History of My Life, Vols 1-2
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

History of My Life, Vols 1-2 (History of My Life)

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  173 ratings  ·  22 reviews
In volumes 1 and 2, Casanova tells the story of his family, his first loves, and his early travels. With the death of his grandmother, he is sent to a seminary--but is soon expelled. He is briefly imprisoned in the fortress of Sant' Andrea. After wandering from Naples to Rome in search of a patron, he enters the service of Cardinal Acquaviva.

About this edition: Because eve...more
Paperback, 728 pages
Published April 17th 1997 by The Johns Hopkins University Press (first published 1794)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about History of My Life, Vols 1-2, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about History of My Life, Vols 1-2

The Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsAngela's Ashes by Frank McCourtThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankNight by Elie WieselEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Favorite memoirs/autobiographies
298th out of 1,023 books — 1,019 voters
Shōgun by James ClavellThe History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry FieldingTai-Pan by James ClavellWhen Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay PenmanNicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie
Truly Massive Biography, Real or Imagined
68th out of 174 books — 28 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 474)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Ah, the pleasures of meeting a most interesting man, the pleasures of joining the same man in reliving his youth through his memoirs, and his instructive reflections as he writes in his old age. Before I read this, the first double-volume of his memoirs, I thought Casanova was just an infamous seducer. But that is a grave injustice of history. Certainly, he was a rogue and a seducer but it is an injustice that that has eclipsed his other greater qualities.

Casanova was an adventurer, a man of ac...more
One of my all-time favorite writers and human beings. I am not even sure if what he's writing the truth or not - and to be honest I don't care. This is part one of a seven volume set. For those who just want to dip their toes into Casanova's bath water - check out the Penguin edition which is sort of like a greatest hits package. But do put your toe in, because for sure you will put the whole foot, then the legs, and those nasty parts as well.
The start of a long and incredible story of one of the most fascinating individuals I've ever had the pleasure of reading about. It seems hard to image that 3500 pages can be interesting right the way through, but this is as much a page-turner as any modern bestseller. Casanova wrote these memoirs in old age, and at least once per chapter looks back melancholically on his past exploits while offering some more or less philosophical advice to his readers.
Casanova was present at some of the major...more
John Tessitore
When a guy seems tragic because of a crippling indecisiveness, we say, "That guy's like Hamlet." When a guy seems heroic because of an otherworldly seductiveness, we say, "That guy's a Casanova."

Hamlet--a fictional character--is a simile, an individual. Casanova--a historical figure--is a metaphor, an entire category.

This is Casanova's greatest achievement, his most otherworldly seduction: through his memoirs, as a writer, he convinces us to join him, even to become him, in his escapades.

When N...more
Lesley Truffle
Trask’s unabridged version runs to six double volumes and Casanova’s voice speaks clearly across nearly 300 years,
‘…I was in all my life the victim of my senses; I have delighted in going astray and I have constantly lived in error, with no other consolation than that of knowing I have erred.’

Unfortunately Casanova’s name has become synonymous with philanderers and libertines everywhere. Perhaps this is because every translation prior to Willard Trask’s version was abridged or condensed to cens...more
OMG, I'm only 50 pages in an this is one of my favorite books ever!
[Review is for Volume 1 only.]

Casanova: not as much of a manwhore as his reputation suggests. Which isn't saying much, but is still worth saying.

Anyway, he's basically the reincarnation of Narcissus, but a surprisingly compelling memoirist. (I see those little story-craft techniques you slipped in there, Sr. C, and I thank you for them.) I particularly enjoyed the close details on daily life in 18th-century Italy -- definitely useful stuff. Now quite inspired to write something based in alt-hist...more
I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with these first two parts of Casanova's memoir, only because I was expecting more graphic descriptions of his sexual exploits. However, it read as more of an adventure story, detailing all the interesting things that happened to him between birth and age 25. I was still greatly entertained, and put up with all of his euphemisms because he seemed to be generally in love with each conquest he made (though he did not them conquests) and therefore seeme...more
Katie Donaldson
Long book with at times amusing stories of the trouble Casanova finds himself, however i think i expected more of the writing, or work, or something instead Casanova seems to tell his story as one long happenstance after another. He seems to find himself in situations that improve his standing without any effort and he fell in love a dozen times in just the first 2 volumes. Unsure as to carry on with the rest.
Giacomo Casanova
What an amazing book... Casanova's story, at least the first three volumes that I’ve read of it, is the best story that I have read in my entire life. I recommend, without reserve, that you read his memoirs. Just make sure to pace yourself as his complete memoirs are long (6 books). If you can, avoid reading the shorter version of his memoirs as you will miss a lot of the great stories in Casanova’s life. I’ve been reading the memoirs translated by Arthur Machen, who does a wonderful job in pers...more
Jul 16, 2012 Lindsey is currently reading it
After visiting Italy and spending some time in Venice I decided I wanted to know more about Giacomo Casanova. I passed on the 200 page paperback in the gift shops in Venice and decided to read the real thing. I'm so glad I did! His stories (often racy and detailed) are fantastic! I love learning about the style and way of life of his time. I believe he documents the time period well. I'm not done reading (yet) but I'm working on it!

This is one of the only books I'm reading on my iPad because I o...more
it only took 6 years and death to finish it, but i suppose that is apropos. by the time you hit volume six, things begin to break down structurally, his diseases begin to become truly macabre, and one can't help but think the man was singularly responsible for spreading the clap throughout the continent. not to mention there was probably a city populated entirely by the man's bastards. but all in all a fascinating portrait of the time period that makes his peers better reading.
One summer in college I failed Latin because I spent my semester in the library reading this book. Incredible story-telling, I was enthralled through all 12 volumes. Adventure, con artistry, magic, ghost stories, political intrigue, intellectualism, and of course romance. Casanova was a dandy, a fraud, a seducer and a painfully honest writer. The length of the narrative gives a perspective and depth that is unmatched in any fiction.
Written in a surprisingly modern style, easy to breeze through! I'll be through all 12 volumes in no time...

upddate: no, I probably won't. Even though his style was casual, and the insights into daily life at the time were fascinating, it became a tedious read, and I started to lose sympathy for him. Sadly, I don't think I'll be making it through the other volumes.
An account of the life of Giacomo Casanova as he recalls events and times as an old man. Incredibly insightful, with very modern thoughts and concerns about self, romance, family, politics and human behavior. Interesting social history.. some of these stories are not for prudes.. this book leaves us in his mid-20's. I am looking for the next few volumes.
Gary Olson
Casanova's life was amazing, with enough adventure and intrigue to fill... well... volumes and volumes of text. Unfortunately, that's exactly what he decided to do, and while much of it is interesting and involving, after a while I just kept saying 'how much longer does this go on?' Certainly worth reading, but pace yourself or your head will go numb.
Ron Dakron
Casanova is, in my opinion, one of the first modernist writers. Since I don't read Italian, I'm not sure if it's simply the translation or the spirit of the original--but what a relief from the overheated prose of the 18th-19th century. He talks about his fascinating life in clear, concise prose. The fact that he's also hilarious is pure bonus.
I'm amazed at how many good storie Casanova managed to fit into this book and it was only the first two volumes. As the back cover says, this may indeed be the most interesting memoirs ever written (although I'm no expert).

Highly recommended.
That in renaissance Italy, the vow of Celebacy was really kind of a guide... and that it isn't what you know but who you know.
'loved his frank account of himself as conquerer of the world of love..
Oscar Tapia
Best book you'll ever read, period.
A legendary life of pleasure
Shane marked it as to-read
Sep 20, 2014
SC added it
Sep 09, 2014
Scott Van Der Velde
Scott Van Der Velde marked it as to-read
Sep 08, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 15 16 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Autobiography Of Benvenuto Cellini
  • Flaubert in Egypt: A Sensibility on Tour
  • Far Away and Long Ago
  • The Broken Road: Travels from Bulgaria to Mount Athos
  • Gathering Evidence
  • Love and War in the Apennines
  • The Devil Drives: A Life of Sir Richard Burton
  • Here's to You, Jesusa!
  • Madame de Pompadour
  • Emperor of China: Self-Portrait of K'ang-Hsi
  • Rimbaud: A Biography
  • Travels with Lizbeth: Three Years on the Road and on the Streets
  • The Devil's Broker: Seeking Gold, God, and Glory in Fourteenth- Century Italy
  • Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life
  • The Seven Addictions and Five Professions of Anita Berber: Weimar Berlin's Priestess of Decadence
  • A Venetian Affair: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in the 18th Century
  • Trieste and The Meaning of Nowhere
  • Six Records of a Floating Life
Giacomo Girolamo Casanova de Seingalt was a Venetian adventurer and author. His main book Histoire de ma vie (Story of My Life), part autobiography and part memoir, is regarded as one of the most authentic sources of the customs and norms of European social life during the 18th century.

He was so famous as a womanizer that his name remains synonymous with the art of seduction and he is sometimes ca...more
More about Giacomo Casanova...
The Story of My Life The Venetian Years Of Mistresses, Tigresses and Other Conquests History of My Life, Volumes 3 & 4 History of My Life, Vols. 5 & 6

Share This Book

“Cultivating whatever gave pleasure to my senses was always the chief business of my life; I have never found any occupation more important. Feeling that I was born for the sex opposite mine, I have always loved it and done all that I could to make myself loved by it. I have also been extravagantly fond of good food and irresistibly drawn by anything which could excite curiosity.” 12 likes
“I found that the writer who says SUBLATA LUCERNA NULLUM DISCRIMEN INTER MULIERES ('when the lamp is taken away, all women are alike') says true; but without love, this great business is a vile thing.” 7 likes
More quotes…