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"Il Divino Pregio Del Dono": Andrea Sperelli's Economy of Pleasures (Critical Essay)

Annali d'Italianistica 1997, Annual, 15

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The blend of primitivism and aestheticism in D'Annunzio's art has received considerable attention. Scarfoglio's and Praz's observations on the coexistence of barbarism and refined culture in the most monumental figure of Italian decadence have been followed, among others, by those of Borgese (D'Annunzio), Marzot (Decadentismo) and Alatri (D'Annunzio). However, these critics tend to emphasize the transition from the barbaric naturalism of Novelle della Pescara to the languid sensuality of the decadent D'Annunzio, [] which was itself soon disavowed by the heroic ideals of his later works under the influence of Nietzsche's philosophy. (1) Even when primitivism and decadence are treated as two sides of the same coin, as in the case of Alatri, the main justification is their common descent from and critique of the Romantic ideal. The residual ethnographic interest of D'Annunzio's Overman in the people is taken as a mere occasion for conveying an aristocratic contempt--almost a physical horror--for "la razza." Thus the superior artist replaces the naturalist, just as the Nation supplants the indigenous crowds of his Abruzzo. By calling attention to surprising parallels between the themes of D'Annunzio's works and the purposes of anthropology in general, and Italian anthropology in particular, I would like to show that D'Annunzio's pursuit of a higher morality through art is, in fact, far from incompatible with the natural history of man that the social sciences of the time were compiling precisely by studying native cultures.

"Il Divino Pregio Del Dono": Andrea Sperelli's Economy of Pleasures (Critical Essay)
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  • Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
  • Published: 01 January 1997
  • Publisher: Annali d'Italianistica, Inc.
  • Print Length: 51 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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