Fiction v fact (Part 2)

There is a danger of sometimes regarding fact and fiction as opposites: facts are true and fiction is made up.  On a trivial level this is the case.  Fiction, however, can embody truths as well as facts. It is possible for something to be fictional in one sense but to be true in another and there are various examples of this in ‘Casanova in Paris’.  Our story is not ‘true’ in the sense that its plots actually happened, but it does contain a great deal of truth within it.  So many features of the real Casanova’s life feature in our story that it does have something of the character of a dramatized biography: his prison escape, Robert Damiens, the lottery, the history of his relationship with De Bernis and so on.  There are other features of his life, however, which are represented here, but not in a way which is factually accurate.  He does, for example, seem to have been resentful towards his mother because of her treatment of him in his childhood, if not on the basis of the events we have described here.  He did put himself at great risk in Paris to help a young woman (Giustiniana Wynne) who was carrying the unwanted child of another man (as he did on several occasions in his life).  Gabrielle was a fictional character although the legal and social restrictions she faces were typical of French women of the time.  It would possibly be an exaggeration to say that De Bernis was a spymaster although it is undoubtedly true that he made use of informants and that the court of Louis XV was riven by paranoia and factionalism.

 

 

‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ is freely available here.

27 long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.

 

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