Francis Marion Crawford

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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.

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. Most of his life, Crawford lived in Italy. He traveled extensively, and spoke several languages proficiently.

Mr. Isaacs

In December 1882 Crawford produced his first novel, Mr. Isaacs, which had an immediate success. This was a brilliant sketch of the Anglo-Indian life mingled with a touch of Oriental mystery. In it, the Masters of Wisdom, Mme. Blavatsky, Col. Olcott, and Mr. Sinnett are mentioned.

Samuel Ward, an American poet and philosopher, sent Col. Olcott (then living in India) a copy of it. In a letter received by Mr. Sinnett in January 1883 Master K.H. wrote "the book is the Western echo of the Anglo-Indian Occult World", and asked him to read and review it.[1] In the February issue of The Theosophist appeared a long review without signature.

Literary career

Crawford followed up on the success of his first novel with at least 47 other novels, several plays, and some volumes of nonfiction. Most of the books fall into the horror, fantasy, and historical genres. He has been compared to the later novelist Talbot Mundy:

Both were world travelers; both were prolific in their output of novels; both enjoyed an international reading audience, some of Mundy's novels being translated into French and German, and his equally popular short stories into Swedish Hindustani, and Japanese. Neither has yet been considered an author of the first rank, and time must tell whether Mundy's position will reach even that of Crawford's Yet both served to focus the novel-reading eyes of the West upon the occult claims of the East.[2]

List of novels

  • Mr. Isaacs. 1882.
  • Casa Braccio. 1894.

Additional resources


  1. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 102 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 350.
  2. Emmett A. Greenwalt, California Utopia: Point Loma: 1897-1942 2nd revised edition (San Diego, CA: Point Loma Publications, 1978), 115.