An Italian poet, soldier, and dandy, an endless self-promoter, a man deeply intertwined with the intellectual trends and dramatic events that shaped his time, and the subject of enormous attention from prominent figures from all over Europe, Gabriele d’Annunzio might be described with the adjective multanime , a neologism he forged in his novel L’Innocente :a many-sided man, a kaleidoscope that can simultaneously disclose and distort the appearances of reality.

In Gabriele d’Annunzio: Poet, Seducer, and Preacher of War , Lucy Hughes-Hallett portrays il Vate , the national bard, as well as il Comandante , the daring soldier devoured by “a feverish desire for action.” She captures his vitality and his strange attraction to death, explains his neo-paganism, one that revived an ancient pantheon of gods dear to the intellectuals of the Renaissance, and depicts the lascivious anchoret who blended blasphemy and deviancy.

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