Sabatini, Rafael, 1875-1950

Alternative names
Birth 1875-04-29
Death 1950-02-13

Biographical notes:

Italian/British novelist.

From the description of The Sea-Hawk : typescript : [England?], [ca. 1914]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270635282

Rafael Sabatini was born in Jesi, Italy, on April 29, 1875, to opera singers Vincenzo and Anna Sabatini. Educated in Switzerland and Portugal, Sabatini was fluent in several languages; however, his mother, herself English, saw to it that English was his most natural tongue. After spending most of his young life traveling Europe, Sabatini settled in England around the turn of the century and began his career as a writer, publishing his first novel, The Lovers of Yvonne, in 1902. In 1918, he became a British citizen and served in the War Office Intelligence Department during World War I. In 1902, he married his first wife, Ruth Goad Dixon; their son Rafael died in a motorcycle accident in 1927. Following his divorce in 1932, Sabatini married Christine Dixon (no relation to his previous wife) and remained with her until his death in 1950 while on holiday in Adelboden, Switzerland.

A prominent historical novelist and dramatist, Sabatini possessed a style of accuracy and adventure that enthralled readers and audiences. His second novel, Bardelys the Magnificent (1906), solidified him as a public favorite. Among his most successful novels were Scaramouche (1921), an epic set in the French Revolution filled with duels, disguises, and death; and Captain Blood (1922), the story of a chivalrous West Indian buccaneer. Both of these characters returned in later novels to much success. Sabatini adapted several of his novels for the stage, including Bardelys the Magnificent and Scaramouche . A number of his most popular books made it onto the silver screen, including The Scourge (1922) based on his novel Fortune’s Fool (1923), with the same conspicuous success as his writings.

The works of Sabatini have endured for over a century, with posthumous volumes of his works being published to continued acclaim, including Heroic Lives (1971), a compilation of his historic biographies, and The Fortunes of Casanova (1994), a collection of his short stories.

From the guide to the Rafael Sabatini Papers, 1909-1950, (The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center)


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