Happy 215th Anniversary of Casanova’s death. How did you celebrate? Did you pet your dog and think of Melampyge, his faithful pooch? Work on your memoirs? Complain about the servants? Rearrange the books in your library? Have a little soup? These are all activities Casanova engaged in during the last 13 years of his life when he lived at Dux as the librarian for Count Waldstein. Though Casanova was often unhappy there, the Count often tried “soothing his vanity by saying how honored he was to have so famous and extraordinary a house guest.”
If you are a fan of John Green’s Looking for Alaska, you know that the main character collects famous people’s last words. Here are Casanova’s: “I have lived as a philosopher and I die as a Christian.” He was buried at Dux, but grave markers were moved, so now his burial place is unclear. Legend has it, though, that the metal marker on one grave seems to grab at women’s skirts as they walk past.
Casanova lived to be 73, though his last years were fraught with frustration and bitterness. But thank goodness for that time because he was able to crank out his 12 volume memoirs, one of the most complete records of life in the 18th century and an exciting, enticing read, which ran to over 4,000 handwritten pages. He also left over 1,700 letters, 390 poems, 500 pages of uncategorized writings, 50 dialogues in draft stages, 150 memos, and over 300 pages of manuscripts in progress.
A toast to Casanova today!