Frederick Rolfe (1860-1913), also known as Baron Corvo, was born of a respectable Dissenting family in Cheapside. He converted to Catholicism when he was twenty-six and attempted to enter the priesthood. After he was ejected from the seminary, on the grounds of his extremely 'difficult' temperament and eccentricities, he pledged himself to two decades of celibacy and proceeded to write several semi-autobiographical novels. His relations with his publishers and friends, on whose beneficence he relied, were frequently fractious, and he died poor at his preferred restaurant in Venice.
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