Eric Mackay

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George Eric Mackay (1851-1898[1]) was an English minor poet, now remembered as the sponging half-brother of Marie Corelli, the best-selling novelist. Mackay and Corelli, born Mary Mackay, were the children of Charles Mackay,[2] by different mothers (Mary was illegitimate, with Charles marrying her mother subsequently[3]).

As a poet he is described as "execrable",[4] and reliant on Corelli's promotion of his works. Mackay achieved some reputation in his time for Letters of a Violinist (1886). It sold 35,000 copies; he repaid Corelli's efforts by implying he wrote her novels.[5]

A 1940 biography of Corelli, George Bullock's Marie Corelli: The Life and Death of a Best-Seller, hinted that the relationship was incestuous; this has generally been discounted, though Eric's laziness and lack of scruples are acknowledged.[4] This was an old rumour, attributed to Edmund Gosse.[6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ New York Times obituary, 1898
  2. ^ Charles Mackay - LoveToKnow 1911
  3. ^ Marie Corelli Collection | Special Collections | Bryn Mawr College Library
  4. ^ a b PDF, p. 23
  5. ^ Philip J. Waller, Writers, Readers, And Reputations: Literary Life in Britain 1870-1918 (2006), p. 467.
  6. ^ Marie Corelli and her Occult Tales