Popular English Novelist
1864 – 1924 A.D.
She is of mingled Italian and Scotch parentage. In infancy she was adopted by Charles Mackay, the song writer and litterateur. Her early ears were spent in England, but her education was received in a convent in France. In music she was especially proficient and received careful training. When scarcely thirteen she began writing an elaborate opera, “Ginevra da Siena.” Two songs, “My Sweet Sweeting” and “Romeo’s Good Night,” belong to this period.
She then made attempts in literary lines by writing sonnets on Shakespearean themes. The titles were, “Romeo and Juliet, “Rosalind and Desdemona.” These were produced while she was still engaged in pursuing her musical education. Mr. Mackay, her adopted father, designed for her musical career.
Her powers were turned into literary channels by a strange psychical experience which led her to write her first book, A Romance of Two Worlds. This met with such success that it was followed by Vendetta in the same year, 1886. Other works are Thelma, 1887; Ardath, 1889; Soul of Lileth, 1892; Barabbas, 1893; The Sorrows of Satan, 1895; Mighty Atom, 1896; The Minds of Delicia, 1896; Ziska, The Problem of a Wicked Soul, 1897; Jane, 1897; The Master Christian, 1899.
“Her sorrowful Satan grows first melodramatic and then absurd. The notion that the adversary of goodness is settled in a London hotel with private cook and private bath becomes a vulgar burlesque of the mystery plays of the Middle Ages. At one time her demonaic [sic] hero is a suffering spirit, at another a Merry Andrew.
“The unthinking portion of the public is ready to accept anybody who is conscious of authority. She is quite serious in the belief that she is a woman of genius and so speaks with an air of authority.
“She takes occasion to abuse other female writers, but she has published many things as offensive morally as anything to be found in the works of any living woman.” So says David Christie Murray.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.