Craigie, Pearl Mary Teresa (1867–1906)

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Craigie, Pearl Mary Teresa (1867–1906)

Anglo-American novelist and dramatist. Name variations: (pseudonym) John Oliver Hobbes. Born Pearl Richards in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 3, 1867; died in London, England, on August 13, 1906; eldest child of John Morgan (a New York merchant) and Laura Hortense (Arnold) Richards; educated by private tutors and at schools in Paris and London; attended University College, London; married Reginald Walpole Craigie, in February 1887 (divorced, July 1895); children: one son.

Selected writings:

Some Emotions and a Moral (1891); The Sinner's Comedy (1892); A Study in Temptations (1893); The Gods, Some Morals and Lord Wickenham (1894); A Bundle of Life (1894); The Herb-Moon, A Fantasia (1896); The School for Saints (1897); The Ambassador (1898); Robert Orange (1899); A Repentance (1899); The Wisdom of the Wise (1900); The Serious Wooing, a Heart's History (1901); Tales About Temperaments (1902); The Bishop's Move (1902); The Vineyard (1903); Love and the Soul Hunters (1903); Imperial India, Letters from the East (1903); Letters from a Silent Study (1904); The Science of Life (1904); The Artist's Life (1904); The Flutes of Pan, A Romance (1905); The Dream and the Business (1906); Tales (1909).

Pearl Mary Teresa Craigie, who wrote under the pseudonym John Oliver Hobbes, enjoyed a 15-year literary career that was cut short by her death at age 38. Born in Boston, she moved to London as a child and remained there for most of her life. Although she began writing at the age of nine, she did not seriously pursue her career until the end of an unhappy marriage. Craigie left her husband Reginald Craigie in 1890 and, in 1895, was granted a divorce and custody of her son. With her first novel, Some Emotions and a Moral (1891), she established a formula from which she seldom digressed. Utilizing the theme of self-knowledge through love, she created stock characters and portrayed them over and over again. Critics, for the most part, admired her wit and musical style more than her plots or characters. "She could paint a scene concisely, analyze character pungently, and deal neatly with the ironies of life," commented a reviewer for The Athenaeum. "Her limitation was that she hardly ever dealt with anything else." Her dramas, like her novels, met with varying degrees of success. The Ambassador (1898), ran for a full season, mainly due to the wit of the dialogue. Her later efforts, with the exception of The Bishop's Move (1902), were not nearly as successful. She also wrote many miscellaneous essays and sketches.

A handsome woman with a great deal of charm, Craigie was active in London society and had a large circle of friends in literary and musical circles. She also had a mystical side and would often withdraw to a convent for religious meditation. (After suffering through her public divorce trial, Craigie joined the Roman Catholic Church and acquired the names "Mary" and "Teresa.") She was also active in philanthropic activities and served as president of the Society of Women Journalists in 1895–96. Although Craigie never enjoyed robust health, her death from heart failure in 1906, was unexpected.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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Craigie, Pearl Mary Teresa (1867–1906)

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