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F. MARION CRAWFORD A TALE OF A LONELY PARISH
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Francis Marion Crawford (August 2, 1854 – April 9, 1909) was an American writer noted for his many novels, especially those set in Italy, and for his classic weird and fantastic stories. Contents [hide] 1 Life 2 Legacy 3 Bibliography 3.1 Novels 3.2 Nonfiction 3.3 Drama 4 See also 5 Notes 6 References 7 Further Reading 8 External links Life He was born at Bagni di Lucca, Italy, the only son of the American sculptor Thomas Crawford and Louisa Cutler Ward, the brother of writer Mary Crawford Fraser (aka Mrs. Hugh Fraser), and the nephew of Julia Ward Howe, the American poet. He studied successively at St Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire; Cambridge University; University of Heidelberg; and the University of Rome. In 1879 he went to India, where he studied Sanskrit and edited in Allahabad The Indian Herald. Returning to America in February 1881, he continued to study Sanskrit at Harvard University for a year and for two years contributed to various periodicals, mainly The Critic. Early in 1882 he established his lifelong close friendship with Isabella Stewart Gardner. During this period he lived most of the time in Boston at his Aunt Julia Ward Howe's house and in the company of his Uncle, Sam Ward. His family was concerned about his employment prospects. They suggested that he become a professional singer; he had a baritone voice and had entertained friends with recitals of songs by Franz Schubert. In January 1882, his family asked George Henschel, who was then conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, to assess whether Crawford was capable of a professional singing career. Henschel told Crawford and his family that he would "never be able to sing in perfect tune. Crawford was distraught by the news; after a long silence, his uncle Sam then asked him, "Why don't you write down that little story you told me some time ago of that strange experience you had in India — don't you know?" In December 1882 he produced his first novel, Mr Isaacs, a sketch of modern Anglo-Indian life mingled with a touch of Oriental mystery. This book had an immediate success, and its author's promise was confirmed by the publication of Dr Claudius (1883). In May 1883 he returned to Italy, where he made his permanent home. His residence at the historic Hotel Cocumella in Sorrento during 1885 moved him to settle permanently in Sant' Agnello, where in the Fall he bought the Villa Renzi that became Villa Crawford. Over one half of his novels are set in Italy. He wrote three long historical studies of Italy and was well advanced with a history of Rome in the Middle Ages when he died. This accounts perhaps for the fact that, despite his nationality, Marion Crawford's books stand apart from any distinctively American current in literature. In October 1884 he married Elizabeth Berdan, the daughter of the American Civil War Union Gen. Hiram Berdan. They had two sons and two daughters. Francis Marion Crawford Year by year Crawford published a number of successf [mehr]