- Paperback: 704 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (29 August 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007213964
- ISBN-13: 978-0007213962
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 4.5 x 19.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 481 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 304,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Pike: Gabriele d'Annunzio, Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War Paperback – 3 Sep 2013
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‘Hard to beat … a biographical tour de force … a rich, voluptuous treat … a triumph, the biography of the year’ Robert McCrum, Observer, ‘Books of the Year’
‘[The Pike] dramatically extends biography’s formal range to encompass a daunting theme’ TLS, ‘Books of the Year’
‘This is a magnificent portrait of a preposterous character … deplorable, brilliant, ludicrous, tragic but above all irresistible, as hundreds of women could testify. His biographer has done him full justice’ Francis Wheen, Daily Mail
‘A cracker of a biography, an extraordinary story of literary accomplishment, passionate war-mongering and sexual incorrigibility… In less skilled hands this could have been a disaster; in fact it works wonderfully well’ Spectator, ‘Books of the Year’
‘Beautiful, strange and original … an extraordinarily intimate portrait’ New Statesman
‘Hugely enjoyable … Hughes-Hallett has a great talent for encapsulating an era or an attitude …That almost 700 pages flew by bears testimony to how pleasurable and readable those pages were’ Sunday Times
‘A splendid subject for a biography … Hughes-Hallett dances her way through this extraordinary life in a style that is playful, punchy and generally pleasing … In death, as in life, the amazing story of D’Annunzio is painted in primary colours, but with the darkest shadows’ Observer
‘A riveting biography … It must have been so tempting to be judgmental, but Hughes-Hallett allows us to judge for ourselves’ Antonia Fraser, Daily Mail, ‘Books of the Year’
‘Not only an inspired telling of a life that becomes more repellent with each page, it illuminates early 20th-century Europe in brilliant, unexpected ways’ Observer
‘Electrifying … a fascinating portrait … Hughes-Hallett relates his journey from romantic idealist to Right-wing warmonger with flair and insight’ Daily Express
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As an aside to the Football Community, it's quite an oddity when D'Annunzio takes over Fiume and you learn that he referred to his troops as the Legion of Fiume. If Erin Andrews doesn't like interviewing members of the Legion of Boom, I can't imagine how much she'd dislike interviewing members of the Legion of Fiume.
Perhaps the pinnacle of D'Annunzio's strangeness occurred when this artistic, lewd, callous, war-mongering man was trying to refashion the government he headed for a year or so in Fiume. The constitution he crafted was quite a lulu. As Hughes-Hallett puts it, he outlined a position "so veiled by mumbo-jumbo that it can only be described in the constitution's original words." Hughes-Hallett then quotes from D'Annunzio's constitution, showing the madness that came over him when he contemplated himself or government. He wanted a special position in government...
"It is reserved for the mysterious forces of the people. It is a figure of offering to the unknown genius, to the appearance of the new man, to the ideal transfiguration of the works and of the days, to the fulfilled liberation of the spirit."
That loon was a major figure in European politics less than 100 years ago. Turn that over in your brain.
Lucy Hughes-Hallett does a wonderful job of bringing this extraordinary character back to life.
The rich and heady concoction that was d'Annunzio's daily existence makes for a brilliant but sometimes overwhelming read, in parts like the script of a Fellini film, and in others like the more lurid passages from Gibbon's Decline & Fall of The Roman Empire.
Highly recommended to anyone interested in the man or the period.
In selecting the material, combining it with other sources, and providing a portrait of the man--in some ways an appalling man, but a great poet nevertheless--the author has done a superb job. My only complaint is that, since the book was witten for non-Italians, it has very few direct quotes from d'Annunzio's work. As a result the reader is left a bit puzzled as to just what in that work moved the tens, indeed hundreds, of thousands who paid him homage.
A shame, but it could not be helped.
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