The Story of My Life, Volume 1
Read by Peter Wickham
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 duel 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. 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 1 contains the first two sections: ‘1: Venetian Years’ and ‘2: To Paris and Prison’.
Running Time: 47 h 08 m
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ISBN: 978-1-78198-108-5 Digital ISBN: 978-1-78198-109-2 Cat. no.: NA0297 CD RRP: $219.98 USD Download size: 1080 MB Edited by: Andrew Young BISAC: BIO026000 Released: March 2018
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This monumental unabridged audio production of Casanova’s memoir The Story of My Life in three volumes covers his first 49 years. He was born in 1725 into a struggling theatre family in Venice, the carnival centre of Europe, and masks, masquerades and music were so much in Casanova’s blood that a glorious, effervescent theatricality lights up these 125 hours. The narrator, Peter Wickham, is so convincing that he must surely have had difficulty re-assuming his own identity after the final recording session.
Rachel Redford, The Spectator
It takes the admirable Peter Wickham well over 100 hours to recount the long, colourful and socially revealing autobiography of Giacomo Casanova (1725–1798), the Venetian adventurer and philanderer who charmed wealthy and gullible old men and women into giving him fine clothes, money and introductions to the world’s movers and shakers while he seduced, he claims, about 300 young women.
Thrown out of a succession of European courts, he always landed on his feet, be it in Venice or Paris (where he crossed wits with Voltaire) or Riga (where he met and admired Catherine the Great) or, in the last decade of his life, Bohemia, where he settled down to write his memoir. His writing style is remarkable, with total recall of innumerable outrageous incidents. As to how much is truth and how much fiction, bear in mind that Casanova quotes Pliny with approval: ‘If you have not done things worthy of being written about, at least write things worthy of being read’.
This is not a listening experience to rush; enjoy it in daily escapist doses.
Christina Hardyment, The Times