I got word yesterday from Helmut and Furio that they’ve accepted my gondola article for publication in l’Intermediaire des Casanovists. I hadn’t heard from them and wondered what was up, and as usual, it turns out they each were traveling. Furio wrote, “Il quale è scritto bene e pieno di notizie che interesseranno anche i nostri lettori, già ben informati sulle gondole,” which means that he thinks the writing is good and will be interesting to readers. (A version of this article is available already on my website http://www.freegondolaride.com.)
I really wanted to contribute something to the study of Casanova, but with so many eminent scholars going before me, and my poor Italian skills (I really can’t imagine myself poring over ancient documents in the state archives), I was afraid I wouldn’t have much new stuff to say. Gondolas are my other area of interest, so it seemed like a good fit, especially with support from Greg at the Gondola Society and Stefano, an actual gondolier. It feels funny to sit in my little house in San Jose and imagine I’m an expert of these things…. Seems like I should be in Venice more. If only.
BTW, Helmut Watzlawick and Furio Luccichenti are probably the world’s top living Casanovists, or at least in the top ten (I assume there are some I don’t know about). Helmut is quite generous with his knowledge and time (when he’s not on the road). He’s the one who uncovered the whereabouts of Casanova’s real home–not the place that holds the plaque near the Campo San Samuele. And he also delved into records to determine that C’s grandmother’s house is not the one that was previously thought. This guy knows how to dig into old housing records and find long lost gems. He’s a historian to admire. Furio helped produce Sui Passi di Casanova, a walking guide to Casanova’s Venice, only in Italian and now out of print. But it was a huge help to me, supplementing my previous research and filling in some blanks. They are the giants on whose shoulders I can attempt to stand.