The source of love, as I learned later, is a curiosity which, combined with the inclination which nature is obliged to give us in order to preserve itself.
Hence women make no mistake in taking such pains over their person and their clothing, for it is only by these that they can arouse a curiosity to read them in those whom nature at their birth declared worthy of something better than blindness.
As time goes on a man who has loved many women, all of them beautiful, reaches the point of feeling curious about ugly women if they are new to him.
He sees a painted woman. The paint is obvious to him, but it does not put him off.
His passion, which has become a vice, is ready with the fraudulent title page.
‘It is quite possible,’ he tells himself, ‘that the book is not as bad as all that; indeed, it may have no need of this absurd artifice.’
He decides to scan it, he tries to turn over the pages – but no! the living book objects; it insists on being read properly, and the ‘egomaniac’ becomes a victim of coquetry, the monstrous persecutor of all men who ply the trade of love.
You, Sir, who are a man of intelligence and have read these least twenty lines, which Apollo drew from my pen, permit me to tell you that if they fail to disillusion you, you are lost – that is, you will be the victim of the fair sex to the last moment of your life.
If that prospect pleases you, I congratulate you.
The Story of My Life
Histoire de ma vie (Story of My Life) is both the memoir and autobiography of Giacomo Casanova, a famous 18th-century Italian adventurer.
Although Casanova was Venetian (born 2 April 1725, in Venice, died 4 June 1798, in Dux, Bohemia, now Duchcov, Czech Republic), the book is written in French, which was the dominant language in the upper class at the time.
The book covers Casanova‘s life only through 1774, although the full title of the book is Histoire de ma vie jusqu’à l’an 1797 (History of my Life until the year 1797).
On 18 February 2010, the National Library of France purchased the 3,700-page manuscript of Histoire de ma vie for approximately €7 million (£5,750,000).
The manuscript is believed to have been given to Casanova‘s nephew, Carlo Angiolini, in 1798. The manuscript is believed to contain pages not previously read or published.
Following this acquisition, a new edition of the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, based on the manuscript, was published from 2013 to 2015.