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The Duel

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  168 ratings  ·  28 reviews
About This Book

In this autobiographical tale, a young dandy is forced to flee his hometown after falling afoul of the authorities. But sheltering in the royal court he finds treachery and insult and is eventually positioned into a meaningless confrontation over a woman he cares nothing about. Told with debonair wit and a merciless attitude toward high society, the tale b
Paperback, 70 pages
Published August 16th 2011 by Melville House (first published 1789)
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Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Duel: A Review, Part I

The Duel by Giacomo Casanova:
It was his intention to trade a few sword-thrusts in some place or another, and get the business over with... (p. 19)
A nameless Venetian (hinted to be the author himself) flees his city after getting into some unspecified trouble and wanders through Europe, eventually settling in Warsaw, where a clash with a Polish nobleman over the attentions of a ballerina leads to a dangerous duel. Thrilling stuff, and apparently adapted from the author's Memoirs, which I defi/>The
Justin Evans
Apr 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, essays
I read this to prepare myself for Szentkuthy's 'Marginalia on Casanova,' which I'm currently reading and which will inevitably influence what I write here.

Obviously, I didn't feel like reading all 12 volumes of Casanova's memoirs, and the library didn't have any abridgements, so here I am. Luckily, this story gives a pretty good idea of Casanova's literary character, and, I'm guessing, the flavor of his work as a whole. Much of the eighteenth century is present: ludicrous ideas of personal hono
Okay, this is my third attempt to like Casanova's writing, but he's just not for me. Interesting tale, but too verbose.
Mike Clinton
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a story adapted from Casanova's Memoirs for the Art of the Novella series published by Melville House. Casanova spins a tale with a very engaging style and well-turned plot, which I suppose is to be expected, given his reputation beyond the literary. Along the way, he provides pointed asides and ironic comments that draw attention to the hypocrisies and other moral inconsistencies of mid-18th century European high society. The qualms that literary critics and literate society in general ...more
Sidik Fofana
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
SIX WORD REVIEW: Duelists respect each other before fight.
Sep 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'll begin by expressing my astonishment at how few people realize that Giacomo Casanova actually lived and that his adventures and misadventures ran nearly the length of the 18th Century.

Yes, he was flesh and blood, and occasionally his acquired "aristocratic" sang froid turned ice cold—a transformation that is at the heart of this slender volume. A slender book, but also an excellent introduction to the grand life led by Casanova, Chevalier de Seingalt.

Upon finishing TH
Nicola Mansfield
Aug 02, 2016 rated it liked it
I had to force myself to read this as 1) I don't like 18th-century literature nor 2) am I fond of Italian literature. But I had the book and to read something by Casanova felt like a bit of an accomplishment. Surprisingly, the story is highly readable and even entertaining. A straightforward telling of a situation that a rogue and rascal gets himself into which ends in a duel, it also was highly philosophical and moralising which I found fascinating. Glad to say I've read it.
Lightly fictionalized account of Casanova not being able to keep it in his pants and getting into trouble. Whoops.
Nick Moran
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I had to stop reading every 3-4 pages so I could write down a new quotation. Great stuff here.
I have read much of Giacomo Casanova’ autobiography, and at least one biography. The Duel is a lot more autobiography than fiction. Not a big deal, especially given that he make no effort to separate the un-named Venetian, with the initials GC from himself. This is a duel he elsewhere says he, himself fought. The language is too stylized though consistent with that of his many volume autobiography. He always has excuses for himself and few for his opponent. This is consistent with his Autobio. ...more
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This autobiographical novella (in which Casanova refers to an anonymous Venetian instead of naming himself) refers to the circumstances of his duel in Warsaw with Colonel Branicki and the complications that followed. The book is largely illuminating about the upper class in Europe in the 18th century, the habits of royalty, gossip, yellow journalism, the role of the church, etc. Casanova doesn't play his unnamed stand-in up too highly, and in some cases he points out various follies.

“The Duel
Dayna Smith
A re-working of the duel Casanova described in his memoir. It tells the tale of his trip to Eastern Europe and the duel he engages in after being insulted after a ballet. The novella is a look at society in the mid 1700s, and Casanova's travels in Europe and the social strata in which he moved.
Dec 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Casanova's 1780 novella is, according to the flap copy, a "thinly-veiled autobiographical work," and tells the story of a duel that took place in 1766 between Casanova and a member of the Polish court. Having left Venice at the age of twenty-eight, fleeing the law, "the Venetian" at the center of The Duel has made his way through a fair chunk of Europe (Munich, Paris, Holland, London, Berlin and elsewhere in Germany, Latvia, St. Petersburg) before landing in Warsaw. Here, "G.C." does well enough for ...more
Gertrude & Victoria
The Duel is primarily an account of a game of one-upmanship, between "The Venetian" and a Polish Officer. It is eloquently written and cleverly recounted by, arguably, the most renowned man-about-town in all of Europe: Giacomo Casanova. Although remembered for his way with women, he was also a man of humor, compassion and erudition.

This tale, whether it be judged as, mere fiction, or, authentic autobiographical history, is a fascinating rarity, for it's told from dual perspectives - the
Two, two, two books in one! Casanova wrote two accounts of his duel with the Polish Count Branicki. One was a thinly-disguised autobiographical novella, written in Italian, the other was included in his Memoirs and written in French. The first is more fleshed out, with whole sections of dialogue and much greater description and ruminations. It's interesting to compare the two. All the formality and etiquette of honor and duelling is strange to us, but was quite acceptable in Casanova's time. It ...more
Jake Leech
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Samuel Johnson's a guy I'd heard of who is famous for being witty, so I figured I'd read Boswell's biography, which I'd assumed was full of funny stories about a funny guy and also had a reputation for being very well written. Anyway, Boswell's biography of Johnson is, in my opinion an unreadable, unfunny brick of a book.

I assume that the same is true of Casanova. Here's a guy who's famous for being a ladies man, and has a famous autobiography. But it turns out that the biography is something l
Philip Traum
Aug 11, 2012 rated it liked it
This novella is a delightful excerpt of Giacomo Casanova’s autobiographic “Story of my Life”. It recounts Casanova’s duel against a Count Branicki, an army colonel, over a perceived slight over a ballerina (a woman which did not interest either the Count or the Venetian), which ends in a duel and ultimately leads to Casanova’s expulsion from Warsaw.

The story is highly entertaining in spite of having an odd tone and pacing for in spite of it being a highly exciting and terrifying anec
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Combining elements of an adventure story, a disquisition on the mores of 18th-century Europe, social commentary, and "the dutiful thoughts of a Christian," Casanova's (yes, THAT Casanova) novella is also a thinly-veiled account of an episode later related in his memoirs. After a slow start detailing the protagonist's travels in Europe, the story takes on an engaging pace, due in part to a modern translation by James Marcus. The novella contains several passages that made me laugh out loud, and o ...more
John Tessitore
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A much more entertaining novella than it has any right to be. At its center is a frivolous waste of eighteenth century male honor--and all's well that ends well. But Casanova is not a frivolous writer. At the end of the story, he writes that pity "is a sublime sort of revenge,and a heroic one, even if it's coupled with a dash of pride, which I'm afraid it is." That final turn, "which I'm afraid it is," is the kind of realization that the great Henry James would have belabored for pages of unbrok ...more
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
G. Casanova was The Man. He was witty, speaker of Truth, but perhaps not truth. He rolled his eyes at societal convention, but would manipulate those same societal conventions for his whims, perhaps not always with success, and then accepted his failures as new beginnings. And when he needs to, he throws it all on the line and duels his opponent. Bring it.

"Your Excellency will do me the honor of firing first."

Oct 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
Wow, I have way less to say than most of the other reviewers. I read this in conjunction with Conrad's The Duel -- thanks 57th St. Books -- and Conrad's was more interesting to me. However, the whole concept of honor and fighting to prove that you're not a coward is interesting to think about. I would never want to die for such a silly reason, but then I am not a Venitian or Polish nobleman, so maybe I just don't get it.
Daniel Polansky
've never ready any portion of Casanova's biography, though this brief snippet, recalling a pistol duel he fought with a Polish noble while in exile from his native Venice, really made me want to check the entire thing out. It reads like an amoral adventure novel, with the added joy of Casanova's well-earned cynicism about the world and the sad, proud, stupid, creatures who inhabit it.
Kelly Coyle-Crivelli
love the idea of nearly killing someone- then he offers you his money and his horses to save you from getting in any sort of trouble-- duels are so civilized!

plus 'the venetian' had no trouble at all just finding friends, jobs and places to stay wherever he decided to show up- a little jealous of him actually.
Jun 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Casanova relates the story of his illegal duel with the Podstoli in Warsaw. He's a witty, gossipy and immensely likeable narrator who seems well aware of the absurdity of his predicament. Fun and very quick to read.
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is f'ing hilarious, one of my all-time favorites. Casanova, this dude was the sh*t. The exchange between him and Podstoli is priceless: [while trying to procrastinate a duel]: "I have a bellyful of medicine, I have important letters to write, and I must draw up a brief will."
Wayne Bickerton
Oct 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book, well worth a read
Jazz • Min
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Apr 12, 2019
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Giampaolo Gabbi
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Jul 11, 2019
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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
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