Marie Corelli

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Marie Corelli
Marie Corelli (1855–1924) was a British novelist. She enjoyed a period of great literary success from the publication of her first novel in 1886 until World War I. Corelli's novels sold more copies than the combined sales of popular contemporaries, including Arthur Conan Doyle, H G Wells, and Rudyard Kipling, although critics often derided her work as "the favourite of the common multitude."[1]

She was born in London[2] or Perth[3] as "Mary Mackay". She began her career as a musician, adopting the name "Marie Corelli", but then turned to writing fiction.

For over 40 years, Corelli lived in Stratford-upon-Avon with her companion, Bertha Vyver;[4] when she died she left everything to her friend. Although she didn't self-identify as a lesbian, biographers and critics have noted the erotic descriptions of female beauty that appear regularly in Corelli's novels.[5][6][7] Descriptions of the deep love between the two women by their contemporaries have added to the speculation that their relationship may have been romantic. Following Corelli's death, Sidney Walton reminisced in the Yorkshire Evening News:

"One of the great friendships of modern times knit together the hearts and minds of Miss Marie Corelli and Miss Bertha Vyver... Her own heart was the hearth of her comrade, and thought and love of 'Marie' thrilled through Miss Vyver's veins... In loneliness of soul, Miss Vyver mourns the loss of one who was nearer and tenderer to her than a sister... Over the fireplace in the fine, old spacious lounge at Mason Croft the initials M C and B V were carven into one symbol. And it was the symbol of life."[8]


Based on a Wikipedia article.

  1. Kirsten McLeod. Introduction. Wormwood: a drama of Paris by Marie Corelli, p. 9
  2. according to Wikipedia article, no source given
  3. Who's Who in Lesbian and Gay Writing, edited by Gabriele Griffin, page 57.
  4. Annette Frederico, Who was Marie Corelli? Idol of Suburbia, pp162–186
  5. Rita Felski, The Gender of Modernity. pp130–131
  6. Annette Frederico, Idol of suburbia, p116
  7. Brian Masters, Now Barabbas was a Rotter, p277
  8. Annette Frederico, Idol of suburbia, p175