CASANOVA, GIACOMO GIROLAMO. 1725-1798.
Mémoires de J. Casanova de Seingalt écrits par lui-même. Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus. Paris: Ponthieu, 1826-1827 (vols 1-4) / Paris: Heideloff et Campé, 1832 (vols 5-8) / Brussels: [no publisher], 1838 (vols 9-12).
12 volumes bound in 6. 12mo (167 x 102 mm). xxiv, 455; vi, 468, [1 errata], [1 blank] [2 ad] pp; viii, 468, [1 errata]; viii, 519; vii, 513; vii, 524; vi, [1 blank], 516; vi, 492; vi, 621; vi, 524; vi, 496; vi, 470 pp. With all half-titles, errata sheets in vols 2-3 (lacking errata vol 1) and the ads at rear of vol 2. Near contemporary half morocco over marbled boards. Minor spotting, wear and light chipping to binding corners and spine ends, hinges tender.
Provenance: Henry W. Burt (bookplates, one inverted).
FIRST COMPLETE, FRENCH EDITION, preceded by only the expurgated German edition and the excerpts which appeared in Urania. The memoirs were edited for this edition by Jean Laforgue who had access to the entire original manuscript.
At Casanova's death, his unfinished manuscript memoirs (they cover his life until 1774) passed to a literary agent, but the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars prevented its publication until 1822, when it was acquired by Brockhaus. Its first appearance was thus in German translated "extracts." This incomplete and censored edition was then pirated by a French publisher, Tournachon, who had no choice but to re-translate the German text into French (1825-9). The present edition is the first of the original French text. When Laforgue returned the manuscript to the publisher, he inexplicably failed to return four chapters, which remain lost to this day. Laforgue's edition is thus the only surviving witness to these chapters and has been preferred to this day for that reason.
Casanova's Mémoires were soon banned, and the publishing history of the present edition illustrates the scandalousness of its contents. The first 4 volumes were printed in Leipzig until the authorities forbade it; the next 4 volumes bear a Paris imprint; and the final 4 volumes were apparently published in Brussels, but with no publisher indicated.