"Here We'll Stay Wonderfully"
March 5, 2013 6:55 AM   Subscribe

The Poet-King Of Fiume
There is no decent way of containing the excesses of Gabriele d'Annunzio's lives. It would astonish his contemporaries to discover that he is now only faintly remembered outside Italy. Even within Italy, though firmly entrenched in the literary canon, he is most commonly recalled with a sort of collective cringe. For once upon a time, in the fervid fin de siècle - for reasons variously literary, political, military and, not least, sexual - he was one of the towering figures of European culture. Think Wilde crossed with Casanova and Savonarola; Byron meets Barnum meets Mussolini - and you would have some of the flavours, but still not quite the essence, of this extraordinary, unstoppable and in many ways quite ridiculous figure
. The Pike - A Review

In Fiume D’Annunzio achieved what Marinetti merely hypothesized: artists in power.
On 11 September 1919, the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio left Ronchi at the head of a handful of firebrands with the intention of occupying Fiume and annexing it to the Kingdom of Italy. D’Annunzio’s surprise operation was of great media effect, and for 16 months in the occupied city a spectacular “revolution party” was staged.
The Economy
The economy of the “city of life” was also particular: the government of Fiume did not get its revenues from taxes and duties, but from the loot of the Uscocchi and donations from generous supporters, both anonymous and illustrious. Commemorating the feats of the Uscocchi, 16th century pirates of the Balkans, D’Annunzio used the same name for his legionnaires, who were ready for anything and specialized in surprise attacks by sea and land.
The Charter Of Carnaro
Previously: Nine Ways Of Looking At D'Annunzuio
posted by the man of twists and turns (6 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
As another great Italian said, you campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose. Obviously D'Annunzio didn't get that memo.
posted by Cash4Lead at 7:14 AM on March 5, 2013

The Charter is interesting to read. For instance what other constitution makes "the mysterious forces of progress and adventure" part of its governance structure?
posted by Cash4Lead at 7:17 AM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]

Glad to see the proto-fascism hasn't been ignored, it's sometimes glossed over in accounts of Fiume.
posted by spectrevsrector at 7:30 AM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I myself am a Communist, though I often ponder Fascism (Fascism in its ideal form not the form it ended up being)... D'Annunzio, the futurists and that whole thing is definitely a fascinating thing when you look at the movement behind it.

I first heard of Fiume from Hakim Bey... And Futurism, of course, from interest in experimental music and art...

There's an interesting group over at reddit called DebateFascism, which is sort of like DebateCommunism.
posted by symbioid at 7:58 AM on March 5, 2013

The Charter is interesting to read. For instance what other constitution makes "the mysterious forces of progress and adventure" part of its governance structure?

I suppose all governments should, but in practice it just leads to drones and DARPA. The charter does not stir the blood like my beloved Futurist Manifesto, but it has its moments:

L. For any race of noble origin, culture is the best of all weapons.
For the Adriatic race, harassed for centuries by a ceaseless struggle with an unlettered usurper, culture is more than a weapon; like faith and justice, it is an unconquerable force.
For the people of Fiume at the moment of her rebirth to liberty, it becomes the instrument more helpful than any other against the insidious plots that have encircled her for centuries.
Culture is the preservative against corruption; the buttress against ruin.
In Dante’s Carnaro the culture of the language of Dante is the custodian of that which has ever been reckoned as the most precious treasure of the people, the highest testimony to the nobility of their origin, the chief sign of their moral right of rule. That moral right is what the new State must fight for. On its will to victory is founded the exaltation of the human ideal.
The new State, with unity completed, liberty achieved, justice enthroned, must make it her first duty to defend, preserve, and fight for unity, liberty, justice in the spirit of man. The culture of Rome must be here in our midst and the culture of Italy.

posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:35 PM on March 5, 2013

Another review: The Allure Of D'Annunzio
It was words, more than anything else, that lay at the heart of D’Annunzio’s often mesmerizing appeal to contemporaries – words not so much as vehicles for thought but as instruments for arousing strong emotion and enveloping reality (and often the darker aspects of reality) in cocoons of voluptuous sound.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:52 AM on March 7, 2013

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