Margaret Harkness entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
Margaret Harkness wrote late Victorian novels, mostly set in the East End slums of London, that express her political ideas. She was an ardent socialist in the 1880s and 1890s and was also a journalist. Moderately successful in her own lifetime (some historians claim she outsold George Gissing), she is now mostly remembered for the fact that Friedrich Engels commented on her first novel. Most of her work appeared under the masculine pseudonym 'John Law'. Later in life, after becoming disillusioned with radical politics, she wrote travel books about India and Ceylon, as well as a novel set there.
28 February 1854 Margaret Elise Harkness was born at either Great Malvern or Upton on Severn in Worcestershire. Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
By 30 April 1887 Margaret Harkness, as 'John Law', published her first and best-known book, the novel A City Girl. Bibliographic Citation link.
April 1888 Friedrich Engels wrote to Margaret Harkness about her novel A City Girl, which she had submitted to him for commentary: despite some criticism, he called it a small work of art and emphasised his pleasure in reading it. Bibliographic Citation link.
By early September 1921 MH's final novel (as 'John Law') appeared: a study of the possibility of pacifism entitled A Curate's Promise, A Story of Three Weeks, September 14 - October 5, 1917. Bibliographic Citation link.
10 December 1923 MH died at the Pensione Castagnoli in Florence. Bibliographic Citation link.
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