Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture and Communication, met Thursday, February 18, 2010 with the representative of the owner family the contract to acquire an exceptional set of documents of Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) for the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF).

History of my life, the manuscript of the author’s memoirs, constitutes the heart
manuscripts. This monument of the French language is a
moving testimony, a vivid and colourful fresco of
adventures of the great memorial artist. If Casanova published since 1780 stories
autobiographical, the beginning of the writing of Histoire de ma vie
likely in 1789. The first version was written in four years
and extends from his birth to 1774. To meet the request of the Prince
of Ligne, who wished to read these memoirs, Casanova delivered himself from
1794 a meticulous work of revision of the first manuscript. In May 1798,
feeling close to death, he left the document to his nephew, Carlo
Angiolini. It is by the children of the latter that the manuscript of History of
my life was ceded in 1821 to the publisher Brockhaus of Leipzig.
The text of the memoirs then knew many avatars, and adaptations
redacted or revised for 140 years. Under the title of
Memoirs of Casanova, some 500 editions were born from 1822
without any being able to refer to the original manuscript, which failed
the bombing of the Second World War. We must
until 1960 for publishers Brockhaus and Plon to publish an edition
in French. All Casanovists agree that
this manuscript is the original version. Over its 3,700 pages, the
manuscript bears erasures, overloads, words and entire pages
The study of this exceptional document will allow us to reconstruct the
creation of the work whose critical edition remains to be established. Many projects
are already being considered. An exhibition, planned for
autumn 2011 at the National Library of France will be the occasion
to unveil for the first time to the public this mythical manuscript.
The acquisition was carried out, with current owners, thanks to
Law of 1 August 2003 on patronage, which has enabled the
recognition of the major heritage interest of this
manuscripts by the Advisory Commission on National Treasures. The
funding was provided completely by a sponsor who wanted to
remain anonymous.
Frédéric Mitterrand, welcomes the entry into the national collections of
this extraordinary testimony of the Europe of Enlightenment, which
the largest heritage acquisition to date
for the National Library of France, and thank the generous patron
that made it possible.