This huge memoir is as entertaining as any novel, and certainly a whole lot longer! Each volume in the eminently readable Willard Trask translation is 300 to 350 pages long, plus copious endnotes with literary, historical, geographical, and biographical explications.
Casanova’s exploits as a Freemason, faux-Rosicrucian, alchemist and magical confidence-man all rest within a larger context, where the freethinker and libertine seems to have enjoyed a genuine conviction of the reality of his personal daimonic genius. Writing of his first hardships as a prisoner, Casanova reflects, “My Genius diverted himself in this fashion in order to give me the pleasure of making comparisons.” The name of this Guardian Angel was
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