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Mackenzie, Henry

Mackenzie, Henry (1745–1831). Novelist and man of letters, once described by Scott as ‘the Scottish Addison’. Son of an Edinburgh physician, he was educated for the law in Edinburgh and London. His first novel The Man of Feeling (1771) established him as a sentimental novelist in the tradition of Marivaux and Sterne. He was the moving spirit in a group of Edinburgh men of letters who published the Mirror (1779–80) and Lounger (1785–7), the last popular imitations of Addison and Steele's Spectator. Mackenzie was the first critic to recognize the importance of Burns. A Tory loyalist and close associate of Henry Dundas, he became controller of customs in 1804. Unfortunately, his novels have not worn well.

Nicholas Phillipson

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Mackenzie, Henry

Henry Mackenzie, 1745–1831, English author, b. Scotland. He had an active political and legal life, serving as comptroller of taxes for Scotland from 1804 until his death. His first and most famous novel, The Man of Feeling (1771), is a series of loosely joined episodes describing the adventures of a highly sentimental and good-natured man. His other novels are The Man of the World (1773) and Julia de Roubigne (1777). Of his four plays the only one to achieve any success was The Prince of Tunis (1773).

See his letters, ed. by H. Drescher (1967); biography by G. A. Barker (1975).

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