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The Story of My Life, Volume 1

Narrated by: Peter Wickham
Series: The Story of My Life, Book 1
Length: 47 hrs and 8 mins
5 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Story of My Life is the explosive and exhilarating autobiography by the infamous libertine Giacomo Casanova. Intense and scandalous, Casanova's extraordinary adventures take the listener on an incredible voyage across 18th-century Europe - from France to Russia, Poland to Spain and Turkey to Germany, with Venice at their heart.

He falls madly in love, has wild flings and delirious orgies, and encounters some of the most brilliant figures of his time, including Catherine the Great, Louis XV and Benjamin Franklin. He holds a verbal dual with Voltaire, a pistol duel with a Polish noble, and finds himself hauled before the court multiple times, including in London, where the judge in question turns out to be none other than Henry Fielding (The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling). His appetite for life is voracious; for him, a life lived close to the precipice is the only life worth living.

The book is divided into six sections. Volume One contains the first two sections: "Venetian Years" and "To Paris and Prison''. Translation by Arthur Machen

Public Domain (P)2017 Naxos AudioBooks

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Profile Image for James
  • James
  • 06-09-18

Transformational story

Highly entertaining visit to 18th century Venice, well read. A life well lived by an educated and amusing man

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Rachel Redford
  • Rachel Redford
  • 10-22-18

A life like no other

As shown by The Story of my Life , Casanova was so much more than the over-used tag ‘world’s greatest lover’. Born in 1725 in Venice , the masquerade carnival centre of Europe, to a theatrical family, Casanova’s life was an explosive, glittering theatrical performance. The Story of my Life from Naxos in 3 Volumes totalling 125 hours listening (!) is a massive, bold production, and the narrator Peter Wickham is totally convincing as Casanova.

Volume 1 covers Casanova’s first 30 dynamic years. As a 10 year-old he was sent to Padua (where he saw trees for the first time) and lodged with his tutor whose 14 year-old sister initiated the young boy into the ‘ game of love’ which from then on he pursued with exuberant joy. By the age of 16 two ‘ambrosial’ sisters were sharing his bed for masked ‘games’; by 18 he’d been expelled from his Murano seminary for an inappropriate bedfellow.

Wealthy patrons enabled Casanova’s gilded life in salons in Constantinople and Paris as well as Italy where his life was always lived dangerously to the hilt – dabbling in duels, kabbalistic fortune telling and spells; falling in love with women masquerading as men; servicing two beloved convent girls and nearly drowning in a storm as he returned one of them by gondola clandestinely at night; and undergoing recurrent mercury treatment for VD.

He always had an eye for a chance to make money, from gambling to selling a young virgin to Louis XV for his ‘parc des cerfs’. Sometimes his luck ran out. He attracted the attention of the Doge’s spies and ended up brutally imprisoned beneath the leads of the Palace. His highly dangerous escape over the roofs and finally crossing the border by donkey is a thriller adventure on its own.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful