Gabriele D'Annunzio



  • (Gabriele Rapagnetta; 1863 - 1938) The flamboyant Italianplaywright, poet, and novelist. In 1894 he became the lover of theactress Eleonora Duse, who helped to arrange the 1897 Parisproduction of his first play The Dream of a Spring Morning,as well as Italian performances of two of his tragedies, La Gioconda(1899) and Francesca da Rimini (1901).

    D'Annunzio's dramas are noted for their intensity of languageand feeling, which many now find excessive. His finest work, TheDaughter of Jorio (1904), reveals a genuine and sensitive loveof nature. D'Annunzio led an extravagant life and was forced to leaveItaly in 1910 to escape his creditors. After settling in France, hewrote and staged the mystery play Le Martyre de Saint-Sebastienin 1911 (for which Debussy composed incidental music).

    During World War I D'Annunzio served first in the army andthen in the air force. After the war he became a vociferous nationalistand in 1919 led some 3000 volunteers to capture the Croatian portof Rijeka (Italian name Fiume) for Italy. D'Annunzio proclaimed himselfcommandant of "the Italian regency of the Carnaro", butabdicated 15 months later when his headquarters were bombarded. Hesubsequently abandoned politics and retired to his villa on Lake Garda.