贾科莫·卡萨诺瓦（Giacomo Girolamo Casanova，1725年4月2日－1798年6月4日），极富传奇色彩的意大利冒险家、作家、“追寻女色的风流才子”。18世纪享誉欧洲的大情圣。生于意大利威尼斯，卒于波希米亚的达克斯(现捷克杜克卓夫)。卡萨诺瓦一生中最为重要的作品当属其穷尽晚年精力的创作《我的一生》（Histoire de ma vie），这部法语写成的自传式小说讲述了卡萨诺瓦一生中的故事。(来自百度百科)
卡萨诺瓦喜欢被人称为塞恩加尔骑士，就是文中的Chevalier de Seingalt。
Toward the end of his life, the Chevalier de Seingalt (1725-1798) wrote a long memoir recounting his life and adventures. The Chevalier was a somewhat controversial figure, but since he met many famous people, including kings and writers, his memoir has become a valuable historical source about European society in the eighteenth century. However, some critics have raised doubts about the accuracy of the memoir. They claim that the Chevalier distorted or invented many events in the memoir to make his life seem more exciting and glamorous than it really was.
For example, in his memoir the Chevalier claims that while living in Switzerland, ha was very wealthy, and it is known that he spent a great deal of money there on parties on gambling. However, evidence has recently surfaced that the Chevalier borrowed considerable sums of money from a Swiss merchant. Critics thus argue that if the Chevalier had really been very rich, he would not have needed to borrow money.
Critics are also skeptical about the accuracy of the conversations that the Chevalier records in the memoir between himself and the famous writer Voltaire. No one doubts that the Chevalier and Voltaire met and conversed. However, critics complain that the memoir cannot possibly capture these conversations accurately, because it was written many years after the conversations occurred. Critics point out that it is impossible to remember exact phrases from extended conversations held many years earlier.
Critics have also questioned the memoir’s account of the Chevalier’s escape from a notorious prison in Venice, Italy. He claims to have escaped the Venetian prison by using a piece of metal to make a hole in the ceiling and climbing through the roof. Critics claim that while such a daring escape makes for enjoyable reading, it is more likely that the Chevaliers jailers were bribed to free him. They point out that the Chevalier had a number of politically well-connected friends in Venice who could have offered a bribe.
- Main point: 塞恩加尔骑士的回忆录不够精确
- Sub point 1:回忆录声称自己很有钱，但是事实上不是
- Sub point 2:回忆录上对于他跟伏尔泰交谈记录得过于详细，不合常理
- Sub point 3:他声称自己在威尼斯越狱，但实际上他是政界朋友帮忙行贿才获得自由的
No memoir can possibly be correct in every detail, but still, the Chevalier’s memoir is pretty accurate overall, and is, by and large, a reliable historical source. Let’s look at the accuracy of the three episodes mentioned in the reading.
First, the loan from the merchant. Well, that doesn’t mean that the Chevalier was poor. Let me explain. We know that in Switzerland, the Chevalier spent huge amounts of money on parties and gambling, and he had wealth. But it was a kind of property you have to sell first to get money. So it usually took a few days to convert his assets into actual money. So when he ran out of cash, he had to borrow some while he was waiting for his money to arrive, but that’s not being poor.
Second, the conversations with Voltaire. The Chevalier states in his memoir that each night immediately after conversing with Voltaire, he wrote down everything he could remember about that particular night’s conversation. Evidently the Chevalier kept his notes of these conversations for many years and referred to them when writing the memoir. Witnesses who lived with the Chevalier in his later life confirmed that he regularly consulted notes and journals when composing the memoir.
Third, the Chevalier’s escape from a prison in Venice. Other prisoners in that prison had even more powerful friends than he did, and none of them were ever able to bribe their way to freedom. so bribery hardly seems likely in his case. The best evidence, though, comes from some old Venetian government documents. They indicate that soon after the Chevalier escaped from the prison, the ceiling of his old prison room had to be repaired. Why would they need to repair a ceiling unless he had escaped exactly as he said he did.
Main point: accurate
Sub point one: property, sell first, a few days, waiting for his money
Sub point two: wrote down everything, kept his notes, Witnesses, consulted notes and journals
Sub point three: more powerful friends, none, bribe, government document, repaired