The Italian poet Gabriele d’Annunzio declared himself ruler of the city of the Hapsburg city of Fiume (now Rijeka in Croatia) on Sept. 12, 1919. His “rule” lasted 15 months. “He mandated daily poetry readings, regular concerts and constant fireworks.”
But it was d’Annunzio’s canny ability to transform politics into an aesthetic — even religious — experience that proved most prescient. His narratives of bygone eras of glory, of virility expressed through violence, whipped an alienated and fractious populace into frenzy. His blithe disregard for truth allowed him to create — unfettered — his own reality.
(Tara Isabella Burton, “The Sex-Crazed Poet Strongman Who (Briefly) Built an Empire,” 10-18-19)
(c) 2019 JMN