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Gabriele d'Annunzio: Poet, Seducer, and Preacher of War
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Godfather to Mussolini, national hero of Italy and the WWI irredentist movement, literary icon of Joyce and Pound, lover of actress Eleonora Duse: here is Lucy Hughes-Hallett's extraordinary biography of Gabriele d'Annunzio, poet, bon vivant, harbinger of Italian fascism.Gabriele d'Annunzio was Italy's premier poet at a time when poetry mattered enough to trigger riots. A brilliant self-publicist in the first age of mass media, he used his fame to sell his work, seduce women, and promote his extreme nationalism. In 1915 d'Annunzio's incendiary oratory helped drive Italy to enter the First World War, in which he achieved heroic status as an aviator.In 1919 he led a troop of mutineers into the Croatian port of Fiume and there a delinquent city-state. Futurists, anarchists, communists, and proto-fascists descended on the city. So did literati and thrill seekers, drug dealers, and prostitutes. After fifteen months an Italian gunship brought the regime to an end, but the adventure had its sequel: three years later, the fascists marched on Rome, belting out anthems they'd learned in Fiume, as Mussolini consciously modeled himself after the great poet.At once an aesthete and a militarist, d'Annunzio wrote with equal enthusiasm about Fortuny gowns and torpedoes, and enjoyed making love on beds strewn with rose petals as much as risking death as an aviator. Lucy Hughes-Hallett's stunning biography vividly re-creates his flamboyant life and dramatic times, tracing the early twentieth century's trajectory from Romantic idealism to world war and fascist aggression.

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Format:
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Street Date:
08/20/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385349703
ASIN:
B00BKK6E0O
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APA Citation (style guide)

Lucy Hughes-Hallett. (2013). Gabriele d'Annunzio: Poet, Seducer, and Preacher of War. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Lucy Hughes-Hallett. 2013. Gabriele D'Annunzio: Poet, Seducer, and Preacher of War. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Gabriele D'Annunzio: Poet, Seducer, and Preacher of War. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Lucy Hughes-Hallett. Gabriele D'Annunzio: Poet, Seducer, and Preacher of War. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2013. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Lucy Hughes-Hallett is an award-winning cultural historian and critic. She is the author of Heroes: A History of Hero Worship and Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams, and Distortions. She has written on books, theatre, and television for most of the leading British newspapers. For five years she was television critic for the London Evening Standard and has long been a regular contributor to The Sunday Times books section. She has judged a number of literary prizes, and she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

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Gabriele d'Annunzio
fullDescription

Godfather to Mussolini, national hero of Italy and the WWI irredentist movement, literary icon of Joyce and Pound, lover of actress Eleonora Duse: here is Lucy Hughes-Hallett's extraordinary biography of Gabriele d'Annunzio, poet, bon vivant, harbinger of Italian fascism.

Gabriele d'Annunzio was Italy's premier poet at a time when poetry mattered enough to trigger riots. A brilliant self-publicist in the first age of mass media, he used his fame to sell his work, seduce women, and promote his extreme nationalism. In 1915 d'Annunzio's incendiary oratory helped drive Italy to enter the First World War, in which he achieved heroic status as an aviator.

In 1919 he led a troop of mutineers into the Croatian port of Fiume and there a delinquent city-state. Futurists, anarchists, communists, and proto-fascists descended on the city. So did literati and thrill seekers, drug dealers, and prostitutes. After fifteen months an Italian gunship brought the regime to an end, but the adventure had its sequel: three years later, the fascists marched on Rome, belting out anthems they'd learned in Fiume, as Mussolini consciously modeled himself after the great poet.

At once an aesthete and a militarist, d'Annunzio wrote with equal enthusiasm about Fortuny gowns and torpedoes, and enjoyed making love on beds strewn with rose petals as much as risking death as an aviator. Lucy Hughes-Hallett's stunning biography vividly re-creates his flamboyant life and dramatic times, tracing the early twentieth century's trajectory from Romantic idealism to world war and fascist aggression.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The New Yorker
      • content: "A valuable outline of the tides of Italian public opinion at the turn of the century, as well as a stunning portrait of a man who lived by the credo 'Life's value is that of a spear to be thrown.'"
      • premium: False
      • source: Jonathan Galassi, New Republic
      • content: "As she creates her rich, effervescent, astute, involving portrait of the notorious 'poet, seducer, and preacher of war,' Hughes-Hallett spares us the whole ghastly blow-by-blow, focusing instead on representative vignettes while leaving us to understand that there were many more such in her subject's unflagging, jam-packed existence. It is a canny strategy that prevents her reader from sinking under the weight of D'Annunzio's overweening narcissism; it also underlines the unswervingly exterior character of her relentless subject. . . Hughes-Hallett analyzes D'Annunzio in the Jamesian manner: she holds him up to the light as an overly perfumed, deplorably behaved Continental, an exotic post-Nietzschean specimen whose irresponsible aestheticizing of everything--from love to war--inflamed a lethal irrationalism."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly, starred review
      • content: "Dazzling . . . a shrewd, challenging analysis that links [D'Annunzio's] sadomasochistic psyche to his pitiless ideology. The result is a resonant study of the themes of power, masculinity, violence, and desire that made D'Annunzio such a striking emblem of his age."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews, starred review
      • content: "A dexterous delineation of the celebrated Italian writer . . . [Hughes-Hallett] crafts an appealing combination of genres, blending elements of biography, fiction, and cultural, social, and military history to create about as complete an image as possible of this most protean personality . . . readers will delight in touring the deep, tangled wood of a most astonishing life with a most engaging and learned guide."
      • premium: False
      • source: Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
      • content: "Exhaustively researched and as compulsively readable as today's gossip page, Lucy Hughes-Hallett's Gabriele d'Annunzio brings this horrible man to vivid and repulsive life."
      • premium: False
      • source: Ray Olson, Booklist
      • content: "Hughes-Hallett paints a richly detailed portrait of an eminently civilized sociopath, incapable of restraining his appetites for sex, excitement, and the most exquisite furnishings and utterly insensible to the emotional and financial damage he caused . . . D'Annunzio is appalling but, as Hughes-Hallett presents him, completely enthralling."
      • premium: False
      • source: Piers Brendon, The Oldie (UK)
      • content: "As Lucy Hughes-Hallett shows in this richly kaleidoscopic biography, d'Annunzio was much more than a harbinger of totalitarianism . . . In this scintillating study, full of wit and irony, she plumbs the depths of d'Annunzio's horrible fascination."
      • premium: False
      • source: Lisa Hilton Standpoint (UK)
      • content: "Lucy Hughes-Hallett's luminously intelligent Life begins with the premise that 'disapproval is not an interesting response' to . . . the real inventor of Fascism. Hughes-Hallett uses a legato/staccato technique . . . it works brilliantly. A scholarly distillation as potent and elegantly balanced as the poet's personal recipe for cologne."
      • premium: False
      • source: Richard Bosworth Times Higher Education Supplement (UK)
      • content: "A lively and readable narrative."
      • premium: False
      • source: Daniel Swift, New Statesman (UK)
      • content: "Beautiful, strange and original . . . an extraordinarily intimate portrait . . . If you want to understand fascism, you must start with d'Annunzio; and if you wish to understand him, then here is your book."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Economist (UK)
      • content: "Deeply evocative . . . It is not easy to make sense of the life of a man who was a silk-swathed aesthete, prophetic versifier, manic aviator and martial demagogue all in one. . . Ms Hughes-Hallett deftly unpicks the strands that compose and ultimately resolve these incongruities. She is a strong match for her subject, something that so many of the women in d'Annunzio's life were lamentably not. Her style is rich, ironic and pugnacious; she jousts willingly with him and the reader becomes a spectator of this subtle and fascinating contest."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from May 20, 2013
        The Italian modernist writer and demagogue embodies some of the most dynamic—and sinister—impulses of the early 20th century, according to this dazzling biography. Historian and critic Hughes-Hallett (Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams, and Distortions) delves into D’Annunzio’s lurid contradictions: he was a brilliant, scandalous literary celebrity whose works embraced medieval archaisms and machine-age futurism; a ruthless seducer of women; an avowed Nietzschean superman and an effeminate voluptuary who loved fashion, furnishings, and flowers; and a blood-thirsty militarist who helped propel Italy into World War I with his pro-war oratory and reveled in the carnage he witnessed at the front. The book climaxes with a captivating account of D’Annunzio’s 1919 seizure of power in the city of Fiume, a febrile episode part Summer of Love and part Nuremberg rally that pioneered the politics and aesthetics of later Fascist regimes. Hughes-Hallet tells the story through vignettes that unfold in intimate, novelistic detail; her patchwork narrative spotlights the raucously entertaining soap opera of D’Annunzio’s life, but gels into a shrewd, challenging analysis that links his sadomasochistic psyche to his pitiless ideology. The result is a resonant study of the themes of power, masculinity, violence, and desire that made D’Annunzio such a striking emblem of his age. 53 illus. & 1 map. Agent: Felicity Rubenstein, Lutyens & Rubenstein.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from June 15, 2013
        A dexterous delineation of the celebrated Italian writer Gabriele D'Annunzio (1863-1938), who mastered poetry, drama, fiction, nonfiction, women and war but stumbled elsewhere. A journalist, critic, cultural historian and biographer, Hughes-Hallett (Heroes: A History of Hero Worship, 2004, etc.) crafts an appealing combination of genres, blending elements of biography, fiction, and cultural, social and military history to create about as complete an image as possible of this most protean personality. The more we read of this man's accomplishments, failures, ambitions, weaknesses and obsessions, the more remarkable it is that he can be imprisoned in print. But the author manages to simultaneously incarcerate and liberate him in her pages. She begins with a 1919 military mutiny led by D'Annunzio (she returns to these events 400 pages later for a more thorough treatment): He and his followers took over and occupied the city of Fiume (now the Croatian seaport Rijeka). It didn't last. At times, the author's narrative technique resembles a photo album: She continually pauses to offer snapshots of her subject's life, career and enormous sexual appetite. Moreover, she grasps time by the throat, bends it to her purposes, often advancing thematically rather than chronologically. By the end, however, we have learned about her subject's background, his writing career (some have called him the greatest Italian writer since Dante), his war exploits (he was a fearless pilot in World War I, earning citations for bravery), his choreography with the fascists (he met several times with Mussolini), his profligacy (in every sense) and his astonishing literary productivity. Due to the volume's design, some will not find it useful as a standard reference book (we must search for dates), but most readers will delight in touring the deep, tangled wood of a most astonishing life with a most engaging and learned guide.

        COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from July 1, 2013
        The subject of this long, busy biography kept notebooks from early on and extraordinarily faithfully. D'Annunzio (18631938) also deliberately became one of the first modern celebrities, hard on the heels of Oscar Wilde, and as such he was voluminously documented. Add his many volumes of verse, best-selling novels, and very popular plays, and he offers his chronicler an embarrassment of source material. Hughes-Hallett paints a richly detailed portrait of an eminently civilized sociopath, incapable of restraining his appetites for sex, excitement, and the most exquisite furnishings and utterly insensible to the emotional and financial damage he caused. He went through houses, furnishings, clothes, jewelry, artworks, horses, cars, and airplanes (not boatshe never could conquer seasickness) as if they were water, almost never fully paying for any of them. His mistresses were legion, and among them were some of the era's most famous performers. And then there were his one-night (or shorter) stands, all recorded, often obscenely, in his notebooks. A national chauvinist who lauded unending warfare and violence, he spearheaded the drive to get Italy into WWI and for 15 months of 191920 was the dictator of the Italian-majority Yugoslavian city, Fiume. In the process, he inspired the rising Mussolini, of whom he seldom approved but didn't criticize because Il Duce paid for every extravagance of his last 15 years. D'Annunzio is appalling but, as Hughes-Hallett presents him, completely enthralling.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

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A spellbinding biography: the volatile and fascinating life of Gabriele D'Annunzio--poet, bon viveur, and virulent Italian nationalist who prefigured Mussolini--that also traces the early twentieth century's trajectory from Romantic idealism to world war and Fascist thuggery.

Gabriele D'Annunzio was Italy's premier poet at a time when poetry could trigger riots. A brilliant self-publicist, he used his fame to sell his work, seduce women (the great actress Eleonora Duse, among them), and promote his extreme nationalism. At once an aesthete and a militarist, he enjoyed risking death no less than making love, and he wrote with equal enthusiasm about Fortuny gowns and torpedoes. In 1915 his incendiary oratory helped drive Italy into the First World War, and in 1919 he lead a troop of mutineers into the Croatian port of Fiume, where he established a delinquent city-state. Futurists, anarchists, communists and proto-fascists descended on the place, along with literati...

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