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Born plain old Mary Mackay, she began her career as a musician, adopting the name Marie Corelli as her stage name. She gave up music, turning to writing instead and in 1886 published her first novel, A Romance of Two Worlds.
In her time, she was the most widely-read author of fiction (some of her books went into 50 or more editions) but professional critics hated her for her melodramatic and emotional writing. A critic in The Spectator called her "a woman of deplorable talent who imagined that she was a genius, and was accepted as a genius by a public to whose commonplace sentimentalities and prejudices she gave a glamorous setting”. Despite this, she was popular with the British Royal Family, and by Winston and Randolph Churchill, amongst others and the American writer Mark Twain took the trouble to visit her in Stratford-upon-Avon on a British visit.
Corelli wasn’t nice to know. She fought with everyone and vented her spite on just about everyone who tried to be nice to her. Her vendettas were usually public.
Considered nowadays, Corelli’s books were New Age, an attempt to reconcile Christianity with reincarnation, astral projection and other mystical topics.
She spent her final years in Stratford-upon-Avon where she fought hard for the preservation of its 17th century buildings, and donated money to help their owners remove the plaster or brickwork that often covered their original timber framed facades.Corelli’s eccentricity became legendary and she caused much amusement by boating on the Avon in a gondola, complete with gondolier, that she had brought over from Venice.
This is a very fine signature and date (1906) in black ink on a 4.5" x 2.5" slip of paper. In very good condition.