Casanova and Book Lust

So, I’m half way through watching Russell T. Davies’s Casanova, which has rock’n’roll sensibilities (think: A Knight’s Tale) without being jarringly anachronistic (I think), lush historical costumes, and David Tennant. I can highly recommend it, or at least the first part, which made me laugh and cry at different times.

Out of curiosity I started browsing Amazon for info about Casanova’s History of My Life. I was encouraged by the number of people who said “I didn’t expect this to be so readable” (I’ve read plenty of books written in the 18th Century and earlier that were not) and by the fact that the favoured edition was by Everyman, so I bought it.

It arrived today and I love everything about it so far.

Everyman editions are just lovely. I have treated myself to a few of them since one of my university lecturers recommended their Don Quixote as the only version in English worth reading. It doesn’t hurt that they are a bibliophile’s dream: fully cloth bound, gilt-inlaid spines, printed in clear, spacious type on thin, smooth, creamy paper that turns easily and stays turned. They are a comfortable size in the hand and even come with a little ribbon built in for keeping your place. I am not, on the whole a fan of hardbacks, but that might just be because most don’t measure up to these lovely books.

And yes, Casanova is highly readable. I’ve only read the Preface and part of Chapter One, so no spicy stuff yet, but we’ve touched on philosophy, religion, politics and satirising the French Revolution.

He’d have made an excellent blogger.

He’s made me laugh out loud already, and nod and agree in a couple of places (esp on the religion vs reason points. He had stuff I wrestle with figured out two hundred years ago. But then, he was 72 when he was writing it. I’d like to think I’ll be a bit smarter by then, too).

So yay. I was needing a new book to sink my teeth into. Of course, it’s set in Venice so that’s good too. I studied Venice at an earlier period and recently(ish) read Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell which takes place partly in Venice in the early C19th, so I’m glad to add Venice in the C18th to my repertoire.


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