Traveling a lot lately, I recently blasted through this biography of Casanova. In the English-speaking world, we mostly know him as a feckless playboy, a serial womanizer. His name is synonymous with seduction. From geeky Pick Up Artists to bragging rappers, men with something to prove often refer to themselves as budding Casanovas. There have been a handful of shitty movies about him. Robert Greene even featured him prominently in his book, “The Art of Seduction.”

But none of this — the reputation, the books, the bragging, the shitty movies — does the man justice. He was such a complicated and intriguing person, almost everyone misses the big picture. There’s a LOT more to learn from him.

His passion for women was only an extension of his amazing passion for life, living and people. It didn’t hurt either that he was a prodigy, a polymath, brilliant in almost every subject and fluent in five different languages. He made and lost half a dozen fortunes, lived in every major European city before it was fashionable nor reasonable, hung out with Kings (Frederick the Great, Catherine the Great, Louis XV), intellectuals (Voltaire, Rousseau), and artists (Mozart). He also hung out with monks and beggars. He survived the Inquisition, escaped from prison, wrote over 40 books and was banished from three different countries.

His legacy is beyond women — it’s that of living life to it’s most possible limits, disregarding the ideas of “success” or “failure” in favor of simply having experiences and appreciating them. As he said in his memoirs, “Whether you think my actions good or bad, no one can deny, that I truly lived.”

But since this website is about women, let’s talk about women for a second — because, don’t get me wrong, he IS inspiring in his own special way. He wrote about sexual experiences with 133 women in his memoirs. He notes that he purposely left out a dozen or so who’s reputation he didn’t want to tarnish (probably very famous women). He also stopped his memoirs when he turned 42, and I imagine there were another few dozen encounters after that.

All in all, you’re looking at a guy who slept with almost 200 women in his lifetime. Not bad for a guy hitting his prime in the 1750’s, a time when you could get imprisoned or even killed for winking at the wrong woman.

He lost his virginity in a threesome to two sisters when he was 17. He slept with nobility, nuns, a couple of mother/daughter combos, and dozens of famous actresses of the time. This is some hall of fame shit here, folks.

But here’s what I found truly interesting that really doesn’t get enough air-time about him. Sure, the notches on his bed post are impressive, but for him it was much more than that. He stated very explicitly that he wasn’t addicted to sex as much as he was to “affairs.” He legitimately believed himself to fall in love with most of the 133 women he wrote about and probably more. He speaks of seduction the same way brilliant artists and musicians speak of their craft — that it wasn’t HIM seducing, that he was just a vehicle for love to express itself to these women. In fact, he took NO credit for his seductions, preferring to see it as letting himself succumb or “fall” into the emotion with each woman… whatever that means.

He also said something that I’ve felt only the last year or so: “Though the effect is always the same… every woman is a unique experience unto herself.” Almost literally a different sensual flavor of the same emotion.

He remained close friends with most of his former lovers, often corresponding with them for decades — even after they married and had families. His first love died in his arms 50 years later.

He said of himself, “I’m not an attractive man; I simply have an unbridled belief that I am capable of anything.”

But before I gush about him for too long, there’s something tragic in him as well. His constant passion to push himself to the extremes of living and emotion ended up undermining him. Eventually, his body couldn’t keep up with heart and mind, and eventually society moved on without him.

And though having had hundreds of lovers, over a dozen marriage proposals, eight illegitimate children, and thousands of friends and acquaintances — many in high places — he died miserable, bitter, and alone.

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15 Responses to The Life of Giacomo Casanova

  1. Doc Holliday says:

    Jesus…

    I’ll leave it up the writer of this blog to speculate about reincarnation now.

  2. Anonymous C says:

    “He lost his virginity in a threesome to sisters when he was 17.”

    According to Casanova’s memoirs in the book “The Story of my Life,” He slept with Cecilia first and the following night with Marina. Eventually he slept with Bellino when Casanova took him out of the city.

    All 3 were sisters from Ancona. I forgot the date but it happened somewhere between 1743-1745

  3. Entropy says:

    Hmm… I believe they came later. I know about Bellino.

    The sisters he lost his virginity to were named Marta and Nanetta and it happened in Venice. This is according to the biography I read, which seemed to be well-researched and thorough — it cross-referenced his memoirs with other sources and historical data. It happened when he was 17, so it would have been 1742. He slept with many other pairs of sisters, and I remember reading about Bellino a year or so later (she was the fake Castrato I believe).

  4. Nicolas says:

    yes,

    I’m currently reading through the ‘The lost diary of Don Juan’ referencing that Don Juan might have been an actual person instead of merely a fictive character by Molino…

    It amazes me how the ‘community’ worships all the teachings of the self proclaimed guru’s out there, but never bothered to build a solid foundation from any of the classical seducers.

    This knowledge is not new: its been around for centuries, its just that nobody bothers anymore to read it…

    great post: I agree with the fact that if you let PU rule your world, you will end up alone

    Nic

  5. Aaron says:

    I dont think Casanova let pick up rule his world obviously he had a lot of other things going on in his life. He had great identities and a great lifestyle. Im sure if he wanted to be married he could have I see it as a man who is always wanting more. Impressive though truly a natural amazing…

  6. chaosman says:

    here’s an addendum to your post, originally posted by The Black Knight on casanova crew forums:

    Many of the ways Casanova wrote in his memoir Story of My Life on seducing women are still found in the pickup lexicon of today’s PUA community.

    First, Casanova was a master of the art of verbal communication. Casanova stated in regards to sexual communication “a man who makes known his love by words is a fool” and continues on saying “but without speech, the pleasure of love is diminished by at least two-thirds.” Casanova believed that it was better to imply verbal sexual communication, rather then directly stating what it is you wanted. Now we know 300 years later, that it is still possible to get SNL by directly stating to a women what you want,now that we have the phycology behind BT(Buying Temperature), but nevertheless Casanova’s method is still very much effective and applied today.

  7. chaosman says:

    Second, Casanova took the whole game beyond just sexual desire. Casanova loved the process and challenge of seduction. He would go after a attractive women that was with a jealous lover; nowadays we just call them AMOG’s, and he would alleviate them from there grievances, and in return the female would show him gratitude, then casanova would seduce his target, and a short but exhilarating affair would take place between the two (Raising of BT) eventually escalating towards sex. Casanova would then Actively disqualify himself by saying that he was not worthy and tried to arrange for the women a marriage or date with another man, so he could smoothly divert himself from getting in to a potential relationship with his partner.

    Third, Casanova enjoyed the process of seduction just as much as the result of it. He avoided easy targets and challenged himself by going after the affluent attractive females; just in case you didn’t know, back then fat women where seen more as attractive. Casanova would never put himself in a situation that was too difficult because he found it unsuitable; this correlates to what mystery said about having competence over confidence and being able to analyze a situation within a given environment and increase the likelihood of success. In pickup it is essential to be a determinist and learn what works and what doesn’t and have the foresight to know what to expect next. This is an artform that is pure science, which involves collecting data in the form of observable physical evidence of natural phenomena, analyze it, then construct a theory. That’s the only way you’ll master pickup is through trial and error.

    Lastly, Casanova strived to become the alpha male. By displaying himself as witty, charming, confident, and even a helpful escort, casanova would put all the essential alpha male characteristics together before he would lay his targets. He never wanted to be seen as the needy AFC are predator looking around for his prey, stating “my guiding principle has been never to direct my attack against novices or those whose prejudices were likely to prove an obstacle” After SNL casanova would try and build comfort, as casanova valued intelligent women saying that ” After, all, a beautiful women without a mind of her own leaves her lover with no resource after he had physically enjoyed her charms.” So he would try to build comfort after the lay to see if they where worth keeping as a future partner.

    So what is the Essence of Casanova Crew? I believe we all most find that answer within ourself, on a deep and personal level, but for me, I would have to agree with Casanova:

    “Cultivating whatever gave pleasure to my senses was always the chief business of my life; I never found any occupation more important. Feeling that I was born for the sex opposite of mine, I have always loved it and done all that I could to make myself loved by it.” -Giacomo Casanova

  8. Miss Mercedes says:

    I have read and written so much about this in the last couple of days (starting with an article at http://www.gonesavage.com) but here again is another perfect example. Casanova proves it: self-confidence and/or self-image does not equal self-esteem. As a matter of fact…they can very easily be extreme opposite qualities.

  9. sandrs says:

    quote Miss Mercedes : “Casanova proves it: self-confidence and/or self-image does not equal self-esteem. As a matter of fact…they can very easily be extreme opposite qualities.”

    I think you see this more in women than in men
    eg: she can be a successful buisness woman and yet be prone to be low self esteem and be in an abusive relationship and not with a guy that will treat her well , she herself doesnt believe to be happy.

    or for a regular girl who is pretty and worked hard to get where she is to have wehat she has , wants a cool guy and maybe a healthy relationship.

    Its his Rake side of Casanova which appears to what you mention in your quote.

  10. Marc says:

    Mark, what exactly did you read about him?
    Gonna read a book about him, need a recommendation

  11. Entropy says:

    Link to the biography I read is at the top of the article. Highly recommend it.

  12. Cruise says:

    Hi Nicolas.
    You wrote: “I agree with the fact that if you let PU rule your world, you will end up alone”

    Hahaha! You are still so afraid of the red pil, of the vampire bite, ..

    Casanova and Zan Perrion are masters in creating tragedy – drama based on “being a pirate, a traveller, a behomian, etc etc.”
    These guys make others (men and women) belief that they are special to them because they are “to be rescued”.

    Even after Casanova’s death, we can hear him “play the victim” through his memoires. And guys, wake up please: he who writes memoires KNOWS very well that it’s not gonna be just a personal secret dairy.

    Their trademark:
    “Please help me. I am a slave to women. I will end up alone and miserable, etc etc.”

    Must work of course if you realise how many good and honest women are out there.

    Once you understand how actors can be real, and not play a role, only then a true and natural seducer can finally arise.

    I recommend the intervieuw of Christopher Reeves with Jimmy Carter and his anwer to the question “why did you become an actor”.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkcLRL9cBtk
    It’s so much the same as: “that it wasn’t HIM seducing, that he was just a vehicle for love to express itself to these women. In fact, he took NO credit for his seductions, preferring to see it as letting himself succumb or “fall” into the emotion with each woman… whatever that means.”

  13. Cruise says:

    Hi everybody,

    A question that puzzles me: was Casanova really as genuine as the legend tells?

    “He legitimately believed himself to fall in love with most of the 133 women he wrote about and probably more. He speaks of seduction the same way brilliant artists and musicians speak of their craft”

    Psychopats and serial killers also see their work as a piece of art.

    I haven’t read his memoires yet, but maybe someone can tell me how he got so rich at one moment. And did he really went to prison for no reason? When there is smoke, there is often fire. The government is always the bad guy is hero stories. Did he steal from his women for instance. Only the heart? Or also the money? What else then “short pleasure” did he give to women or to others in general? If I idolise someone, I would like to put things in perspective. From Don Guan for instance, another legend but a pure fictional one, it is known that he used disguise to seduce the maidens, promissing them to marry them, etc.

  14. Entropy says:

    He went to prison for basically being an athiest, and being a peasant who hung out with and “corrupted” nobility.

    As far as him being genuine. Like most womanizers, his manic pursuit of women was borne out of his own emotional issues and faults. His mother abandoned him when he was quite young and he never forgave her for it. He spent the rest of his life chasing after women’s love (and receiving massive amounts of it), but in th end never being satisfied.

  15. Johnny says:

    He’s probably over-rated….like Mystery…

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