Lady Cynthia Asquith

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Lady Cynthia Mary Evelyn Asquith (née Charteris; 27 September 1887 – 31 March 1960) was an English writer and socialite, now known for her ghost stories and diaries.[1] She also wrote novels and edited a number of anthologies, as well as writing for children and on the British Royal family.

Life and career

Her father was Hugo Richard Charteris, 11th Earl of Wemyss (1857–1937) and her mother Mary Constance Wyndham (see The Souls). She married Herbert Asquith (son of H. H. Asquith, British Prime Minister, with whom he is often confused) in 1910.

In 1913, she met D. H. Lawrence in Margate, and became a friend and correspondent.[2] She took a position as secretary to Peter Pan creator J. M. Barrie,[3][4] with whom she became close friends, continuing to work for him until his death in 1937. Barrie left the bulk of his estate to her – minus the Peter Pan works.[5] Author L. P. Hartley became a lifelong friend after they met in the early 1920s.

Asquith became known for editing The Ghost Book, an anthology of supernatural fiction that included work by D.H. Lawrence, Algernon Blackwood, Arthur Machen, Oliver Onions, and May Sinclair. [6]

One of Asquith's stories, "The Follower", was adapted for BBC Radio, along with stories by Algernon Blackwood, Marjorie Bowen, and Noel Streatfeild; all these stories were later reprinted in the Cecil Madden anthology My Grimmest Nightmare (1935). [1]

In addition to her literary work, Asquith contributed to the screenplay of the 1937 film Dreaming Lips starring Elisabeth Bergner.[7]


  • "The Treasure Ship" (1926), editor
  • The Ghost Book (1927), editor
  • The Duchess of York (1927), biography
  • The Black Cap (1928), editor
  • Shudders (1929), editor
  • When Churchyards Yawn (1931), editor
  • My Grimmest Nightmare (1935), editor
  • The Spring House (1936), novel
  • Dreaming Lips (1937), screenplay
  • One Sparkling Wave (1943), novel
  • This Mortal Coil (1947), stories
  • Haply I May Remember (1950)
  • What Dreams May Come? (1951), stories
  • The Second Ghost Book (1952), editor
  • Portrait of Barrie (1954)
  • The Third Ghost Book (1956), editor
  • Married to Tolstoy (1960), biography
  • Thomas Hardy at Max Gate (1969)


"God Grante That She Lye Stille," collected in When Churchyards Yawn, was adapted in 1961 by Robert Hardy Andrews as an episode of the anthology TV series Thriller.[8]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Richard Dalby, The Virago Book of Ghost Stories.Virago, London, ISBN 0-86068-810-0, 1987 (p. 236).
  2. See Mark Kinkead-Weekes, D. H. Lawrence: Triumph to Exile, 1912-1922 (Cambridge, 1996), pp.69ff.
  3. Birkin, Andrew: J. M. Barrie & the Lost Boys, Constable, 1979; revised edition, Yale University Press, 2003
  4. Telfer, Kevin. "Captain Scott and J M Barrie: an unlikely friendship", Telegraph, 9 March 2012
  5. Chaney, Lisa. Hide-and-Seek with Angels - A Life of J. M. Barrie, Hutchinson, 2005
  6. Mike Ashley and William Contento, The Supernatural Index: A Listing of Fantasy, Supernatural, Occult, Weird, and Horror Anthologies. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1995. ISBN 0313240302 (p. 728-9)
  7. Film Reviews. Sydney Morning Herald [Sydney] 25 October 1937, p.8. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.
  8. IMDB

Further reading

  • The Diaries of Cynthia Asquith 1915-1918 (1969)
  • Best Friends: Memories of David and Rachel Cecil, Cynthia Asquith, L. P. Hartley and Others (1991) Julian Fane
  • Tuck, Donald H. (1974). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. p. 23. ISBN 0-911682-20-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links