Rinascimento ritrovato. The renaissance revival and the universal man in Gabriele d’Annunzio and his time, 1863-1938

Start - End 
2018 - 2022 (ongoing)
Type 
Department(s) 
Department of Literary Studies
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Research Region 
Research Language 

Tabgroup

Abstract

If we ask you what we inherited from the Italian Renaissance, your thoughts will possibly run to the 
artworks that fascinate scholars and students all around the world. But, along with material 
masterpieces, the Renaissance has left us an immaterial legacy, a concept, still dear to our hearts,
that has shaped Western culture down the last two centuries: the ‘Universal Man’ [UM]. The UM, as 
Leon Battista Alberti put it, is ‘a woman/man that can do all things, if she/he will’. The UM is an 
individual eager to learn and willing to dominate the universe thanks to her/his skills and 
knowledge. Although firmly rooted in the Humanistic idea that we are limitless in our capacities for 
development, the UM is incredibly close to Western ideals of success and progress, for we have 
drawn inspiration from the UM when this concept has been re-introduced in our culture at the 
dawn of the 20th century. Indeed, the Renaissance has influenced us not only because the seeds of 
the modern world were sown there, but also because the UM has been re-vitalised (by scholars and 
philosophers) and afterwards spread to the collective imaginary by storytellers. One of the most 
influential storytellers who chose the UM as a protagonist of his works was Gabriele d’Annunzio
(1863-1938). This project focuses on the reception and interpretation of the Italian Renaissance in 
d’Annunzio and aims at providing the first comprehensive study of the revival of the UM in 
d’Annunzio’s prose works.

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