The Spirit of the Chorus in D'Annunzio's La città morta


The Spirit of the Chorus in D’Annunzio’s La città morta argues that the play’s most important character, Anna, maintains a dramaturgical function akin to a Greek tragic chorus. It examines the play in light of D’Annuzio’s idea of the chorus’ role to Attic tragedy. What influences his thinking of the choral role in ancient tragedy is his reading of Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy, whose influence to the play is examined in detail. Besides analysis of the play’s structure, the article takes into account the various early performances of the role of Anna, since it was the actress who bore as great a responsibility in communicating the choral spirit of the play as the text itself. This is looked at in connection with D’Annunzio’s relationship to Eleonora Duse, who inspired the character, and in light of D’Annunzio’s comments concerning the actress’ dramaturgical role as stated in Il fuoco, the autobiographical novel D’Annunzio wrote at the same time as La città morta in which D’Annunzio’s goals for his play are explicitly enunciated.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.