France purchases Casanova manuscript

Feb. 18, 2010 at 8:26 PM
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PARIS, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- The National Library of France has acquired the handwritten memoirs of Giacomo Casanova, often called the world's greatest lover, officials announced.

The 3,700-page manuscript, written in French, is the most expensive manuscript ever acquired by the library. An anonymous French donor financed the $9.6 million purchase, Britain's Financial Times reported Thursday.

The handwritten account, titled "The Story of My Life," is thought to be the only original copy in existence, the newspaper said.

Although nearly 500 versions have been published since the Venetian-born adventurer died in 1798, only two had been based on the original text, experts said. The others were based on versions "censured or falsified ... for moral or political reasons," a National Library spokesman said.

The manuscript was sold to the library by the descendants of a German publisher who acquired the work in 1821, the Times reported.

The library will make the uncensored manuscript available online "within months" and says an international exhibition is planned for 2011.

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