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Cahiers de Littérature Française XI Largesse de Casanova<br> Titolo Cahiers de Littérature Française XI Largesse de Casanova
Autore a cura di Michel Delon
Anno 2011
ISBN ISSN: 1978-4882
Dati p. 144
Collana Cahiers de littérature française - Cahiers de littérature française
  •  Libro: 14.00€

Avant-propos, par Michel Delon
Raphaelle Brin, «Tout dire»? Casanova et la sélection des souvenirs
Elisabetta De Toni, Casanova, le plaisir de la dépense
Guillaume Simiand, «J’ai pris pour précepteur de morale […] celui qui m’a le plus deviné»: Casanova disciple d’Horace
Séverine Denieul, Du beau parleur occasionnel au conteur professionnel: la conversation dans l’Histoire de ma vie de Casanova
Cyril Francès, Pouvoir et frivolité: la mise en scène de la parole royale dans l’Histoire de ma vie
Gérard Lahouati, Envie de duel
Jean-Cristophe Igalens, Casanova et l’onanisme: limites de la surveillance, apologie de la dépense
Casanova par images
Présentations des auteurs

Raphaelle Brin
«Tout dire»? Casanova et la sélection des souvenirs
This article deals with the various issues related to Casanova’s selection of memories. What should one tell the reader when writing one’s autobiography? Which memories should be revealed, which ones should be hidden? Being exhaustive (or, more accurately, “tout dire” – tell all – as Rousseau – before Casanova – stated in his Confessions), appears to be a major rule of what Philippe Lejeune called the “autobiographical pact” (pacte autobiographique). This claim is moreover explicitly linked by Casanova, in his prefaces and in his letters, to the central question of veracity and truth. However, while pretending to tell all, Casanova subtly chooses amongst his memories, and explicitly declares, in the middle of his narration, that he sometimes allows himself to only partially reveal some of his memories to the reader. He thus invites us to read more carefully this mystifying Histoire de ma vie and to consider silence and omission as ambiguous rhetorical strategies.

Elisabetta De Toni
Casanova, le plaisir de la dépense
The essay analyses the case of Casanovian prodigality as a device for social self-promotion and relational strategy. Casanova is an emblematic figure of the eighteenth century adventurer, who can’t help, in the context of a very rigid and fixed society like that of the time, turning to largesse as a mean of affirmation for a “non-aristocrat”. The gift is, at the same time, a sign of power, the instrument of narcissistic self-representation, and also a creative and original act, a “mise en scène”, in which he outlines a theatre performance. It is also a binding device for those who receive it, in a symbolic logic of gifts and counter gifts, to establish a relationship with the donor, thus revealing the not disinterested nature of the act. At the end of a life devoted to largesse, autobiography rises to a form of dissipation itself, the last illusion of a boundless generosity.

Guillaume Simiand
« J’ai pris pour précepteur de morale […] celui qui m’a le plus deviné » :
Casanova disciple d’Horace
Horace ranks among the poets most cherished by the Enlightenment; his verses grace the works of the Philosophes, and are a cornerstone of Latin studies in the Jesuit colleges, albeit in subtly expurgated editions. His sentences are so common that encountering them is hardly significant in itself from a stylistic point of view; moreover, they are seldom quoted with respect to their original meaning, being recycled as mere rhetorical ornaments to be inserted in whichever discourse the eighteenth century author saw fit.
In this almost universal homage to the poet of Tibur, Casanova deliberately stands out: throughout his adventurous life, he boasts an unmatched knowledge of Horace’s works. He understood from an early age that his verses were a key to the educated and moneyed classes throughout Europe; and he discovered that his superior mastery of both the original text and the underlying thinking granted him an appreciable edge in discussion, as is apparent in several episodes of his memoirs.
But to think that the Casanovian use of Horace’s work is merely rhetorical would be wholly inaccurate: his mastery of the Latin poet’s verses stem from long meditation, dating back to his formative years in Padua. He often calls Horace his “master”, and is so endeared with his philosophy that he doesn’t hesitate to take his side against the Philosophes when Voltaire vehemently attacks his verse Nec natura potest justo secernere iniquum. Casanova, like La Mettrie, deeply reflected upon Horace’s specific take on Epicureanism; a close examination of his influence can only lead to a re-evaluation of a singular philosophy that for lack of being systematic has too long been unjustly belittled.

Séverine Denieul
Du beau parleur occasionnel au conteur professionnel :la conversation dans l’Histoire de ma vie de Casanova
This text deals with the art of conversation in The Memoirs of Giacomo Casanova
(1725-1798), also called History of my Life. The Venetian is a smooth talker and regards conversation as an art (a performance art) and mostly as a way to elevate himself socially. For example, he is accepted at aristocratic tables by recounting his adventures, such as his escape from the famous Venetian jail called “Les Plombs”. Casanova enjoys telling stories and witty anecdotes, and making puns in order to win public favours, especially when it comes to people in high-ranking social positions.
As a professional storyteller, Casanova represents the Europe of the Enlightenment, a Europe of conversation and gallantry which is, however, closely linked with the laws of the Ancien Régime (also called Old Regime in English).

Cyril Francès
Pouvoir et frivolité : la mise en scène de la parole royale dans l’Histoire de ma vie.
The text of Casanova’s memoirs contains many meetings between Casanova and important European monarchs, like Frederic II, Catherine II and Louis XV. Each of them provides the occasion for an analysis of the “art of ruling”: forms, strategies, mechanisms… Above all, this art is based on representation which functions like a trompe l’œil, that is to say, but its lack of substance disappoints. The strength of power lies in the frivolity, and at the same time, insignificance it shows. This contradiction, which is the foundation of all absolute power, is analyzed by the stage of the words of monarchs which is of way of question it, and more particularly to explain its collapse during the French Revolution.

Gérard Lahouati
Envie de duel
After a summary of the eigthteeth-century legal and social characteristics of the duel, we present the symbolic aspects of this extreme form of game as an expression of the wish to belong to the aristocracy. We then show how, through his many stories of duels, Casanova gradually takes possession of his life by writing. These often ambiguous stories, ranging from the rather sordid settling of scores between adventurers to the desire to clear his sullied good name, are for the writer one of the ways of building his character’s consistency, making the story of his life an extraordinary epic, ranging from the grotesque to the pathetic.

Jean-Christophe Igalens
Casanova et l’onanisme : limites de la surveillance, apologie de la dépense
This paper focuses on the topic of masturbation in Casanova’s Essai de critique sur les mœurs, sur les sciences et sur les arts  and Histoire de ma vie. It studies the relationship between Casanova’s point of view and the medical discourse of the Enlightenment. Casanova asserts in a meditation on slavery that the human mind can easily be manipulated and controlled. On the other hand, he believes that the prohibition and control of masturbation will always fail, since the vitality of the body cannot be refrained. The paper analyses the presuppositions and ramifications of these contradictory statements.