Two and a half centuries after Giacomo Casanova was hounded from Paris, the Venetian adventurer returned to his adopted home when the State acquired his memoirs for £6 million.

The only manuscript of Casanova’s Histoire de ma vie, one of the literary treasures of the 18th century, was bought from the Brockhaus publishing firm in Germany, which had owned it since 1821.

An anonymous “financial enterprise” provided most of the money for the Bibliothèque Nationale de France to buy the 3,700 pages, after two years of negotiations. Frédéric Mitterrand, the Culture Minister, who signed the deal, described it as one of the most spectacular acquisitions ever made by a French library.

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