Cover image for Infinite variety : the life and legend of Marchesa Casati
Infinite variety : the life and legend of Marchesa Casati
Ryersson, Scot D.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Viridian Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
xii, 248 pages, 32 unnumbered leaves of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DG658.25.C38 R94 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



She was the most scandalous woman of her day.

Author Notes

Scot D. Ryersson is an award-winning writer, illustrator, and graphic designer
Michael Orlando Yaccarino is a freelance writer specializing in international genre film, fashion, music, and unconventional historical figures

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

The Marchesa Luisa Casati (1881-1957) cultivated celebrity through morbid eccentricity in dress and lifestyle, becoming, before 1920, a darling of portraitists, photographers, designers and gossip columnists. With her androgynous figure, bizarre makeup and disorderly dyed hair, she was the "naked sorceress" to one observer, "the Medusa of the Grand Hotels" to another. She was mistress to many, including author and adventurer Gabriele D'Annunzio, who was her great love; she pursued him as obsessively as she pursued notoriety, her exhibitionist mania her only talent. Her extravagant oddity proved expensive and carried with it an inevitable obsolescence. The authors describe her unnaturally red hair, cadaverous pallor and scarlet lips as giving her in middle age "the unsettling appearance of a Kabuki performer." By the time she was 50, she had gone from immense wealth to bankruptcy and from tantalizing and demanding muse to a lurid Miss Havisham on the edge of a diminishing clique of admirers. At the end she was forced to constantly change her addresses in London, her fame in Italy and France having run out. To one English acquaintance, then, her attire resembled "the plumage of a shabby raven." The chapel at nearby Harrods handled her funeral. Ryersson and Yaccarino strain to astonish the reader, but the empty excess of Casati's life quickly palls. Despite the authors' efforts, the overwrought Marchesa remains a forgettable figure. 42 b&w illus. and 8 color plates not seen by PW. Author tour. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Quentin Crisp
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Forewordp. xi
Introductionp. 1
I 1881-1903p. 5
II 1903-1910p. 19
III 1910-1914p. 41
IV 1914-1919p. 85
V 1919-1920p. 113
VI 1921-1927p. 135
VII 1927-1957p. 167
Epiloguep. 203
Notesp. 211
Select Bibliographyp. 225
Indexp. 229
Permission Acknowledgmentsp. 245
Illustration Creditsp. 247