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Francis Marion Crawford

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

So competent a critic as Andrew Lang has pronounced Francis Marion Crawford the "most versatile and various" of modern novelists. His novels cover an immensely wide range and introduce to the reader a great variety of character as well as environment. He has great adaptability and suppleness of mind and is equally facile and free of touch in dealing with life in modern Rome or New York, in India or rural England, at the court of the ancient Persian Darius or in Sicily of the present day. Liberal education and wide travel have furnished a rich variety of knowledge, which his native genius has been prompt to utilize.

Francis Marion Crawford was born in Italy in 1854, his father being the celebrated sculptor, Thomas Craw-ford, whose statue of Liberty surmounts the dome of the Capitol at Washington. When a lad he was sent to St. Paul's school at Concord, New Hampshire, but afterward returned to Italy, and then entered Trinity College, Cam-bridge, England. For some years after graduation he traveled on the Continent, and then going to India joined the staff of a newspaper at Allahabad. The result of his Indian experiences was shown in his first novel, "Mr. Isaacs," in which an educated Mohammedan merchant pays court to a typical English girl. Crawford has since been an exceedingly prolific writer, and his stores of accumulated knowledge have stood him in good stead, being illumined by a vivid and picturesque imagination. His thorough knowledge of the upper classes of Italian society has enabled him to present it in a satisfactory way to English readers. He has perhaps reached his highest mark in his trilogy of novels of Roman life, "Saracinesca," "Sant' Ilario," and "Don Orsino." Among his other novels may be mentioned "A Roman Singer," "A Tale of a Lonely Parish," "Marzio's Crucifix," "Greifenstein," "The Three Fates," "Casa Bracchio," and "A Rose of Yesterday." To these he has added a remarkably brilliant description of Rome in various ages, under the title, "Ave Roma Immortalis."

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