Photo by Janko Ferlic
Melissa Rea’s Conjuring Casanova is a romantic novel mixing modern tastes with timeless mystique to showcase how the greatest lovers in history approached love.
The name Casanova has become lodged in the global zeitgeist as the paragon of love, romance, and eroticism, such that people who are particularly amorous, passionate, and open with their emotions are called Casanovas.
What is a Casanova?
A Casanova is anyone, but especially a man, who is quite persistent and dauntless when it comes to matters of romance and sex. The stereotypical Casanova is a player, a lady-killer, someone who chases women and then abandons them after getting a taste—although this is not necessarily the case for every example of Casanova.
What makes the Casanova a Casanova is the skill, whether innate or learned, of seduction and their mastery of manipulating the opposite sex.
Who was THE Casanova?
An Italian adventurer, writer, and diplomat who was born in the 18th century, Giacomo Girolamo Casanova came into the zeitgeist through the writing of his vivid, salacious, and erotic autobiography, Histoire de ma vie (Story of My Life). While most scholars agree that the events pertaining to Casanova’s life are heavily embellished, it is commonly agreed that it’s one of the more genuine portrayals of 18th-century customs and norms of European social life among the higher class.
Giacomo Casanova is a complex and contradictory individual. Although he was a brilliant and charming man, one of history’s greatest lovers, he was also—like many men of his period—a prominent gambler, a chronic womanizer, and a compulsive liar.
The Other Greatest Lovers in History
While not as known as Casanova for his womanizing ways, there are still a few prominent lovers in history that are worth knowing about—some might even be on the level of Casanova’s exploits or have exceeded it. Regardless, learning more about their lives is surely an eye-opener.
A relatively recent figure in history, Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso (yes, that is his full name) is quite famous for his artistic works. Aside from being a painter, he also worked with sculptures, prints, ceramics, and theatre design. Born in 1881, the name Picasso—like the name of Casanova—has become a household name, a moniker for people who are gifted and well-versed in the arts. His greatest contributions to art are the Cubist movement, the constructed sculpture, and the collage, as well as other styles of modernism.
While more known for his works of art, Pablo Picasso is also famous for his many romantic and sexual exploits, spanning from brief dalliances to whirlwind romances lasting years. Several of the women whom he slept with are the subject of many of his paintings, and while it is not known how many lovers he had exactly—women were an influential aspect of his life, both publicly and privately.
Also known as the Magnificent or the Lawgiver, Suleiman I was the longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Born in 1520, he grew to become one of the greatest monarchs in Europe, lording over the height of Ottoman economic, military, and political dominance. It was under his rule that the empire was at its most powerful, reaching as far as the city of Belgrade (capital of modern Serbia), and during his administration, he was above 25 million subjects. In terms of cultural development, his reign as sultan is also sometimes called a Golden age, overseeing many developments in the arts, literature, and architecture.
Like many Eastern rulers, Suleiman I had a massive harem of several hundreds of concubines, the most beautiful women living within his territory and as gifts from friendly nations, though he would only have two consorts.
Marquis de Sade (real name: Donatien Alphonse François de Sade)
Perhaps the only individual that has a relatively same level of notoriety as women as the vaunted Casanova is the Marquis de Sade, whose real name is Donatien Alphonse François.
The Marquis was a member of the French nobility while also being a revolutionary, a politician, and a philosopher. Like Casanova, he is most well-known because of his writing, specifically his works that focus a lot on sexual freedom and deviancy, such that the term sadism is termed after his more unusual preferences during the act. Probably because of his non-standard proclivities, many courtesans in Paris were frequent patrons of his. It is even said that by the age of 23, he had visited every brothel in Paris.
Melissa Rea’s Conjuring Casanova is a romantic novel that heavily features the character of Giacomo Casanova, who finds himself living in the modern world with no way of returning back to his time.
A fun, enjoyable, and thrilling read. Read about one of the greatest lovers in history as you’ve never read him before.