MARLITT, E., the pseudonym of Eugenie John (1825–1887), German novelist, who was born at Arnstadt in Thuringia, the daughter of a merchant, on the 5th of December 1825. By her musical talent she attracted the notice of the reigning princess of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, who provided for her training as a singer at the Vienna Conservatoire. After three years’ study she made a successful stage début, but was compelled in consequence of deafness to abandon this career. She then became reader and travelling companion to her patroness, and her life at the court and on her many travels furnished her with material for her novels. In 1863 she resigned her post, and then lived with her brother at Arnstadt until her death on the 22nd of June 1887.
Her first novel, Die zwölf Apostel, was published in the Gartenlaube in 1865 and this was followed in 1866 by Goldelse (23rd ed., 1890), with which she established her literary reputation. Among others of her novels may be mentioned Blaubart (1866); Das Geheimnis der alten Mamsell (1867; 13th ed., 1888); Reichsgräfin Gisela (1869; 9th ed., 1900), Das Heideprinzesschen (1871; 8th ed., 1888) and Im Hause des Kommerzienrats (1877; 5th ed., 1891). All these works are directed against social prejudices, but, although attractively written, are deficient in higher literary qualities and appeal mostly to juvenile readers.
E. Marlitt’s Gesammelte Romane und Novellen were published in 10 volumes (1888–1890; 2nd ed., 1891–1894), to which is appended a biographical memoir.