Gabriele d'Annunzio (1863-1938) was an Italian poet, journalist, novelist, dramatist, and daredevil who went on to have a controversial role in politics as figurehead to the Italian Fascist movement and mentor to Benito Mussolini. He published his first poetry while still at school at the age of sixteen with a small volume of verses called Primo Vere (1879), influenced by Giosue Carducci's Odi Barbare. While at University of Rome La Sapienza, he wrote Canto Novo, Terra Vergine and the greater part of the short stories that were afterwards collected under the general title of San Pantaleone (1886). Canto Novo contains poems full of pulsating youth and the promise of power. His conception of style was new. Both style and contents began to startle his critics; some who had greeted him as an enfant prodige rejected him as a perverter of public morals, whilst others hailed him as one bringing a current of fresh air and the impulse of a new vitality into the somewhat prim, lifeless work hitherto produced. D'Annunzio's first novel Il Piacere (1889, translated into English as The Child of Pleasure) was followed in 1891 by Giovanni Episcopo, and in 1892 by L'Innocente (The Intruder). These three novels made a profound impression.