Marghanita Laski was born in 1915 to a family of prominent Jewish intellectuals in Manchester; Harold Laski, the socialist thinker, was her uncle.
After working in fashion she read English at Oxford, married John Howard, a publisher, in Paris, and worked in journalism. She began writing once her son and daughter were born: among her six novels were Little Boy Lost, The Village and The Victorian Chaise-Longue.
A well-known critic, she wrote books on Jane Austen and George Eliot.
Ecstasy explored the nature of religious experiences and Everyday Ecstasy their social effects. Her distinctive voice was often heard on the radio on The Brains Trust and The Critics; and she submitted some 250,000 illustrative quotations to the Oxford English Dictionary.
She lived in Hampstead, where she died in 1988.