The Child of Pleasure  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Il piacere (1889) was the debut autobiographical novel by Gabriele d'Annunzio. It was translated into English as The Child of Pleasure by Arthur Symons.

Protagonist is the dandy Andrea Sperelli, whose motto is to make his own life as into a work of art». Much like Des Esseintes or Dorian Gray he embodies a “new hero”: a calculating devotee of all things beautiful, disdainful of anything mediocre and ordinary, and not inclined to bow to moral scruples.

Andrea is tormented by the memory of a complicated and sensual relationship with the enigmatic Elena Muti (the inspiration for Ornella Muti's stage name), ended by the sudden departure of the woman. After this he plunges in a new series of adventures, until a jealous rival it challenges him to duel. He surrenders to a convalescence «purifier» in the villa of a rich cousin. Here he knows a chaste woman, Maria Ferres. He feigns to have for her a spiritual love, but soon their breaks up as he tries to reproduce the feelings already tried with Elena.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Child of Pleasure" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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