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Summary

Benedict Cumberbatch reads Ian Kelly’s biography of one of the most beguiling and controversial individuals of any age.

In this fascinating biography of the notorious libertine, Ian Kelly draws on documents by Casanova, his friends, and his lovers (male and female) in order to bring fresh insights to the man’s life and world. The sights and smells of 18th-century Europe are brought keenly to life, as are the colourful incidents of Casanova’s life.

As a young cleric, he embarked upon a scandalous affair with a married woman, fleeing eventually to Constantinople. He created a stir at the French court of King Louis XV, began intrigues in London that led him to a soaking in the Thames, and sought to meet Catherine the Great at a ball in St Petersburg.

His own memoirs ensured his lasting fame and changed the way we think and write about ourselves and about sex.

Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, The Imitation Game, Star Trek Into Darkness) is the reader of this abridged edition, first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

©2015 BBC Worldwide (P)2015 BBC Worldwide

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining, short biography of a flat character

Cumberbatch proves an engaging, nuanced reader. The text itself is well condensed and full of interesting multicultural references, making it quite enjoyable. However, even though this short text supposedly highlights the most interesting chapters in Casanova's life, I found his anecdotes and exploits rather trite. All in all, an very good audiobook about a surprisingly overrated figure.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • shezallthat
  • 28-05-15

sublime

Cumberbatch could be reading a menu and it would be beautifully entertaining. His voice makes this so great!

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • o0katiekins0o
  • 21-02-16

Benedict's voice does not disappoint!

Don't kid yourself. You got this audiobook to hear Benedict Cumberbatch roll his R's and talk about naughty things. He won't let you down. Go ahead and give a listen.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • QueenAmazon
  • 24-09-15

The Man, The Women, The Legend--Well Done!

Any additional comments?

I just returned from Venice where I visited Casanova's prison cell, so I was eager to hear a brief version of his life in English. This book did the trick--outlined his main conquests in great detail and Cumberbatch's reading was definitely a highlight!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • brandi
  • 23-06-17

Benedict was perfect!

Benedict did such an amazing job! All of those French and Italian names and places and he didn't even flinch. He read them as though he saw those names every day and read them with finesse.

Casanova was never a figure in history who I was ever curious about. Being a feminist myself, that typical male, love-them, leave - them attitude, no matter how many lovers he'd convinced to share his bed, was just never a topic I sought-after. I was surprised, however, that Casanova did experience heart break and love. I hoped for more depth and feelings, but this was a good read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • BooSigns
  • 20-07-15

Beautifully Narrated

I could listen to Benedict read anything for hours and cherish every second of it.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-04-18

Casanova

Benedict Cumberbatch's voice is like butter. I could listen to that man read the phone book. He truly brought the story of this Casanova story to life. A truly brilliant performance.

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  • Anastasia
  • 22-02-18

Can Mr. Cumberbatch...

Can Mr. Cumberbatch just narrate all my audio books? Ya know just let him narrate everything, I've got a shower bottle that needs narrating!

Story overall were very good my only wish, it was longer.

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  • ali
  • 22-04-17

A Great Perspective

Would you listen to Benedict Cumberbatch Reads Ian Kelly's Casanova again? Why?

Yes, And I have! This is an interesting historical story which comes to life in the narration. I could actually see all the great cities as I was listening

Who was your favorite character and why?

Well, of course Casanova - but the wicked Nun was fun too!

Have you listened to any of Benedict Cumberbatch’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes. This performance was completely in his natural accent which was quite melodic and captivating.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes - and did - this got me through a very difficult payroll day! It was a godsend.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • H. Szabo
  • 28-03-17

Not worth my audible credit

Of course you love his voice and accent. But the way he reads this is just that, he sounds like he is just reading a story. Maybe I got spoiled by Simon Vance but I found this to be dry and it did not keep my attention. It was also incredibly short. I finished it in three commuting days. IMHO it wasn't worth a credit.

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  • Jennifer
  • 14-02-17

OK

I love Benedict's voice for reading a story such as this, but the story was slightly lacking. could've used more details about his life. it was very detailed as of dates and locations, but a more in-depth look would've suited me.