Today is my friend’s birthday. Though he has been dead for 290 years, Giacomo Casanova is one of my dearest friends. I didn’t meet him in one of the Venice Casino’s he loved so much. I didn’t have the pleasure of hearing him entertain all gathered at a Paris salon with his sharp wit and irresistible charm. I fell in love with history’s most famous libertine by reading his memoir, Histoire de Ma Vie.
He wrote about his singular life with such exuberance and honesty, I somehow felt he was speaking only to me across the years. Now that’s good writing. This work, all thirty-seven hundred pages, inspired me to set the record straight about my friend. He is thought of today as a notorious womanizer, the ultimate love-them-and-leave- them sort of guy. He certainly was that. But for all his conquests, most of the time, he loved them with all his heart.
Casanova searched continually for the one woman who could make him constant. He found her when he was twenty-eight in the love he called Henriette in his writing. She was his perfect love. It ended after a few months and his heart was never quite the same. He did, however, live to love again well over one hundred times.
In my book Conjuring Casanova, I speculate what he would be like if he were here today. His imagined discovery of our technology is a guess based on his curious and brilliant mind. His love of the female characters I have created for him, well that’s just some fictional fun. I have a feeling he would approve.
So I wish my friend the happiest of birthday posthumously and will celebrate with a glass of prosecco and a few pages of his work and mine.