D’Annunzio, Gabriele

(1863–1938)
   Poet, adventurer, and novelist, Gabriele D’Annunzio is one of the most flamboyant personalities in modern Italian history. Born in Pescara in 1863, he published his first collection of verse, Primo vere (1879), when he was just 16 years old. In the 1880s, he became a celebrity thanks to a series of critically acclaimed novels, of which Il Piacere (Pleasure, 1888) is perhaps the most widely read today; collections of decadent, sensual verse (Canto Novo in 1882 being the most significant); and a welldeserved reputation for don giovannismo. An ardent nationalist, his verse voiced the patriotic and imperialist sentiments of the era of Francesco Crispi; in 1897, D’Annunzio was elected to Parliament as a representative of the extreme right. Within three years, however, D’Annunzio, inspired by the socialists’physical bravery in pursuit of their cause, had swung to the extreme left. Whether on the right or the left, certain themes are constant in his copious political writings: irrationalism, detestation of the masses, francophilia and anglophobia, contempt for the processes of bourgeois parliamentary democracy, and a fascination with war and violence.
   D’Annunzio was naturally a partisan of Italian intervention in World War I, in which he fought with great bravery as a volunteer pilot in the Italian air force, losing an eye in combat. It is claimed that he once flew a biplane over Vienna in order to drop from the sky pages of his poetry. When the war was over, he led an attempt by enraged Italian nationalists to defy the Treaty of Versailles (which had granted the city of Fiume (Rijeka) in present-day Croatia to the newly formed Yugoslavia, not to Italy). With the tacit support of many influential figures in Italian politics, D’Annunzio established his own little city-state in Fiume and ruled as duce for a year until the government of Giovanni Giolitti, at the end of 1920, compelled the poet and his “legionnaires” to abandon the city by shelling and by the deployment of regular army troops.
   D’Annunzio plainly had much in common with Benito Mussolini, but his relations with the Fascist leader were marked by acute rivalry. For several months in 1922, D’Annunzio’s splendid villa on the shores of Lake Garda became a meeting place for antifascists of all political persuasions, who regarded the poet as a figure around whom national reconciliation might be possible. The March on Rome, however, put an end to D’Annunzio’s hopes of emerging as a national leader. D’Annunzio did not add his voice to Benedetto Croce’s dignified and courageous opposition to the Fascist state. Like the playwright Luigi Pirandello, the poet made his peace with the new regime and even accepted, shortly before his death, the presidency of the Accademia d’Italia.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • D'Annunzio, Gabriele — born March 12, 1863, Pescara, Italy died March 1, 1938, Gardone Riviera, on Lake Garda Italian writer and military hero. He was a journalist before turning to poetry and fiction. His prodigious output includes The Child of Pleasure (1898),… …   Universalium

  • D'Annunzio, Gabriele — (12 mar. 1863, Pescara, Italia–1 mar. 1938, Gardone Riviera, Lago Garda). Escritor y héroe militar italiano. Trabajó como periodista antes de dedicarse a la poesía y la ficción. Su prodigiosa producción incluye El placer (1898), donde introduce… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • D'Annunzio,Gabriele — D An·nun·zio (dän no͞onʹtsyō), Gabriele. 1863 1938. Italian writer best known for his passionate, free spirited heroes and his support of Benito Mussolini s fascist regime. * * * …   Universalium

  • d’Annunzio, Gabriele —  (1863–1938) Italian writer and adventurer …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

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