Casanova the Irresistable

BY PHILIPPE SOLLERS. TRANSLATED BY ARMINE KOTIN MORTIMER

Available from University of illinois Press

His is a name synonymous with seduction. His was a life lived without limits. Giacomo Casanova left behind thousands of pages detailing his years among Europe's notable and noble. In Casanova the Irresistible , Philippe Sollers--prolific intellectual and revered visionary of the French avant-garde--proffers a lively reading of and guide to the famed libertine's sprawling memoir.

Armine Kotin Mortimer's translation of Sollers's reading tracks the alluring Venetian through the whole of his astounding and disreputable life. Eschewing myth, Sollers dares to present the plain realities of a man "simple, direct, courageous, cultivated, seductive, funny. A philosopher in action." The lovers are here, and the ruses and adventures. But Sollers also rescues Casanova the writer, a gifted composer of words who reigns as a titan of eighteenth-century literature. As always, Sollers seeks to shame society for its failure to recognize its failings. By admiring those of Casanova's admirable qualities present in himself, Sollers spurns bourgeois hypocrisy and cliché to affirm a jocund philosophy of life devoted to the twinned pursuits of pleasure and joy.

Philippe Sollers is a biographer, novelist, editor, critic, and cofounder of the journal Tel Quel. His works include Mysterious Mozart and Women.

Armine Kotin Mortimer is a professor emerita of French at the University of Illinois, Urbana. She is the author of Writing Realism: Representations in French Literature and For Love or for Money: Balzac's Rhetorical Realism.