WHO: Gabriele d’Annunzio
WHAT: A new biography by Lucy Hughes-Hallett
WHEN: Published by Knopf August 20, 2013
WHERE: He lived in Italy.
“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 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.”
—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, a starred review
“Hughes-Hallett manages to simultaneously incarcerate and liberate d’Annunzio in her pages. This is 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…Readers will delight in touring the deep, tangled wood of a most astonishing life with a most engaging and learned guide.” —KIRKUS, a starred review
“D’Annunzio is appalling but, as Hughes-Hallett presents him, completely enthralling.” —Ray Olson, in a starred review for BOOKLIST
Publicist for this title:
Michelle Somers | 212-572-2082 | firstname.lastname@example.org