The Heretical Dream of Casanova

Toni Veneri

Abstract


Casanova, as he himself admits in his undisciplined memoirs, fully committed his life to a disorganized and non-systematic cultivation of pleasure. In such lack of stability, which affects the identity as well as the actions of the narrator, the energy of desire is revealed in its most vital and powerful forms: a desire for recognition, glory and literary immortality, which is a desire for the Other; a desire for transcendence, but also for new secular horizons, which is a desire for the Elsewhere; a desire for the lover’s words, which is the amorous desire that recomposes the bodies fragmented and made into pieces by sexual desire. Nevertheless a deliberate libertine project – the wide-ranging exploration of natural appetites – seems to traverse the whole Histoire de ma vie, and underlie this narrative codification of sexual desire. As Leonardo Sciascia pointed out, Casanova’s quest for absolute liberty culminates in the celebration of the most extreme action of vitalism – incest. While the incestuous intrigue of the memoirs are famous, less known is the representation of incest Casanova gives in the Jcosameron. In this utopian novel, through the story of a young brother and his sister, initiated to the elevated dimension of consanguineous love by the inhabitants of the centre of the earth, the writer thus finds a possibility to speak publicly about something prohibited, unutterable.


Keywords


Giacomo Casanova; Desire; Autobiography; Utopian Fiction; Incest

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/940

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-17376

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