Sunday, January 13, 2008

Rebecca West on d'Annunzio and Male Privilege

You don't have to know what Italian writer Gabriele d'Annunzio did in Fiume after World War I to enjoy Rebecca West's scorn for him, but if you do, you'll share her disgust (and she has a point, besides):

I will believe that the battle of feminism is over, and that the female has reached a position of equality with the male, when I hear that a country has allowed itself to be turned upside-down and led to the brink of war by its passion for a totally bald woman writer. Years ago, in Florence, I had marvelled over the singular example of male privilege afforded by d'Annunzio. Leaning from a balcony in the Lung' arno I had looked down on a triumphal procession. Bells rang, flags were waved; flowers were thrown, voices swelled in ecstasy; and far below an egg reflected the rays of the May sunshine. Here in Fiume the bald author had been allowed to ruin a city: a bald-headed authoress would never be allowed to build one.
--from p. 124 of Black Lamb and Grey Falcon.

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