Short summary - The Story of My Life - Giacomo Casanova

Italy literature summaries - 2023

Short summary - The Story of My Life
Giacomo Casanova

The famous Venetian adventurer, whose name has become a household name, was a brilliant storyteller; gradually he began to write down his stories; These records turned into memoirs.

Like any true adventurer, Casanova spends her life on the road. Arriving one day in Constantinople, he meets the venerable philosopher Yusuf and the wealthy Turk Ismail. Fascinated by Casanova's judgments, Yusuf invites him to convert to Islam, marry his only daughter and become his rightful heir. Ismail himself shows his love to the guest, which is why he almost completely breaks with the hospitable Turk. Having experienced a number of adventures, Casanova departs back to Europe, calling on the island of Corfu, where he manages to fall in love and have an affair.

On the way to Paris, Casanova lingers in Turin; there he finds "beautiful all the same - the city, the court, the theater" and women, starting with the Duchess of Savoy. But, despite this, not one of the local ladies is honored with the love of a great heartthrob, except for an occasional washerwoman in a hotel, and therefore he soon continues on his way. Stopping in Lyon, Casanova becomes a “freemason, student”, and two months later, in Paris, he rises to the second step, and then to the third, that is, he receives the title of “master”. “This step is the highest,” because other titles have only a symbolic meaning and “do not add anything to the title of master.”

In Paris, Casanova watches, observes, meets with literary celebrities. Crebillon praises Casanova's skill as a storyteller, but notes that his French speech, although quite understandable, sounds "as if in Italian phrases." Crebillon is ready to give lessons to the talented Italian, and Casanova has been studying French under his guidance for a whole year. The inquisitive traveler visits the Opéra, the Italians, the Comédie Française, and also the Hotel du Roule, a gay establishment run by Madame Paris. The girls there make such a strong impression on the Italian that he regularly visits him until his move to Fontainebleau.

Every year, Louis XV hunts in Fontainebleau, and for the month and a half that the king spends hunting, the entire court, along with actors and actresses from the Opera, moves to Fontainebleau. There, Casanova meets the august family, as well as Madame de Pompadour, who is sincerely in love with her handsome king. Rotating among the charming court ladies, Casanova does not forget about the beauties of the townspeople. The daughter of his landlady becomes the culprit of his clash with French justice. Noticing that the girl is in love with him, the adventurer cannot help comforting the beauty, and soon it turns out that she will have a child. The girl's mother goes to court, but the judge, after listening to the accused's cunning answers, lets him go in peace, sentenced only to pay the court costs. However, touched by the tears of the girl, Casanova gives her money for childbirth. Subsequently, he meets her at the fair - she has become an actress in a comic opera. The girl Vezian, a young Italian who came to Paris to pity the minister and get something for her dead father, an officer in the French army, also becomes an actress. Casanova helps a young compatriot get a job as a figurant at the Opera, where she quickly finds herself a rich patron. Casanova suits the fate of a thirteen-year-old shabby girl who accidentally met him in a booth. Having seen with a sharp eye under the mud the amazing perfection of the girl’s forms, Casanova washes her with her own hands and sends her to the artist to paint her portrait. This portrait catches the eye of the king, who immediately orders the original delivered to him. So the girl, nicknamed Casanova O-Morphy (“Beauty”), settles in Deer Park for two years. After parting with her, the king marries her to one of his officers. The son of his time, Casanova has a wide variety of knowledge, including Kabbalistic knowledge. With their help, he cures the Duchess of Chartres from acne, which contributes a lot to his success in society.

In Paris, Dresden, Venice - wherever Casanova is, he makes acquaintances both with the inhabitants of cheerful houses, and with all the pretty women that you can meet around. And women who have received the attention of a brilliant adventurer are ready for anything for his love. And the sickly Venetian girl, having known Casanova's love, is even cured of her illness; this girl bewitches the great adventurer so much that he is even ready to marry her. But then the unexpected happens: the Venetian tribunal of the Inquisition arrests Casanova as a disturber of public peace, a conspirator and "a fair scoundrel." In addition to denunciations written by jealous and jealous women, books of spells and instructions on the influence of the planets are found in Casanova’s house, which gives reason to accuse him of black magic.

Casanova is imprisoned in Piombi, the Lead Prison. From longing and pious books that the jailers slip him, Casanova falls ill. The doctor called by the guard orders the prisoner to overcome his anguish. Casanova decides, risking her life, to get her freedom: "Either I will be killed, or I will bring the matter to an end." However, it takes a long time from conception to implementation. As soon as Casanova manages to make a sharp stiletto and dig a hole in the floor, he is transferred to another cell. The warden discovers traces of his labors, but the resourceful adventurer manages to intimidate the jailer, threatening to expose him to his superiors as his accomplice. Wanting to appease the prisoner, the warden allows him to exchange books with other prisoners. Hiding messages in book bindings, Casanova starts a correspondence with Padre Bagli, who is in prison for a dissolute lifestyle. The monk turns out to be active in nature, and since Casanova needs an assistant, he enlists his support. After making holes in the ceilings of their cells, and then in the lead roof, Casanova and Balbi escape from prison. Once free, they seek to leave the Venetian Republic as soon as possible. Casanova has to part with his comrade in misfortune, who has become a burden for him, and, connected with nothing and no one, he rushes to the border. And now Casanova is back in Paris; he is faced with an important task - to replenish the wallet, which was pretty emaciated during his stay in prison. He invites interested parties to arrange a lottery. And since “there is no other place in the world where it would be so easy to fool people,” he manages to get all the possible benefits from this enterprise. He does not forget about corrupt beauties and noble admirers of his various talents. Suddenly, his new friend La Tour d? Auvergne; Casanova, declaring that a damp spirit has taken possession of him, undertakes to heal him by imposing the seal of Solomon, and draws a five-pointed star on his thigh. Six days later La Tour d? Auvergne is back on his feet. He introduces Casanova to the venerable Marquise d? Yurfe, passionately fond of the occult sciences. The Marquise has an excellent collection of manuscripts of the great alchemists, in her house she set up a real laboratory, where something is constantly evaporated and distilled. Mrs D? Yurfe often dine "glorious adventurer" Comte de Saint-Germain - a brilliant storyteller, scientist, "excellent musician, excellent chemist, good-looking." Together with the Marquise Casanova, Jean-Jacques Rousseau pays a visit; however, the famous philosopher does not make the expected impression on them: "neither his appearance nor his mind struck with originality."

Wanting to gain a steady income, Casanova, at the suggestion of a projector, opens a manufactory. But she brings him only losses: being carried away by young workers, Casanova takes a new girl every three days, generously rewarding her predecessor. Having abandoned the unprofitable enterprise, Casanova leaves for Switzerland, where, as usual, she alternates lofty communication with the best minds of the era with love adventures. In Geneva, Casanova several times talks with the great Voltaire. Further, his path lies in Marseille. There he is overtaken by Mrs. Yurfe, eager to perform the magical rite of rebirth, which only Casanova can perform. And since this rite consists mainly in the fact that Casanova must make love to the elderly marquise, in order to adequately get out of the situation, he takes a certain young beauty as an assistant. Having worked hard and having completed the ceremony, Casanova leaves Marseille.

The journey continues. From London, where Casanova did not like it, he heads to the German principalities. In Wolfenbüttel he spends all his time in the library, in Braunschweig he indulges in amorous pleasures, in Berlin he is honored with an audience with King Frederick. Then his path lies in Russia - through Riga to St. Petersburg. Everywhere Casanova gets acquainted with unusual customs and customs with interest. In St. Petersburg, he observes the baptism of babies in ice water, goes to the bathhouse, attends palace balls, and even buys himself a serf girl, who turned out to be unusually jealous. From the northern capital, Casanova travels to Moscow, because, in his words, "whoever has not seen Moscow has not seen Russia." In Moscow, he inspects everything: "factories, churches, ancient monuments, collections of rarities, libraries." Returning to St. Petersburg, Casanova rotates at court, meets with Empress Catherine II, who finds the judgments of the Italian traveler very entertaining. Before leaving Russia, Casanova arranges a fireworks celebration for her Russian friends. Casanova is again attracted to Paris, his path runs through Warsaw ... and everything continues - intrigues, scams, love adventures ...