Monday, August 3, 2015

If he has much talent, he must hide it

On the need for conformity in Venice in the 18th century. From History of My Life, Volume II, Chapter Three by Giacomo Casanova
Now it is impossible to judge of equality, whether physical or moral, except by appearances; from which it follows that the citizen who wants to avoid persecution must, if he is not like everyone else or worse, bend his every effort to appearing to be so. If he has much talent, he must hide it; if he is ambitious, he must pretend to scorn honors; if he wants to obtain anything, he must ask for nothing; if his person is handsome, he must neglect it; he must look slovenly and dress badly, his accessories must be of the plainest, he must ridicule everything foreign; he must bow awkwardly, not pride himself on being well mannered, care little for the fine arts, conceal his good taste if he has it; not have a foreign cook; he must wear an ill-combed wig and be a little dirty.

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