Gabriele D'Annunzio Biography


(Critical Guide to Censorship and Literature)

ph_0111207626-Dannunzio.jpg Gabriele D’Annunzio Published by Salem Press, Inc.

D’Annunzio published his first collection of poetry in 1879, and he served as a deputy in Italy’s Parliament from 1884 to 1904. In politics, he gained attention because of the literary quality of his fluent rhetoric, but he behaved unpredictably, creating scandals with his many love affairs, and he was forced into bankruptcy in 1910 because of his extravagant spending. A fervent Italian nationalist, he was a daring member of the national air force during World War I, and he was outraged when Italy did not receive its territorial claims after helping to win the war. In 1919, he led three hundred soldiers who captured the port city of Fiume (now Rijeka, Yugoslavia), and held it by force for a year.

D’Annunzio was an early advocate of many fascist ideas, and his own troops introduced the black shirt which became a symbol of the Fascist Party. Always maintaining close ties with the Fascist regime that came into power in 1922, he gave every appearance of supporting Benito Mussolini’s authoritarian policies—including tight regimentation of the press. In 1926, Mussolini arranged for a government-sponsored edition of D’Annunzio’s complete works, even though most of them were then on the Index. In 1937, Mussolini appointed D’Annunzio president of the Royal Italian Academy.

A versatile writer, D’Annunzio was praised for his imaginative and melodious style, but most critics considered the content of his many novels and plays...

(The entire section is 475 words.)


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Gabriele D’Annunzio was born on the Adriatic coast in the main town of the Abruzzi region, Pescara, to Francesco Paolo D’Annunzio and Luisa De Benedictis of the “pure Sabellian race.” His mother is reported to have said, “My son, you are born on a Friday and in March. Who knows what great things you will do in the world!” The prediction was borne out as he manifested his literary talent at an early age. A brilliant, precocious student at one of the best schools in Italy, the Liceo Cicognini in Prato, he published his first poem, “Ode a Re Umberto” (ode to King Umberto), in 1879. His first book of poems, Primo vere, followed that year. These works exhibited the influence of poet Giosuè Carducci’s Odi barbare (1877; Barbarian Odes, 1939); Carducci had attempted to bring Italian poetry from Romanticism back to its classical roots by experimenting with the rhythmic structure of Greek and Latin verse forms, while intensifying certain Romantic elements.

When he moved to Rome in 1881 to attend the university, D’Annunzio was already well known, having been praised by Giuseppe Chiarini in an enthusiastic article in Fanfulla della Domenica. D’Annunzio further increased his nascent fame by spreading a rumor of his death, showing the flamboyance that would mark his entire life. He became part of the literary and intellectual life of Rome and contributed to newspapers and reviews such as La cronaca bizantina, Il capitan Fracassa, and La tribuna. His second book of poetry, Canto novo, was praised; his third, however, Intermezzo di rime, aroused a fire storm of controversy, the first of many in his life. Considered too sensual, the book provoked a debate on decorum in literature and even drew sharp criticism from Chiarini, who believed that D’Annunzio had betrayed his promise with an immoral work. All this criticism merely made D’Annunzio more famous.

In 1884, his Il libro della vergini aroused another controversy, not only because of its contents but also because of a disagreement between author and publisher concerning the cover design. In 1885, D’Annunzio was wounded in the head in his second duel but went on with his writing, a year later publishing San Pantaleone, a collection of naturalistic sketches and stories influenced by Verga and de Maupassant. It, too, provoked the predictable culture shock, by now a trademark of D’Annunzio’s career. As if literary disputes were not enough, he became involved in politics, publishing L’armata d’Italia (1888; the Italian fleet), calling for Italy to build up its naval power.

His first novel, The Child of Pleasure, remains his most...

(The entire section is 1122 words.)