Marghanita Laski

Marghanita Laski
Marghanita Laski, date unknown

Marghanita Laski (24 October 1915 – 6 February 1988) was an English journalist, radio panellist and novelist: she also wrote literary biography, plays and short stories.


Personal life

Marghanita was born in Manchester, England, to a prominent family of Jewish intellectuals (Neville Laski was her father, Moses Gaster her grandfather and Harold Laski her uncle), she was educated at Lady Barn House School and St Paul's Girls' School in Hammersmith, worked in fashion, then studied English at Somerville College, Oxford[1] She married publisher John Howard (in Paris), and worked in journalism.[clarification needed]

Marghanita Laski lived in Hampstead and Abbots Langley.[2]


After her son and daughter were born, Laski began writing in earnest: Marghanita was an omnivorous reader, from 1958 onwards she became a prolific and compulsive contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary and by 1986 had "carded" around 250,000 quotations. [3] In the 1960s, Laski was the science fiction critic for The Observer.[4] Elected Vice Chairwoman of the Arts Council in 1982, she served as Chairwoman of its Literature Panel between 1980 and 1984. [5]


Laski was a panellist on the popular UK BBC panel show What's My Line? (that ran from 1951 to 1963), The Brains Trust (late 1950s), and Any Questions? (1960s).

Religious views

An avowed atheist,[6] she was also a keen supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.[6] Her play, The Offshore Island, is about nuclear warfare.

Critical reception

Anthony Boucher described her novella The Victorian Chaise Longue as "an admirably written book, highly skilled in its economic evocation of time, place and character -- and a relentlessly terrifying one."[7]


  • Love on the Supertax (1944) novel
  • Stories of Adventure (1946) (editor?)[citation needed]
  • The Patchwork Book (1946) editor
  • Victorian Tales for Girls (1947) editor
  • Tory Heaven or Thunder on the Right (1948) current affairs
  • Little Boy Lost (1949) novel
  • Toasted English (1949)
  • Mrs Ewing, Mrs Molesworth and Mrs Hodgson Burnett (1950) biography
  • The Village (1952) novel
  • The Victorian Chaise-longue (1953) novel
  • Apologies (1955) caricature
  • The Offshore Island (1959) play
  • Ecstasy: a Study of Some Secular and Religious Experiences (1961) psychology
  • A Chaplet for Charlotte Yonge (1965) editor with Georgina Battiscombe
  • Jane Austen and Her World (1969) literary history
  • God and Man (1971) with Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh religion
  • George Eliot and Her World (1973) literary history
  • Kipling's English History (1974) Rudyard Kipling poems, editor
  • Everyday Ecstasy (1980) psychology
  • Ferry, the Jerusalem Cat (1983) story
  • From Palm to Pine: Rudyard Kipling Abroad and at Home (1987) biography
  • Common Ground: an Anthology (1989) editor
  • To Bed with Grand Music (2001) (posthumous)

Republished By Persephone Books

Persephone Books reprinted The Victorian Chaise-longue in 1999, Little Boy Lost in 2001, The Village in 2004 and To Bed with Grand Music in 2009.


  1. ^ "MARGHANITA LASKI NOVELIST AND CRITIC; AT 72". Boston Globe. Highbeam. 8 February 1988. 
  2. ^ Hastie, Scott. Abbots Langley—a Hertfordshire Village. Abbots Langley Parish Council. ISBN 0952092905. 
  3. ^ Charlotte Brewer (22 July 2010). "Examining the OED". Oxford University. 
  4. ^ Brian W. Aldiss, "Book Review," sfImpulse, October 1966, p.19
  5. ^ "Marghanti Laski". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Christine Finn: Chapter Eight Stanford University
  7. ^ "Recommended Reading," F&SF, October 1954, p.95.

External links

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