Multimedia Archaeologies: Gabriele D'Annunzio, Belle Epoque Paris, and the Total Artwork (Internationale Forschungen Zur Allgemeinen Und Vergleichende)

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9789042038042: Multimedia Archaeologies: Gabriele D'Annunzio, Belle Epoque Paris, and the Total Artwork (Internationale Forschungen Zur Allgemeinen Und Vergleichende)

Paris, 1910-1915. Artists, intellectuals, and international celebrities crowd the city as never before. Decadent dreams and avant-garde manifestos celebrate the marriage between art and life. Creative experiments and vital joy dance hand in hand-on the edge of the abyss of WWI. Gabriele D'Annunzio is one of the highly influential yet semi-forgotten protagonists of this season and an emblem of its contradictions. A child of the Decadence, but also a forerunner of Modernism, the Italian poet defies the barriers between art forms, languages, and aesthetic practices. Tellingly, some of the period's major figures across the arts are involved in D'Annunzio's projects, including Canudo, Bakst, Brooks, Debussy, Montesquiou, and Rubinstein. In particular, in his sacred drama Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien, the poet combines French, Italian, literature, theater, mime, dance, music, painting, and cinema in a way that fuses old and new. D'Annunzio's hybrid experiments challenge Wagner's 'total artwork' theories, search for a synthesis between pictorial stillness and filmic movement, and anticipate contemporary multimedia experiences. These artistic collaborations end suddenly at the outbreak of the Great War, when Dannunzian total artworks migrate from the stage to the battlefield, generating a controversial legacy that calls for renewed critical investigations.

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"Mirabile's study produces a compelling claim that D'Annunzio's French plays are "total artworks" or Gesamtkunstwerke following the aesthetic ideals of Wagner, and that they "test the distinction between the literary, the musical, and the visual" (25). The book offers a rigorous comparatist framework from which to reexamine D'Annunzio's works from his period in France, a prolific set of writings that have been overshadowed by the salacious elements of his life and political affiliations, which included an awkward alliance with Mussolini. [...] Multimedia Archaeologies invites us to not only consider D'Annunzio's verse-plays as exemplary of an entire current in modernism, but also to weigh the complex legacy of the long nineteenth century and its total artwork, whose shadow continues to cast itself in the field of aesthetics." - Ronjaunee Chatterjee, University of California in Comparative Literature Studies, (2016) Vol. 53.1 pp. 12-14

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