Casanova’s Carnival

James H. Johnson

in Venice Incognito

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780520267718
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948624 | DOI:
Casanova’s Carnival

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter focuses on Giacomo Casanova and his experiences with the Venetian carnival and with masks. His life was a lifelong masquerade. Born without noble origins, Casanova transformed his roots. He traveled under assumed names and changed his wardrobe to suit his serial selves. He donned masks to cover his true roots. While Casanova manipulated his life, he resigned his life’s authorship to fate. Casanova may have been the master of self-fashioning but his selves were successive and serial, made true despite the inconsistencies by his professed sincerity of intentions. Casanova believed that humans were powerless to direct the larger course. Near the end of his memoirs, Casanova wrote: “My will, far from declaring me free, was only an instrument which Fortune used to make what she would of me”.

Keywords: Giacomo Casanova; Venetian carnival; masks; masquerade; self-fashioning

Chapter.  3829 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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