The most famous lover of all time, whose sexual reputation is so (in)famous and notorious that it coined the term and trope, The Casanova.
Giacomo Girolamo Casanova (2 April 1725 – 4 June 1798), was a Venetian libertine and a rake who spent half of his life embarking on sexual pursuits, his experiences of which are recorded in his memoir, Histoire de ma vie ("The History of My Life"). The books contain 1.2 million words in 12 volumes, covering his birth to 1774, though there is some question as to how much of his autobiography is true, and how much is exaggerated.
What made Casanova stand out was his values. He was well-known to be a Chivalrous Pervert who valued women's intelligence and cared enough to satisfy them emotionally and sexually, which was unusual by the standards of the day. Casanova boasted that he had sex with over 10,000 women, though his memoir only mentioned 120 sexual partners over the course of his life. He traveled a lot, visiting countries from England to the Ottoman empire, and getting to meet other historical figures like Catherine the Great, Benjamin Franklin, Voltaire, Madame de Pompadour, Frederick The Great, and probably Mozart.
He also reported using condoms and consumed 50 oysters (considered an aphrodisiac at the time) before he engaged with his women.
Tropes relating to Giacomo Casanova and his work:
- Amicable Exes: He was still in touch with some of his ex-lovers and provided them the same respect he always had for them despite losing his sexual interests in them.
- Anything That Moves: Casanova would target women (and boys) regardless of their class, status, age, and even his family members. Nobody is safe from this guy.
- Bi the Way: He had affairs with boys out of curiosity to sample homosexuality (often he had them dressed in girl's clothing).
- Bowdlerise: Casanova's memoir has been frequently subjected to this due to his pornographic writing.
- The Casanova: The Trope Namer
- Chivalrous Pervert
- Doorstopper: We repeat: 1.2 million words in 12 volumes.
- Ephebophile: One of the lesser known and more controversial aspects of Casanova was that he was known to go after girls and teens much younger than many people today would consider legal or moral targets for relationships and sex (for an adult). He had a sexual encounter with a 13 year old in Paris, when he was thirty and bought a 12 year old girl in St. Petersburg as a Sex Slave. At one point, this crossed right over into out right pedophilia; when he was almost 50, he ran into an old lover and her daughter, and the mother ended up bringing the child to him for...some alone time. The little girl was 9 years old. He later introduced the mother to another one of his friends who also "liked" little girls as much as Casanova did so that he could get some of the same. She obliged him as well.
- Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Casanova's casual description of sex as had by both him and the other people in his memoirs make it sound like it was the most normal thing in his time.
- Hotter and Sexier: His poetic writing of his sex life would make raunchy porn producers blush!
- I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Why Casanova fell in love with the greatest love of his life, Henriette, whom he described to be free-spirited, independent, and intelligent.
- I Was Quite a Looker: He was said to be good-looking until his 40s.
- Kavorka Man: While he lost his physical charm and paid to get laid in his later years, he still managed to get women on a steady basis.
- Male Gaze: Very prominent whenever Casanova describes his "passion" for a woman's appearance, particularly her "tracts of land".
- Naughty Nuns: He recorded having illicit affairs with nuns.
- Parental Abandonment: He suffered this from both his parents, particularly his mother who gave him up to his grandmother's care to pursue her acting career.
- Parental Incest: He admitted to having sexual relations with his niece and a daughter who bore him a son/grandson.
- The Pornomancer: Like always.
- Really Gets Around
- Stepford Smiler: He seemed to slide into this mindset in the later volumes of his memoir: "I can find no pleasanter pastime than to converse with myself about my own affairs and to provide a most worthy subject for laughter to my well-bred audience."
- Surprise Incest: He was about to get married to a 17-year-old girl before meeting her mother, who turned out to be his former lover from 17 years earlier, and she revealed that his fiancée was also his daughter. Although they immediately broke off the engagement, this revelation didn't stop Casanova from having an incestuous threesome with both women afterward, and he even impregnated her years later. Yeah... Oedipus and the King of Gods have nothing on this guy.
- Unreliable Narrator: How much of his memoirs can be taken as fact is very subject to debate. His description of "courting" some of the women in his life also comes across as predation or sexual assault to modern readers.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Casanova was stuck living in Bohemia in the last several years as a librarian and desire to return to his hometown Venice, but couldn't since Napoleon Bonaparte occupied it and he lacked any finance. .
Giacomo Casanova appears in the following works:
- Casanova, a 1987 TV movie with Richard Chamberlain in the lead role.
- Casanova, a 2005 BBC miniseries starring both David Tennant and Peter O'Toole as the title character (young and old).
- Casanova, a 2005 film starring Heath Ledger, Charlie Cox and Sienna Miller.
- Casanova, a 2006 Spy Fiction comic by Matt Fraction, Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon.