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About the Author
Gabriele D'Annunzio (1863-1938) was an Italian poet, playwright, soldier, and political figure. Born in Pescara, Abruzzo, D'Annunzio was the son of the mayor, a wealthy landowner. He published his first book of poems at sixteen, launching his career as a leading Italian artist of his time. In 1891, he published his first novel, A Child of Pleasure, followed by Giovanni Episcopo (1891) and L'innocente (1892), which earned him a reputation among leading European critics as a member of the Italian avant-garde. By the end of the nineteenth century, he turned his efforts to writing for the stage with such tragedies as La Gioconda (1899) and Francesca da Rimini (1902). Radicalized during the First World War, D'Annunzio used his experience as a decorated fighter pilot to spread his increasingly nationalist ideology. In 1919, he spearheaded the takeover of the city of Fiume, which had been ceded at the Paris Peace Conference. As the leader of the Italian Regency of Carnaro, he sought to establish an independent authoritarian state and to support other separatist movements around the globe, but was forced to surrender to Italy in December 1920. Despite his failure, D'Annunzio inspired Mussolini's National Fascist Party, which built on the violent tactics and corporatist system advocated by the poet and his allies. Toward the end of his life, D'Annunzio was named Prince of Montenevoso by King Victor Emmanuel III and served as the president of the Royal Academy of Italy.