An odd, fascinating book

M.A. Orthofer on Marginalia on Casanova:

Marginalia on Casanova is an odd, fascinating book — a philosophical work, but also one of interpretation, in several layers, from eras and context, to Casanova’s own words as reflection of his life, times, and deeds, and finally also as a work of self-reflection. Living in such very different times — 1930s Hungary ! — Szentkuthy does travel to nearby Vienna and Venice but even these descriptions seem removed from the reality of the times, and these asides are more aesthetic mind-voyages than physical ones; the bulk of the book is grounded entirely elsewhere, situated in even more distant times. Szentkuthy comments little on the present-day — but then Casanova also allows him to focus on the timeless universals, love first and foremost among them. [...] Marginalia on Casanova is not so much digressive as involuted, its arguments and observations turned and repeated in a structure that is complex, ordered, yet also strikingly creative. Rigorously argued, offering a broad and deep vision, it is also surprisingly entertaining.

Read the full review here.