One of five beguiling if unlikely travel books Wilsey tagged for The Daily Beast:
History of My Life, by Giacomo Casanova is only not considered road literature because it is seen as pornography; but, in fact, much of it is about the importance of transportation. Casanova, a Venetian, crisscrossed Europe in the mid-1700s, buying and repairing dozens of chariots, phaetons, covered carriages, picking up hitchhikers, and fighting off highway robbers. He chronicles it all in 12 volumes, and every page is worth reading. A random early passage, set in Poland, describes the aftermath of a duel with an aristocrat:Read about the other books on the list.“‘You have killed me. You must escape, or you will lose your head. You are in the jurisdiction of the starostie, and I am grand officer of the crown, and grand cordon of the White Eagle. Lose no time; if you have not enough money, take my purse.’
His heavy purse fell on the floor. I picked it up. and put it back into his pocket, telling him it was useless to me, for if I was guilty I should lose my head, and I meant to go and lay it on the steps of the throne.
“‘I hope,’ said I, ‘that your wound is not mortal. I am sorry you forced me to inflict it on you.’ With these words I kissed him on the forehead and left the inn. I could see neither carriage, nor horses, nor servants. They had all scattered in search of doctor, surgeon, priest, relations and friends. I was alone in a desolate country covered with snow. After wandering at haphazard some little way I met a peasant in a sleigh. ‘Warsaw,’ I cried, showing him a ducat.”