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  Friday, February 19, 2010

  Most Expensive Written Manuscript - Giacamo Casanova's autobiography sets world record

   PARIS, France -- The French government bought the manuscript of the autobiography of the legendary Italian womaniser and adventurer Giacamo Casanova for $9.5 million (7 million euros) - setting the new world record for the Most Expensive Written Manuscript.
   Photo: The first page of The Story Of My Life', written by the 18th-century libertine Giacomo Casanova is displayed at the French culture ministry in Paris. AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere
  (enlarge photo)

The world's Most Expensive Written Manuscript , dating from around the time of the French Revolution, is believed to be the only one in existence, and details the life of an 18th-century libertine who frequented most of the great courts of Enlightenment Europe. Written in French and covering 3,700 pages,

   The memoirs, "The Story of My Life," had been in the hands of one of Germany's most prominent publishing families for nearly two centuries.

   The world's Most Expensive Written Manuscript was acquired by the Brockhaus family in 1820, hidden by Frederic-Arnold Brockhaus during World War II, then carried by an American military truck in 1945 out of Leipzig. It was finally published in 1960.

    His writings were banned by the Church, his life the story of one sexual adventure after another. France's National Library was delighted to announce that it had acquired the handwritten memoirs of Giacomo Girolamo Casanova, often called the world's greatest lover.    

    The Story of My Life is the most expensive manuscript ever acquired by the National Library. An anonymous French donor stepped in after a two-year search to finance the 7m ($9.6m, 6m) purchase, hailed as a major cultural acquisition by the government.

   Art advisor Christoph Graf Douglas said the negotiations over the conditions and price of the sale lasted two and a half years.     

   Bruno Racine, President of the National Library, said the manuscript was a "mythic" text that was both one of the best and worst known in literary history.
   The memoirs are as erotic as their reputation, says Mr Racine, and remain "shocking even today". But Casanova's real talent went beyond mere titillation, and included an acute observation of 18th-century social life.

    Casanova is famous for his accounts of the serial seductions he committed across Europe during his multi-faceted career as lawyer, priest, violinist, soldier and professional gambler.

    Though almost 500 versions have been published since the Venetian-born adventurer died in 1798, aged 73, only two had been based on the original text. The Library plans to make the uncensored manuscript available online "within months" and an international exhibition is planned for 2011.

    The previous Guinness world record for such a purchase was the 3.6 million euros, including fees and commissions, that was paid for the manuscript of Andre Breton's Manifesto of Surrealism in 2008.

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   Friday, February 19, 2010

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