Friday, April 19, 2013

Marie Corelli

One thing to love about the web is the way one thing leads to another, to unexpectedly interesting things you had no intention of looking for (because you didn't know they existed) but which turn out to be at least as interesting as the place you started.

Thus it was that yesterday I was hunting for information on Olivia Howard Dunbar, a Victorian/Edwardian literary critic and writer of ghost stories, when I stumbled over another author of weird fiction, Marie Corelli, of whom I was totally ignorant. Extensive information on both was found (thank you Google) at Violet Books, which is a
domain for fans & collectors of literary ghost stories, Victorian science fiction, Yellow Nineties Decadence, H. Rider Haggard & haggardesque "Lost Race" novels, Marie Corelli & other occult romancers, Rafael Sabatini & Jeffery Farnol & all vintage swashbuckling historical romances, westerns, Yukon adventures, jungle tales, Sax Rohmer & all weird thrillers, classic detectives, vintage children's & young adult fantasies & series books, & all such things old, fictional, adventurous, & weird
-- in short, a brilliant resource for anyone interested in such books.

Anyway, Marie Corelli was, it transpires, in her day the most popular author in Britain, outselling the likes of Rider Haggard, Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells. How extraordinary then that her work seems to have been almost totally forgotten.

From what I have read, her work has a somewhat religious focus -- Wikipedia says

A recurring theme in Corelli's books is her attempt to reconcile Christianity with reincarnation, astral projection, and other mystical ideas.

But the description of her works places her in a wholly original category: The Master Christian concerns Jesus as a time-travelling street-urchin in London; The Sorrows of Satan has Satan as a misunderstood adventurer in the modern world; the hero of Ardath "travels back in time 7,000 years to a sweepingly fantastic world".

I can't wait to add these to my ebooks collection and start reading!