Crawford, F. Marion

F. Marion Crawford
2 August 1854 - 9 April 1909

Born and raised mostly in Italy, where he spent most of his adult life, Crawford was the son of the American sculptor Thomas Crawford (quite popular in the mid C19). With a cosmopolitan education (in Italy, America, England, and Germany) and extensively traveled (including a stint in India as a newspaper editor), Crawford was the living embodiment, for many, of the late C19 genteel tradition. Extremely popular as a novelist at the turn of the 20th century, Crawford is now little read; it is somewhat ironic that he may now be best known for a few ghost stories, pieces which Crawford wrote largely to help keep his name before the public and/or to make some quick and easy cash. These tales are a miniscule and fairly unrepresentative part of his total literary output, although several of them are solid ghost stories, particularly if you like the sort of "in your face" supernaturalism which Crawford favored.

Sites:
Brief biographical note
Crawford was indeed a Catholic, although this fact really doesn't figure into much of his fiction (the ghostly stuff, at least) in any particularly noticeable way, although some of his non-fiction is on Catholic subjects. [Catholic Encyclopedia]
Biographical note a LitGothic etext
This brief note is the full text of a publisher's blurb included at the end of Crawford's Man Overboard!
Brief biographical note
[Wikipedia]
Brief biographical note
[NNDB]
Brief biographical note a LitGothic etext
[John W. Cousins, A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature, 1910]
Bibliography
Supernaturalist bibliography with book cover images. [Guide to Supernatural Fiction, Tartarus Press]
Bibliography
[FantasticFiction]


Etexts:
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"The Dead Smile"
- at Munsey's / BlackMask
- at Horrormasters (PDF)

"The Doll's Ghost"
- at Munsey's / BlackMask
- at HorrorMasters (PDF)

"By the Waters of Paradise"
- at Munsey's / BlackMask
- as part of Stories by Modern American Authors at Project Gutenberg.

"For the Blood is the Life" [1911]
This is a popular and much-anthologized tale of Crawford's, probably owing to the fact it's a "vampire" tale, but that's a shame; it's hardly Crawford's best work in this vein (pardon the pun). The vampirism in this tale is almost intrusive and has no basis, explanation, or justification, and the story doesn't so much conclude as stumble to a close. It's self-indulgent as well: the protagonist is, apparently, a writer living in an old tower on the Italian coast - much as Crawford (who actually lived in "The Villa Crawford") owned an old tower on the Italian coast to which he would sail for writing and relaxation. "The Upper Berth" and Man Overboard! are much better.
- at LitGothic (38K)
- at Munsey's / BlackMask
- at VampGirl.com

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Man Overboard! [1903] (85K) [ a litgothic etext ]
Another of Crawford's seafaring ghost stories; break out your nautical dictionary for this salt-soaked riff on the hidden identity and demon lover motifs. And in case you're wondering why Crawford set so many of his short stories at sea, it's because he was an expert sailor himself, with a master's certificate in navigation.

"The Screaming Skull" [1911]
Bones will have their revenge. Speaking of revenge, this story seems to borrow a riff from Hamlet for its murder technique. Compare this to another "revenge of the bones" story — Jerome K. Jerome's "The Man of Science."
- at Gaslight (72K)
- at Munsey's / BlackMask

"The Upper Berth" [1894]
Perhaps overly anthologized, but this is classic ghostly Crawford.
- at Gaslight (48K)
- at Munsey's / BlackMask

The Witch of Prague [1891]
- at Munsey's / BlackMask


"F. Marion Crawford."