An unusual libertine

One of the issues we had to deal with regarding our portrayal of Casanova was his relationship with women.  For most people the only thing they know about him is that he was a notorious philanderer.  And, of course, his promiscuity was a significant feature of his life although it has been exaggerated to the extent that it has overshadowed pretty much everything else about him and even that has been distorted.  We decided to recognise this aspect of his character very early on in the story without making too much of it or making it central to our narrative.  To have ignored it completely would have been to confuse the expectations of the audience while overly highlighting it might have misled the audience as to the direction the narrative was going to take. We thus introduced it light-heartedly in chapter 2 by way of a report from Stefano and developed the theme through his relationship with Marie.  We are thus saying, ok, this was part of who Casanova was but it was only a part.  We also wanted to counter the idea that he was an unscrupulous sexual predator, at least as judged by the standards of his day.  A typical eighteenth-century libertine, in accordance with the libertinist philosophy that was current at the time, would have been concerned only about their own pleasure.  For Casanova, however, his partner’s enjoyment was as important as his own, if not more so.  With this in mind we have Madame de Boufflers explicitly make this point when speaking to Madame de Pompadour.

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

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

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