classics" edition!!!!!!!!!

It is horrible! All the good parts have been "abridged" out of it.

This is one of the silliest ideas I ever heard-but Penguin apparently tried to "clean up" Casanova. They have removed most of his stories about seduction from his auto-biography! Since Casanova was the world's greatest lover, I don't know why they think anyone would want the book except to read about seductions but those are exactly the parts they took out!

Only Penguin could make Casanova boring.

Buy a different edition of the book!
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Format: Paperback
Just like most people looking at this book, I grabbed it because I didn't think there would be any difference between this version and the unabridged version. I was dead wrong. This version is abridged, and is almost completely censored. So if you're looking for racy tales about Casanova's exploits with the fairer sex, you will be very, very disapointed. In fact, if you're looking for any evidence of Casanova's cleverness, his wit, his great writing style, or awesome storytelling ability, you will not find it here at all! However, the book "History of My Life", which is the completely uncensored translation of the book by William Trask is a gem. Not only does it have all of the exploits that make Casanova,well, Casanova, but it also lets us see him for who he truly was: a Renaissance man (arguably a genius) who had one hell of a libido.
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Format: Paperback
Casanova has been hailed as the greatest lover of the 18th century and has become the first person we think of in the ways of seduction. He is the quintessential ladies man for some, and for others, a manipulative scoundrel, an expert at self-promotion, and at worse, a spinner of colourful tails. In fact he is all these things and much more. On top of his many amorous affairs with not only servants and chambermaids but also ladies of nobility, he is a compelling storyteller, a gentleman of taste, a violinist, theologian, philosopher and a gifted courtier. There has been so much written about the man, that I felt compelled to read about his life from his own words. Casanova is the most notorious seducer of women in history, and if you read The Story of My Life, you will understand an aspect of this man that is all too often over looked, and that is, he more often than not loved the women he seduced, and in some cases, remained in love with them for the rest of his relatively long life. In other words, he cared about women, respected them, idolized them and ensured that the pleasures they gained from these liaisons, exceeded his. He used women but he also loved them.

The book is written in a flowing style, descriptive to the point where the reader gains almost a visceral impression of 18th century Europe. Casanova's escape from the Venetian prison, for example, has all the suspense and realism of our modern thrillers. I could almost hear his finger nails scraping against the prison walls as he descended, sliding down in the dead of night during his escape. In his meeting with Voltaire, the gnome-like genius came to life, as they discussed the state of literature and the greatest poets of the ages.
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Format: Paperback
Casanova. The word conjures love, lust, seduction, and romantic brilliance. The man and the name have become icons for the past two and a half centuries as the epitome in the art of love.

Giacomo Geronimo Casanova was born in 1725 at Venice to parents who were actors. At a young age he was brought to a boarding school near Padua where the child developed a precociousness which impressed his elders. At 17, he obtained a doctorate in law from the University of Padua and began a career in the clergy. He travelled to southern Italy and Rome and became a secretary to the cardinal. His career with the church was cut short by scandal, an occurence which would become a fixture all throughout his life. Shortly after he joined the army as an officer of low-rank for the Republic of Venice and was stationed at Corfu, but gave up military life to become a violinist back at Venice. At the age of 21, he saved the life of a Venetian nobleman who became a patron of long-standing to the young man and who elevated him to the status of a wealthy gentleman. This gave him the privilege to travel across the breadth of Europe, meeting famous people of the day and pursuing amorous encounters where his lasting reputation rests. A talented conversationalist, he was frequently invited to the social circles of diverse European society, rubbing shoulders equally with cobblers and royalty. His fickle and temperamental personality got him into frequent scrapes with the law: he duped gullible socialites, started lotteries; became a spy, diplomat, and writer. The Inquisition of Venice accused him of witchcraft and was sentenced to imprisonment in "The Leads" prison, one of the most secure penal infrastructures of the time, where he made a sensational escape.
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