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giacomo casanova Quotes

Giacomo Casanova Quotes

Birth Date: 1725-04-02 (Monday, April 2nd, 1725)
Date of Death: 1798-06-04 (Monday, June 4th, 1798)



    • The 'Laforgue edition' (1826-1838), heavily rewritten and censored:
    • The 'Brockhaus-Plon edition' (1960-1962), the original text:
    • I saw that everything famous and beautiful in the world, if we judge by the descriptions and drawings of writers and artists, always loses when we go to see it and examine it closely.
    • Great God, and you witnesses of my death, I have lived as a philosopher, and I die as a Christian.
    • I will begin with this confession: whatever I have done in the course of my life, whether it be good or evil, has been done freely; I am a free agent.
    • I believe in the existence of an immaterial God, the Author and Master of all beings and all things, and I feel that I never had any doubt of His existence, from the fact that I have always relied upon His providence, prayed to Him in my distress, and that He has always granted my prayers. Despair brings death, but prayer does away with despair; and when a man has prayed he feels himself supported by new confidence and endowed with power to act. As to the means employed by the Sovereign Master of human beings to avert impending dangers from those who beseech His assistance, I confess that the knowledge of them is above the intelligence of man, who can but wonder and adore.
    • Man is free, but his freedom ceases when he has no faith in it; and the greater power he ascribes to faith, the more he deprives himself of that power which God has given to him when He endowed him with the gift of reason. Reason is a particle of the Creator's divinity. When we use it with a spirit of humility and justice we are certain to please the Giver of that precious gift.
    • Man is free; yet we must not suppose that he is at liberty to do everything he pleases, for he becomes a slave the moment he allows his actions to be ruled by passion. The man who has sufficient power over himself to wait until his nature has recovered its even balance is the truly wise man, but such beings are seldom met with.
    • The reader of these Memoirs will discover that I never had any fixed aim before my eyes, and that my system, if it can be called a system, has been to glide away unconcernedly on the stream of life, trusting to the wind wherever it led.
    • My success and my misfortunes, the bright and the dark days I have gone through, everything has proved to me that in this world, either physical or moral, good comes out of evil just as well as evil comes out of good.
    • My errors will point to thinking men the various roads, and will teach them the great art of treading on the brink of the precipice without falling into it. It is only necessary to have courage, for strength without self-confidence is useless.
    • The chief business of my life has always been to indulge my senses; I never knew anything of greater importance. I felt myself born for the fair sex, I have ever loved it dearly, and I have been loved by it as often and as much as I could.
    • The man who forgets does not forgive, he only loses the remembrance of the harm inflicted on him; forgiveness is the offspring of a feeling of heroism, of a noble heart, of a generous mind, whilst forgetfulness is only the result of a weak memory, or of an easy carelessness, and still oftener of a natural desire for calm and quietness. Hatred, in the course of time, kills the unhappy wretch who delights in nursing it in his bosom.
    • Should anyone bring against me an accusation of sensuality he would be wrong, for all the fierceness of my senses never caused me to neglect any of my duties.
    • One of the advantages of a great sorrow is that nothing else seems painful.
    • Nothing is so catching as the plague; now, fanaticism, no matter of what nature, is only the plague of the human mind.
    • Economy in pleasure is not to my taste.
    • Learn from me that a wise man who has heard a criminal accusation related with so many absurd particulars ceases to be wise when he makes himself the echo of what he has heard, for if the accusation should turn out to be a calumny, he would himself become the accomplice of the slanderer.
    • As for myself, I always willingly acknowledge my own self as the principal cause of every good and of every evil which may befall me; therefore I have always found myself capable of being my own pupil, and ready to love my teacher.
    • I have always loved truth so passionately that I have often resorted to lying as a way of first introducing it into minds which were ignorant of its charms.
    • I have always had such sincere love for truth, that I have often begun by telling stories for the purpose of getting truth to enter the heads of those who could not appreciate its charms.
    • [Malipiero's advice to Casanova.] If you wish your audience to cry, you must shed tears yourself, but if you wish to make them laugh you must contrive to look as serious as a judge.
    • Man is free; but not unless he believes he is[.]
    • Man is a free agent; but he is not free if he does not believe it[.]
    • Man is free, but his freedom ceases when he has no faith in it[.]
    • [Marriage] is the tomb of love.
    • [Matrimony] is the grave of love.
    • [T]hey who do not love [life] do not deserve it.
    • [T]hose who do not love [life] are unworthy of it.
    • [W]e avenge intelligence when we deceive a fool, and the victory is worth the trouble[.]
    • We avenge intellect when we dupe a fool, and it is a victory not to be despised[.]
    • Whether happy or unhappy, life is the only treasure man possesses[.]
    • Happy or unhappy, life is the only treasure which man possesses[.]
    • [H]appy or miserable, life is the only blessing which man possesses[.]
    • When a sonnet is mediocre it is bad, for it should be sublime.
    • This extremely interesting girl, after giving me a single glance from her beautiful eyes, stubbornly refused to look at me again. My vanity at once made me think that it was only so that I would be at full liberty to study her impeccable beauty. It was on this girl that I instantly set my sights, as if all Europe were only a seraglio provided for my pleasures.
    • Even if astrology had been a real science, I knew nothing about it. We find countless events in real history which would never have occurred if they had not been predicted. This is because we are the authors of our so-called destiny, and all the 'antecedent necessities' of the Stoics are chimerical; the argument which proves the power of destiny seems strong only because it is sophistical. Cicero laughed at it. Someone whom he had invited to dinner, who had promised to go, and who had not appeared, wrote to him that since he had not gone it was evident that he had not been iturus ('going to go'). Cicero answers him: Veni ergo cras, et veni etiamsi venturus non sis ('Then come tomorrow, and come even if you are not going to come'). At this date, when I am conscious that I rely entirely on my common sense, I owe this explanation to my reader, despite the axiom, Fata viam inveniunt ('Destiny finds the way'). If the fatalists are obliged by their own philosophy to consider the concatenation of all events necessary, a parte ante ('a priori'), what remains of man's moral freedom is nothing; and in that case he can neither earn merit nor incur guilt. I cannot in conscience admit that I am a machine.
    • [Malipiero's advice to Casanova.] If you want to make people laugh, your face must remain serious.
    • When you fool a fool, you strike a blow for intelligence.
    • giacomo casanova

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