Casanova: philosopher, gambler, lover, priest

From The Telegraph:

Casanova What is Casanova’s biographer to do? The retired libertine did the job so well himself in his Histoire de ma vie that no one could possibly improve on his story, just as no one setting out to describe his extraordinarily restless life could have read, travelled or written more than Casanova, or thought more about the business of living than he did, or lived as bravely or as excessively. The Histoire, which Casanova wrote at the end of his days when he was working as a librarian at Dux Castle in Bohemia, details with such wit, candour and style his peripatetic years as a priest, con-man, cabbalist, violinist, soldier, alchemist, prisoner, fugitive, gambler, intellectual, writer and lover, while inadvertently giving such a vivid picture of mid-18th-century Europe, that not only is there little for anyone to add but due to its sheer bulk – over 3,800 pages, making up 12 volumes – the beleaguered biographer must rather choose what to take away in order to make his own version a reasonable length.

Casanova has baffled and thwarted many of those writers who, while trying to describe and evaluate his experiences, have succeeded only in repeating in edited form the events as he tells them, but in Ian Kelly he has at last found his Boswell. Himself an actor, Kelly is immediately alert to the theatricality of his subject.

More here.