Annunzio, Gabriele d'

POET, NOVELIST, PLAYWRIGHT (ITALY)
BORN 12 Mar 1863, Pescara, Abruzzi: Francaville, Mare - DIED 1 Mar 1938, Gardone Riviera: Vittoriale
GRAVE LOCATION Gardone Riviera, Brescia: Vittoriale degli Italiani

Gabriele d'Annunzio left his native Abruzzi in 1881 to go to Rome, where he wrote essays for the newspaper Tribuna. His early work shows the influence of naturalism and Italian verism. In 1910 he moved to France, where he had a passionate relationship with the actress Eleonora Duse. He wrote about this in his novel "Il Fuoco" (1900, translated as "The Flame of Life"). For Duse he wrote his plays "La Giaconda" and "Francesca".

In Paris he frequented Natalie Barney's salon and he knew Sarah Bernhardt, who played in his "Francesca da Rimini" in 1902. At Barney's he met Romaine Brooks, who painted his portrait in 1912 and with whom he reportedly had a platonic relationship.

D'Annunzio lived like a dandy and was a symbol of decadence. For his mistress Ida Rubinstein he wrote the opera "Le Martyre de Saint Sebastion", with music by Claude Debussy and Ida playing an androgenous Saint Sebastian. Naturally, it was placed on the Index of forbidden works by the Catholic church.

In the First World War he served in the Italian Army. After the end of the war a seriously disappointed d'Annunzio occupied the city of Fiume and established an illegal government. He withdrew his troups after fifteen months.

In his later years he suffered from a nervous disorder and lived in solitude. Radclyffe Hall was among the few that were invited to visit him at his villa "Il Vittoriale". He died there. Near his home is a museum dedicated to him, the Vittoriale.

Plays: "La Gioconda" (1899); "Fedra" (1899); "Francesca" (1902). Poetry: "Canto Novo" (1882); "Chimera" (1890); "Elegie Romane" (1892). Novels: "The Child of Pleasure" (1889) and "The Triumph of Death" (1894).

Related persons
• knew Barney, Natalie Clifford
• knew Bernhardt, Sarah
• was a friend of Brooks, Romaine
• was the lover of Casati, Luisa, Marchesa
• knew Corcos, Vittorio Matteo
• had a relationship with Duse, Eleonora
• was a friend of Hall, Radclyffe

Sources
• Moerman, Josien (ed.), Lexicon Internationale Auteurs, Het Spectrum, Utrecht, 1985
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Anschütz, Ottomar

Published: 1 Jan 2006
Last update: 31 Mar 2006