Gabriele D'Annunzio  

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Gabriele d'Annunzio, born Gaetano Rapagnetta (12 March 18631 March 1938) was a "decadent" Italian poet, journalist, novelist, dramatist, womanizer and daredevil who went on to have a controversial role in politics as figurehead to the Italian Fascist movement and mentor to Benito Mussolini.



At the height of his success, d'Annunzio was celebrated for the originality, power and decadence of his writing. Although his work had immense impact across Europe, and influenced generations of Italian writers, his fin de siècle works are now little known, and his literary reputation has always been clouded by his fascist associations. Indeed, even before his fascist period, he had his strong detractors. An 1898 New York Times review of his novel The Intruder referred to him as "evil", "entirely selfish and corrupt". Three weeks into its December 1901 run at the Teatro Constanzi in Rome, his tragedy Francesca da Rimini was banned by the censor on grounds of morality.

A prolific writer, his novels in Italian include Il piacere (The Child of Pleasure, 1889), Il trionfo della morte (The Triumph of Death, 1894), and Le vergini delle rocce (The Virgins of the Rocks, 1896). He wrote the screenplay to the feature film Cabiria (1914) based on episodes from the Second Punic War. D'Annunzio's literary creations were strongly influenced by the French Symbolist school, and contain episodes of striking violence and depictions of abnormal mental states interspersed with gorgeously imagined scenes. One of d'Annunzio's most significant novels, scandalous in its day, is Il fuoco (The Flame of Life) of 1900, in which he portrays himself as the Nietzschean Superman Stelio Effrena, in a fictionalized account of his love affair with Eleonora Duse. His short stories showed the influence of Guy de Maupassant. He was also associated with the Marchesa Luisa Casati, an influence on his novels.

The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica wrote of him:

…The work of d' Annunzio, although by many of the younger generation injudiciously and extravagantly admired, is almost the most important literary work given to Italy since the days when the great classics welded her varying dialects into a fixed language. The psychological inspiration of his novels has come to him from many sources—French, Russian, Scandinavian, German—and in much of his earlier work there is little fundamental originality.
His creative power is intense and searching, but narrow and personal; his heroes and heroines are little more than one same type monotonously facing a different problem at a different phase of life. But the faultlessness of his style and the wealth of his language have been approached by none of his contemporaries, whom his genius has somewhat paralysed. In his later work [meaning as of 1911], when he begins drawing his inspiration from the traditions of bygone Italy in her glorious centuries, a current of real life seems to run through the veins of his personages. And the lasting merit of d'Annunzio, his real value to the literature of his country, consists precisely in that he opened up the closed mine of its former life as a source of inspiration for the present and of hope for the future, and created a language, neither pompous nor vulgar, drawn from every source and district suited to the requirements of modern thought, yet absolutely classical, borrowed from none, and, independently of the thought it may be used to express, a thing of intrinsic beauty. As his sight became clearer and his purpose strengthened, as exaggerations, affectations, and moods dropped away from his conceptions, his work became more and more typical Latin work, upheld by the ideal of an Italian Renaissance.

In Italy some of his poetic works remain popular, most notably his poem "La pioggia nel pineto" (The Rain in the Pinewood), which exemplifies his linguistic virtuosity as well as the sensuosness of his poetry.



  • Il piacere
  • Giovanni Episcopo (1891)
  • L'innocente (1892)
  • Il trionfo della morte (The Triumph of Death, 1894)
  • Le vergini delle rocce (The Book of the Virgins, 1895 - ISBN 1-84391-052-7)
  • Il fuoco ( The Flame of Life: A Novel, 1900)
  • Forse che sì forse che no (1910)


  • La città morta (The Dead City: a Tragedy, 1899).
  • La Gioconda (Gioconda, 1899).
  • Francesca da Rimini (1902). [1]
  • L'Etiopia in fiamme (1904).
  • La figlia di Jorio (1904).
  • La fiaccola sotto il moggio (1905).
  • La nave (1908).
  • Fedra (1909).

Short story collections

  • Terra vergine (1882)
  • Le novelle della Pescara (1884-1886)

Poem collections

  • Primo vere (1879)
  • Canto novo (1882)
  • Poema paradisiaco (1893)
  • The five bookes of Laudi del cielo, del mare, della terra e degli eroi (1903-1912)
    • Maia (Canto Amebeo della Guerra)
    • Elettra
    • Alcyone (Halcyon - ISBN 0-415-96745-7)
    • Merope
    • Asterope (La Canzone del Quarnaro)

Autobiographical works

  • La Leda senza cigno
  • Notturno
  • Le faville del maglio
  • Le cento e cento e cento e cento pagine del Libro Segreto di Gabriele d'Annunzio tentato di morire o Libro Segreto (as Angelo Cocles)

His epistolatory work, Solus ad solam, was published posthumously.

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

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