Incest?!

Did Casanova have a child with his half-sister??
It’s possible.
I recently finished the book Empress of Pleasure by Judith Summers. (She also wrote the excellent resource and good read Casanova’s Women.) Empress is about Teresa Imer Cornelys–quite a talented and liberated though imperfect woman. Her family grew up around the corner from the Casanova’s in Venice, and her father had an affair with Casanova’s widowed mother. As teens Teresa and C. played doctor at Senator Malipiero’s palazzo until the gouty, toothless, old guy caught them and beat C. about the head with a cane.
Some years later, C. happened to be back in town at the same time as Teresa (she was an actress and had lived in Vienna for a while). She and C. reminisced about old times, but he said, “It was their final hour that counted.” That hour produced Sophie, whom he didn’t know about until about five years later when he ran into Teresa in Amsterdam and saw a little girl with his exact features.
Next, they all ended up in London at the same time. Teresa was the indefatigable impressario of Carlisle House, an exclusive mansion with bouncers, THE party place for royals, peers, dukes, lords–the creme. C. paid for Sophie’s boarding school at this time but couldn’t save Teresa from her own mismanagement and extravagances. She died in debtor’s prison.
So at the end of Summers’ book, she quotes Teresa saying that Teresa’s father Giuseppe was well aware of Casanova’s birth.  Summers implies that Giuseppe was C’s father. It’s well-founded that Giussepe had an affair with Zanetta, C’s mother, but perhaps the affair had started earlier than first surmised and that he was C’s biological father.  For support, she notes that Teresa and C. had the same nose and shared many personality traits.

What do you think? Are you Dubious? Shocked? Grossed out?

I think I’ll write to Judith Summers. Marco says she’s really nice.

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About seductivevenice

Teacher, writer, traveler, dancer, reader, photographer, gardener.
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One Response to Incest?!

  1. I heard from author Judith Summers. What a lovely person! Her reply was quite genial and easy going. She quoted Teresa Cornelys again and reiterated that the letter leads one to believe that Giuseppe Imer was father to both Teresa and Giacomo Casanova, which means that they committed incest–apparently unknowingly at the time, though Teresa seemed to have known it later, perhaps later in her life. The letter says that her father knew of C’s birth, so maybe Teresa knew it all along……

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