I, Erzählende Schriften 30, Casanovas Heimfahrt, Seite 66

Jasvanr 13, 1923
some fifteen years before, and who now that she meets him again
shows that, like all the women he has loved, she retains the#
Casanova’s Homecoming. By Aarnon Senwirz##. Translated
kindest and most grateful recollections of him: then her nicce,
wlio scorns his passionate advances, the beautiful and crudite
by Enxx and Ckpan Paur. Brentano's. 7s. 6d.
Marcolina—a name which will remind the Casanovist of an
Phantom. By Grauaur Haurrsays. Translated by Bavann
episode between the Chevalier and Madame d’Urfé, which is onte
Ouiner Moacay. Huebsch. New York. 81.50.
of the least pretty even in that irregular carcer; then Marcolina’s
Casanora’s Homecoming is an imaginary episode in the
lover, the Lieutenant Lorenzi, in whose energy and passion
stupendous career of Giacomo Casanova, Cbevalier de Seingalt
Casanova sees as it were the reincarnation of his own lost and
and chevalier c’industrie. The inaccurate and anonymous
splendid youth. Ger night he bribes Lorenzi and takes bis
foreword to the English edition suggests that as so eminent an
place in the girl’s n without her knowledge (an old trick in
artist as Schnitzler would not trouble to add one more episode
comedy, but one always impossible to credit): and then we have
to a life alreadv so rich in incident, this book must be a study
in quick succession her horror whien she discovers that the man
of the age of transition, which preceded the French Revolution,
she has embraced is old, and his own desperate realization of
and of the contending forcs of aristocrat and bourgeois. This
this unescapable truth; a duel in which he kills Lorenzi; his
suggestion is quite beside the mark. It is true that the Memoirs
flight; his entry into Venice, his meeting with Bragadino, and
form an admirable document for the study ofthat age, Sut there
the beginning of his work as spy at onc of the cafés that Guardi
is no sign of any such preoccupation in Schnitzler’s book. He
loved to paint, upon the Piazza.
takes Casanova as an important type of human character and
The severe Casanovist will complain that Bragadino had died
imagines him at onc of the greatest crises of his life. Artists in
years previously, and that the Chevalier was only forty-nine
paint or words can face old age unalarmed, trusting that the
whien he was recalled to Venice. Moreover, he always scemed
experience they have acquired will compensate for any weakening
ten years younger than his age, and at the end of the Memoirs,
of the creative impulse, and that their last works may yet
cnly a few months before the date of this episode, he appears
prove their best. But the artist in love finds himself con¬
as successful a seducer as ever. It is true that already some
fronted with the certainty of failure. IIis knowledge of human
years carlier, at the time of his troubles with the Charpillon
nature is greater than ever, his desire to express himself may be
in London, the rumble of the approaching disaster had been
as great, but the instrument onwhich he plays is failing. His
heard in his erv :0 mes beaur jours, qu'étes vous devenus?“
body is ugly and outworn. It is a tragie moment when this
but I doubt if he felt hopeless about his age until he was
Somes completely home to a man who has made gallantry the
banished from Venice for the second time, and left the city
whole aim of his existence. Two highly successful Boulevard
for ever.
dramatists recently dead, Rostand and Bataille, made the old
But Scknitzler wanted the adventurer’s return to the scene of
age of Don Juan the theme of almost their last plays. But
his first successes to follow hard upon his sudden corsciousness
Casanova is, I think, a more interesting example of the type
of irremediable old age, and any chronological errors are at
than Don Juan, if only because we know more about him. He
once forgotten in the beautifully sympathetic account he gives
is a man as weli as a legend. A professienal libertine, who
of the cynical and senstble Chevalier, and in the romantic and
proclaimed that he always made it his principal business to
memorable pictures of him in a garden with Marcolina arguing
cultivate the pieasures of sense, he swaggered through the
about Voltaire and forgetting for a moment to desire her; of
eighteenth century from Naples to Westmins#r, from Petersburg
Marcolina at her window passionately watching her lover’s
to Madrid, in the untiring pursuit of enjoyment. A cynic, he
clandestine departure; and of the duel between the old and the
believed that pleasure was the only thing that mattcred; a
young man, both stark naked, on a lawn at daybrcak. There
sentimentalist, nothing pleased him so much as to give pleasure
are a few jarring notes, when Casanova becomes melodramatie,
to others—of the opposite sex. He succeeded in this aim, and
as in his memoirs, however fantastic the situation, he never
millee tre women guarded his memory as that of a benefactor.
does; these are probably due to dilliculties of translation. But
They were naore obliged to him for seducing them than he to##
the whole book gives such a likely picture of the great amorist
them for letting themselves be seduced. Truth in this respect
when age caught him on the hip, and the whole episode is bathed
is not so strange as feminist fiction.
in such sensuous and elegiac loveliness that one’s only spon¬
The Memoirs occupy, in the best editior, eight considerable
tancous complaint is against its shortness. If it has the success
volumes But they end abruptly in the year 1774 just before
it deserves (it is of course not for the young person, though the
Casanova's return to Venice as police-spy for the Venetian
passage that gave most offence in America has been softened
Government, nearly twenty years after his escape from the
in the English edition), the publisher should be encouraged to
Piombi. Of the twenty-four remaining years of his life there is
produce a complete translation of Schnitzler’s works. From
little record. We hear of him reporting to the Inquisitors that
those already translated it is evident that he is one of the most
a ballet should be barned as dangerous tothe Republic, because
imaginative, sympathetic, and urbane of living writers.
#i dealt witk the inflammatory subject of Coriolanus; then being
To read Phantom after Casanova’s Homecoming is like passing
banished from Venice for publishing a roman d clef that insulted
from the sweetly Southern atmospherc of Vienna with its gay
a Patrician; wandering ance more about Europe till he found a
churches and Rococo palaces, to the harsh Septentrional air
post as librarian to Count Waldstein, and spending the last
and inhuman though impressive ugliness of modern Berlin.
fourteen years of his life in this nobleman’s castle at Dux in
We have all read with intense if furtive interest tbe odd confes¬
Bohemia, a touchy and querulous old man, standing pathetically
sions which psychologists have lately been showering upon us.
instead of impudently upon his meagre dignity, squabbling with
We are all acquainted with the unfortunate Frau X., the well¬
the steward about his meals, corresponding with the Prince de¬
bred Fraülein Y., and the artistic Herr Z. Here is a new one.
Ligne, and finding his chief consolation in recording his piearesque
Herr Lorenz L. of Breslau.
past. There is a bust that shows him still hawk-like in old age,
My father, a tax-collector, who drank too much and died of
and also an engraving by a Prague artist underwhich iswritten:
apoplexy, hated me, but I was always most intensely devoted
Non sum qui jueram: non putor esse: jui.
to my mother. I had one brother, of decided artistic tempera¬
ment, and a beautiful sister, remarkable for her deep voice and
Helived to seethe whole fabric of his world rent bythe Jacobins,
general masculinity. I wos a solicitor’s cierk, my great ambition
and his eruel mistress Venice violated by Napoleon’s soldiery.
being to become a school-teacher, I suffered from a limp, a
He died in 1798, his best epitaph and metaphysic being the
pimply ccmplexion, and an inexplicable fear of women, with
proud ery: Jesais que J’ai eristé, cur J’ai senti.
whom I had had little to do. At the age of twenty-eight 1
That is about all the material that history affords about the
suddenly conccived a passion for Veronica H., the thirteen-year¬
old age of Casanova. Schnitzler’s imagination supplies one
old daughter of a rich and highly respected hardware merchant.
capital event in the gap left by the unfinished Memoirs. The
From that moment all my life was changed. 1 lost all my
episode he gives us is presumed to take place immediately before
interest in my work, dreamt I was missing railway trains, and
the adventurer’s return to Venice, that is to say some eight
made it my only aim to become worthy of iny princess, as 1
months after his arrival in Trieste, which is the last thing thatthe
called her. I never spoke to her, but I obtained an interview
Memoirs record. Casanova, friendless, impoverished, and fifty¬
with her parents in which T asked for her hand. They thought
two years old, is at Mantua, drawn from the ends of Europe ever
Iwas mad. I wrote poems, and deceived myseif as well as others
nearer to Venice by his longing hope that his old patron
with the idea that I was a great and successful writer, I became
Bragadino will obtain for him permission to enter the city. He
the intimate of a Viennese adventurer called V., and was initiated
is writing the critical study of Voltaire’s works, which was
by him into the mysteries of the Breslau Underworld, of which
published in Venice a few years later. We encounter first the
my sister had recently become a member. I gave up my post
seedy acquaintances to whose company he is reduced; then
Amalia, a woman whom he had loved and generously married off in the solicitor’s oflice, and in company with V. extracted large