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John Henry Mackay

Born 1864
Greenock, Scotland
Died May 16, 1933
Berlin, Germany
Pen name Sagitta
Occupation writer
Nationality Scottish
Genres non fiction
Subjects political philosophy
Literary movement naturalism
Notable work(s) Die Anarchisten (The Anarchists)
Der Freiheitsucher (The Searcher for Freedom)

John Henry Mackay (1864 – May 16, 1933) was an individualist anarchist, thinker and writer. Born in Scotland and raised in Germany, Mackay was the author of Die Anarchisten (The Anarchists) (1891) and Der Freiheitsucher (The Searcher for Freedom) (1921). Mackay was published in the United States in his friend Benjamin Tucker's magazine, Liberty. He was a noted homosexual.

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Life

Mackay lived in Berlin from 1896 onwards, and became a friend of scientist and Gemeinschaft der Eigenen co-founder Benedict Friedlaender.

Mackay died in Stahnsdorf on May 16, 1933, ten days after the Nazi book burnings at the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft. Adolf Hitler had become Reichskanzler on January 30, 1933, and all activities of the German homosexual emancipation movement soon ceased. Allegations that Mackay's death may have been a suicide have been disputed:

Mackay died on 16 May 1933 in the office of his doctor, only a few houses from his own, apparently of a heart attack. He was also suffering from stones in his bladder.

Kennedy, Hubert. Anarchist of Love: The Secret Life of John Henry Mackay

Writing and influence

Using the pseudonym Sagitta, Mackay wrote a series of works for pederastic emancipation, titled Die Bücher der namenlosen Liebe (Books of the Nameless Love). This series was conceived in 1905 and completed in 1913 and included the Fenny Skaller, a story of a pederast.[1] Under the same pseudonym he also published fiction, such as Holland (1924) and a pederastic novel of the Berlin boy-bars, Der Puppenjunge (The Hustler) (1926).

From 1906, the writings and theories of Mackay had a significant influence on Adolf Brand's organisation Gemeinschaft der Eigenen. Mackay was also a key populariser of the work of Max Stirner (1806-1856) outside Germany, writing a biography of the philosopher which also added greatly to the understanding of the work of Friedrich Nietzsche in the English-speaking world.

Richard Strauss's well-known songs from his Vier Lieder (Op. 27), a wedding gift to his wife, include settings to music of two of Mackay's poems: "Morgen!" and "Heimliche Aufforderung". Other uses of Mackay's poems by Strauss include "Verführung" (Op. 33 No. 1) and "In der Campagna" (Op. 41 No. 2).

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Further reading

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