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William Morris and Gabriele D'Annunzio: Kindred Spirits?
Año del Documento
ES: Revista de filología inglesa, 2006, N.27, pags.189-200
In this essay, my aim is to show how, despite a different national background, William Morris's News from Nowhere (1890) and Gabriele D'Annunzio's The Pleasure (1889) reveal a common semantic denominator exemplified by an aesthetic cult of Pre-Raphaelite taste. Not only does interior design prove to be an inexhaustible source of pleasure for both of them, but this motif of idealized compensation in the form of decoration had a special social and cultural significance. Not surprisingly, the Red House (1859) manifested itself as the unfolding of Morris's character in deeds and statements, while "the little red house" (1915) by The Grand Canal in Venice epitomized D'Annunnzio's power of self-expression. Apart from the nostalgic longing for a lost sense of pleasure governing the nineteenth century, these two monumental works show many signs of internal contact, not to say about the relationship of dialogic sort between the Morrisean "Romantic Medusa" in The Earthly Paradise (1868) and D'Annunzio's femme fatale of Il Poema Paradisiaco (1893), female typologies located in a similar pleasure garden. What is more, Morris's and D'Annunzio's literary imaginations are inseparably tied up with Nietzsche's philosophic formula, a vision of totalizing life, measured primarily by the return to an imaginary beautiful homeland, which sheds light on a complex comparison, allowing a variety of textual representations to be investigated as the outstanding examples of Morris's and D'Annunzio's idealisms.
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