A Night with Casanova

Wolf Mankowitz, Author Sinclair-Stevenson, $0 (136p) ISBN 978-1-85619-079-4
In Mankowitz's amusing tour de force, the legendary rake, now an elderly man of still-hearty appetites, takes the reader into his confidence as he awaits the morning carriage in which he will make his escape from the German town of Dux, where he has served as librarian to the count of Waldstein. His short, humorous monologue ranges over such fields as history, philosophy, theology and politics as he recounts his personal experiences with vigor and sharp wit; indeed, he comes across as something of an 18th-century W. C. Fields. Mankowitz ( Exquisite Cadaver ) introduces a counterweight in the person of Casanova's traveling companion, the equally legendary Wandering Jew, who gives the story a magical-realist twist. The dominant sensibility, however, is Casanova's: haughty, self-aggrandizing, earthy to the point of being scatalogical, profane and entirely human. His iconoclasm underpins much of the tale's humor, which also gets a boost from the occasional double entendre. Mankowitz cleverly keeps the narrative brief, so the wit and characterizations never wear thin. Lawrence's drawings are in keeping with the text's irreverent tone. ( Nov. )
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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