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Casanova diaries given to France's National Library

19th February 2010

The uncensored diaries of 18th-century seducer Giacomo Casanova have been bought by a mysterious benefactor and given to France's National Library.

Dating from around the time of the French Revolution, the 3,700-page The Story of My Life is the original manuscript of the notorious libertine's memoirs. It contains tales of his adventures as a gambler, necromancer, self-made gentleman and swindler.

Details of the sale have not been made public, but the Guardian claims the manuscript was sold for GBP 4.4 million - while the Financial Times estimates its price to be GBP 6 million.

Bruno Racine, the library's director, told the Guardian that the acquisition is one of the most significant the institution has ever made.

'Casanova's memoirs have become universally known but they have been censored … and even changed. These manuscripts are the authentic and definitive original,' he commented.

The memoirs will be digitalised and placed in the library's online archive, while the real version could be displayed to the public in 2011.

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