Sign up to the Newsletter for the latest news from the Baillie Gifford Prize

You are here

The Samuel Johnson Prize 2013

The Samuel Johnson Prize 2013

The Winner

The Pike (Fourth Estate)

The story of Gabriele D’Annunzio: poet, daredevil – and Fascist.

In September 1919 Gabriele D’Annunzio, successful poet and occasional politician, declared himself Commandante of the city of Fiume in modern-day Croatia. His intention – to establish a utopia based on his fascist and artistic ideals. It was the dramatic pinnacle to an outrageous career.

Lucy Hughes-Hallett charts the controversial life of D’Annunzio, the debauched artist who became a national hero. His evolution from idealist Romantic to radical right-wing revolutionary is a political parable. Through his ideological journey, culminating in the failure of the Fiume endeavour, we witness the political turbulence of early 20th-century Europe and the emergence of fascism.

In The Pike, Hughes-Hallett addresses the cult of nationalism and the origins of political extremism – and at the centre of the book stands the charismatic D’Annunzio: a figure as deplorable as he is fascinating.
 

Winning Author

Lucy Hughes-Hallett

Lucy Hughes-Hallett is the author of Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams and Distortions and Heroes: Saviours, Traitors and Supermen. Cleopatra won the Fawcett Prize and the Emily Toth Award. Lucy Hughes-Hallett is a highly respected critic who has reviewed for all the major British newspapers. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.