In his MEMOIRS (MEMOIRES ECRITS PAR LUI-MEME), Casanova, who took for himself the additional name of Seingalt, set forth his amazing life of adventures as he remembered them in his old age. Not everything in his reminiscences tallies with discoverable historical fact, either because the writer’s memory was faulty in his old age or because he colored the truth for the sake of a better story. In his autobiography Casanova reveals himself as a man ruled by pleasure, passion, and a delicate sense of revenge. He was superficial, amoral, proud, and sometimes extremely foolish. As he tells the story, he was also a brave man. He faced poverty, ill fortune, imprisonment, and even possible death with fortitude. The only situation before which he quailed was marriage, a state which would have put an end to his unconventional way of life. Although Italian was his mother tongue, he wrote his MEMOIRS in French. In the work there is perhaps less philosophizing than one might expect from an old man. Casanova seems generally to have thought his life a full and generous one, over which there was little need to ponder or grieve because of past follies or mistakes.
Casanova was the oldest child of Gaetan Joseph Jacques Casanova and his wife Zanetta, the beautiful daughter of a Venetian shoemaker. When a child, he was left with his maternal grandmother while his parents continued their careers on the stage. Rather strangely, Casanova could remember nothing...
(The entire section is 1777 words.)
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