Galbo J, 1996, "Sex, geography, and death: metropolis and empire in a Fascist writer" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 14(1) 35 – 58
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Sex, geography, and death: metropolis and empire in a Fascist writer
Received 8 August 1994; in revised form 19 September 1995
Abstract. This paper is an historical and cultural analysis of the work of a Fascist writer, Gabriele D'Annunzio, and of how Italian concerns with empire are expressed in his geographical tropes. D'Annunzio was one of the leading intellectual practitioners of what Walter Benjamin called the aestheticisation of politics. His texts are distinctly tied to a national discourse which is both consciously and unconsciously imperial, and in his narratives the political map of the nation is overlaid with a tissue of imperial and sexual symbols. I examine how the geographic signs of empire are inscribed in his first novel Il Piacere and his screenplay Cabiria, and how the metropolitan experience is foregrounded whereas the peripheral 'other' is both devalued and made exotic. I also examine how D'Annunzio aestheticised the warrior ethic, whereby death itself is rendered an aesthetic experience.
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