Gabriele d'Annunzio : a historical study of the influence of dandyism upon modern Italian nationalism and politics
Cochran, Charles Coyner
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Gabriele d'Annunzio was one of the most colorful and complex personalities to appear in modern Italian history since the days of the Risorgimento of the early 1860's. Born in Pescara in 1863, d'Annunzio became famous in his own time as a poet, novelist, playwright, politician, soldier and national hero. Prom his many controversial writings to his well-publicized adventure at Plume, d'Annunzio was characterized by egoism and opportunism and has been viewed by many historians, especially Italians, as having been a proto-Fascist of the first order. It was the purpose of this research to taka d'Annunzio as an important historical figure whose extremely flamboyant, if no less complex, personality greatly influenced the Italian mind during the years before and immediately after World War I. Rather than actually being a proto-Fascist, d'Annunzio represents Italy's move toward Fascism in its reaction against Massinian idealism during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. D'Annunzio's influence was first felt in his literary work, much of which was in the Nietzschean tradition and extremely unconventional. He has been called "the poet as Superman," and indeed, he captured the imagination of the Italian people with his tales of spectacular exploits. Next, as a politician, d'Annunzio, in seeking new sensations, shifted from one political inclination to another in a most unpredictable fashion. As a soldier in the First World War, d'Annunzio became the outstanding national hero and lived-up to his title by performing numerous daring feats. Despite his age, he was s vigorous warrior. At this time he became s confirmed nationalist. The climax of d'Annunzio's public career came in 1919 when he led a volunteer army and captured Flume, beginning a 15-months' rule over the disputed Adriatic port on the northern Dalmatian coast. This period shows perhaps most clearly the paradoxical nature of his life. His romantic and intensely patriotic drive had great influence on the Italian imagination; yet as an idolized national hero, d’Annunzio was the only man Who could have prevented the triumph of Mussolini. He did not do so because his fervor was not ruthless but idealistic. When Mussolini struck, d’Annunsio was too tired and too old to stop him or the tide of Fascism.