Friday, March 27, 2009

F. Marion Crawford

Every once in a while we discover a new author who fast becomes one of our favourites. Recently, I discovered such an author. Like any new discovery, I’m suddenly very excited about it.

I’m always searching for all things Italian to blog about and always on the prowl for novels set in Italy. Through the magic of e-books and my new found passion for reading e-books on my smartphone, I have been able to search for books, published long ago, that are free. This is how I stumbled upon the books of F. Marion Crawford, aka Francis Marion Crawford.

Crawford was born at Bagni di Lucca, Italy, on the 2nd of August 1854. He was the son of American sculptor Thomas Crawford, and the nephew of the poet, Julia Ward Howe.

He attended university in Cambridge, Heidelberg, and Rome. In 1879 he travelled to India to study Sanskrit and became an editor. He returned to the United States to study Sanskrit at Harvard University.

In 1882 he wrote his first novel, Mr. Isaacs, about Anglo-Indian life touched with a bit of Oriental mystery. This book saw great success. In 1883 he wrote Dr. Claudius then returned to Italy where he made it his permanent home. Each year thereafter, he published another novel – each one successful, several of them being in the genre of historical fiction.

Here is a picture of Crawford at his home in Sorrenta in front of a small fountain in his back yard. The caption reads: In the garden of his house in Sorrento, Italy, where he writes in the summer. The tablet over the fountain to which Mr. Crawford points, bears a verse in Greek, beautiful in form and sentiment, which the novelist's wife composed, and had cut in the tablet as a birthday thought for her husband.

He is considered a most talented narrator, and his books of fiction, full of historic vigour and memorable characters became hugely popular. He could spin a story in a dramatic way and set his plots against charming backdrops.
He died at Sorrento on the 9th of April 1909.

Following are a list of his books. I’ve already been able to find several of them in e-book format and am very excited about reading them.

Mr. Isaacs (1882, novel)
Dr. Claudius (1883, novel)
A Roman Singer (1884, novel)
An American Politician (1884, novel)
To Leeward (1884, novel)
Zoroaster (1885, novel)
A Tale of a Lonely Parish (1886, novel)
Marzio's Crucifix (1887, novel)
Saracinesca (1887, novel)
Paul Patoff (1887, novel)
With the Immortals (1888, novel)
Greifenstein (1889, novel)
Sant Ilario (1889, novel)
A Cigarette-makers Romance (1890, novel)
Khaled (1891, novel)
The Witch of Prague (1891, novel)
The Three Fates (1892, novel)
The Children of the King (1892, novel)
Don Orsino (1892, novel)
Marion Darche (1893, novel)
Pietro Ghisleri (1893, novel)
Katharine Lauderdale (1894, novel)
Love in Idleness (1894, novel)
The Ralstons (1894, novel)
Casa Braccio (1895, novel)
Adam Johnstons Son (1895, novel)
Taquisara (1896, novel)
A Rose of Yesterday (1897, novel)
Corleone (1897, novel)
Ave Roma Immortalis (1898, history)
Via Crucis (1899, novel)
In the Palace of the King (1900, novel)
Rulers of the South (1900, history)
Marietta (1901, novel)
Cecilia (1902, novel)
Whosoever Shall Offend (1904, novel)
Soprano (1905, novel)
Gleanings from Venetian History (1905, history)
A Lady of Rome (1906, novel)
The White Sister (1909, novel)

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