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Old Calabria - "It takes a wise man to handle a lie a fool had better remain honest" - cover

Old Calabria - "It takes a wise man to handle a lie a fool had better remain honest"

Norman Douglas

Publisher: Wanderlust

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Summary

Norman Douglas was born in Thüringen, Austria on 8th December 1868. 
He spent the first years of his life on the family estate, Villa Falkenhorst, in Thüringen. The following years were spent in Scotland at Tilquhillie, Deeside, his paternal home. Douglas was then educated at Yarlet Hall and Uppingham School in England, before a grammar school in Karlsruhe. 
Douglas started in the diplomatic service in 1894 and, until 1896, he was stationed in Russia at St. Petersburg, but was placed on leave following a sexual scandal. 
In 1897 whilst travelling in Italy with his brother he bought the villa Maya in Posillipo, a maritime suburb of Naples. In doing so he abandoned his pregnant Russian mistress and his career as a diplomat. 
The following year he married a cousin, Elizabeth Louisa Theobaldina FitzGibbon, with whom he would have two children. 
In 1901, using his pseudonym ‘Normyx’, and in collaboration with Elizabeth, his first book, Unprofessional Tales, was published. However, his marriage was now failing, and they divorced in 1903 on the grounds of Elizabeth's infidelity. 
He now moved to Capri to spend time at the Villa Daphne as well as also alternating with time in London.  His general purpose now was to become a more committed and dedicated writer. 
A long career lay ahead of him but it was one filled with bohemian excess, writing of tremendous quality and also scandal after scandal. 
By the time of his death in Capri on 7th February 1952, apparently deliberately overdosing himself on drugs after a long illness. His last action was to hurl expletives at a group of nuns.

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