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The Book of the Virgins
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The Book of the Virgins

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  50 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
The Book of the Virgins, published here in its first English translation, is one of Gabriele D’Annunzio’s very first collections. Remarkable for its descriptive powers, it is a compelling account of self-knowledge and coming-of-age. Recovering from a near-fatal illness, a young woman resolves to experience for herself all that life has to offer. Spurning her old saintly wa ...more
Paperback, 120 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Hesperus Press (first published 1884)
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It's funny how the same trait could seem quaint and amusing in say Goethe, and how, when taken to its extreme, it appears supercilious and self-indulgent in late-romantics like D'Annunzio: the four short-stories which are assembled in this volume were written early on and are set not in the Roman high-society but in the author's native Abruzzi, roughly at the level of Rome but on the Adriatic side of the peninsula. Those circumstances explain a few surprising traits in those stories, such as a v ...more
Dec 10, 2012 rated it liked it
slightly wary about reading this - long interested in d'Annunzio for historical reasons (the incident at Fiume, the link between Decadence and Futurism, various great anecdotes) but this the first prose work of his I've read in English. this book contains one longer and three shorter pieces, all of them exciting and disappointing in much the same measure. exciting in A.'s thorough-going sensual materialism, his Sadean black humour and robust anti-Christianity. disappointing in his old-fashioned ...more
Oct 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
I became aware of this book years ago when I was the Special Order Clerk at Borders in like 2006. Someone ordered it and I looked it over. It seemed like it might be interesting, so I said someday I would read it. It was really good. It sort of reminded me of a Italian version of Kate Chopin's "Awakening." It is very lyrical and subtly erotic dealing with four short tales of the innocence of pure love and the corruption of the world that slowly withers it through societal pejudices and cruel cir ...more
Sep 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those drawn to it.
Shelves: must-read
Sometimes I am drawn to a book. I discovered this jewel while browsing in the local bookstore. I am not sure what made me stop, but I am glad I did.
The Virgins is disturbing at times, beautiful and challenging. Sexual awakening, rape, curiosity.....I think I learn something new about myself each time I read it.
Carolina Morales
Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Grabriele D'Annuzio is the name of the bus stop nearest my home so, as I see it printed almost every day, I decided to give a try to this author. Very, very well elaborated; I recoomend it to all those who ever dared to think 'A Hundred Brush Strikes Before Going to Bed' is the ultimate sexual narrative of an Italian girl.
Billy Shears
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Presenta in nuce tutti i temi della successiva produzione dannunziana: attenzione alle tradizioni abruzzesi, viste con l'occhio quasi scientifico del naturalismo (Le vergini), estenuanti vicende di morte e consunzione (Favola sentimentale), brillante commedia erotica (In assenza di Lanciotto), prosa autobiografica frammentaria (Ad altare Dei). Un libro minore, ma da non sottovalutare.
Jason Mashak
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Poetic, yes. Sophisticated writing, yes. Good storyteller, unfortunately no.
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Italian poet, novelist and dramatist, military hero, and supporter of fascist political ideas.

D'Annunzio combined in his work naturalism, symbolism, and erotic images, becoming the best interpreter of European Decadence in post-Risorgimento Italy.

His love affairs, relationship with the world-famous actress Eleanora Duse, heroic adventures during World War I, and his occupation of Fiume in 1919 m
More about Gabriele D'Annunzio...
“It was the beginning of June; summer was arising out of spring, like an aloe from a field of grass.” 0 likes
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