a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version

A Woman Of The World

Lyrics & Music: Neil Hannon

Published by: Damaged Pop Music / BMG Music Publishing Ltd.

Originally interpreted by: The Divine Comedy

Covered by: Pablo Jubany


To see the lyrics, click on the name of the version you are interested in (on the left).




That Casanova song is actually older than it seems since it was originally written back in 1994, when Neil Hannon was commissioned to write the soundtrack of Father Ted. Finally ‘Songs Of Love’ made it, but this song was also quite liked by the writers; although they described it as a silly song [3] while the final version that we know is more melodramatic. The songs has mainly been played with a band line-up in ’96-’97 and 2003-2004, but was also played solo on the guitar back in 2002.

Neil said about this song: “One more Divine Comedy song in which Audrey Hepburn plays the lead, and Neil Hannon plays everything else. I suppose if you crammed me into a nice old leather armchair, stuffed a cigar in my gob, a daiquiri in my hand, and a Cole Porter disc on the gramophone, you might get some sense out of me regarding this song. However, it all seems a bit too much like hard work at the moment, so tough luck!” [1]

Thus, it’s based on Audrey Hepburn’s role as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the 1950s adaptation of Truman Capote’s short-story. Audrey Hepburn is Neil Hannon’s favourite actress and Breakfast at Tiffany’s his favourite movie (he even gave a presentation of it at the National Film Theatre). The verses clearly refer to the story. But it’s harder to say whether the choruses and the end are about Neil’s attraction to Holly or to Audrey. It could be both actually. The ‘super rats’ refer to the men who are always around Holly. More generally and as exposed in the third verse, the song is mainly about jealousy and the desire to know everything of the other’s life, to be everything to him or her, without acknowledging that they have a life of their own, with their own past. [2]

Oh, one last thing, despite the appearance, “if she don’t kill me” is grammatically correct.

[1] Casanova Press Release
[2] New Comer 04/1996
[3] Graham Linehan & Arthur Mathews interview, Father Ted boxset, 2012