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Saracinesca
Francis Marion Crawford
Project Gutenberg
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Saracinesca is a novel by F. Marion Crawford, first published as a serial in Blackwood's Magazine and then as a book in New York (Macmillan) and Edinburgh (Blackwood) in 1887. Set chiefly in Rome of twenty years earlier, the novel paints a rich picture of the period, detailing the spiritual and economic problems of the aristocracy at a time when its influence and status were under attack from the emerging forces of modernity. This romance tells the tale of Giovanni Saracinesca and his courting of Corona d'Astradente, complete with intrigue and sword fights (Crawford was an expert fencer). It can be categorized as a work of historical fiction in that it relates a time when the author was only a child, and also in the sense that the particulars of that time and place are carefully delineated. In a sense, Crawford had been researching for this book all his life: his parents had witnessed the brief 1848 revolution, and his cousin, in her memoirs of Crawford, insisted that "[t]here is little doubt that Crawford as a boy had heard first-hand descriptions of [the] exciting events" of the 1860s.