Julian Maclaren-Ross, Collected Memoirs


In his camel-hair coat and immaculate suit, with carnation buttonhole, silver-topped malacca cane, cigarette holder and mirrored sunglasses ,Maclaren-Ross cut a dandified figure in the Soho, Fitzrovia and Bloomsbury of the forties, fifties and sixties. A gifted raconteur, he knew and writes here about some of the notable figures of the period, among them Dylan Thomas,Graham Greene, Cyril Connolly, Stephen Spender and John Minton. His life, often chaotic – and related unsentimentally in these memoirs – veered between the fringes of the literary establishment and homelessness.

He was much admired by writers as diverse as Evelyn Waugh and John Betjeman, and his colourful personality made him the model for fictional characters, most famously X. Trapnel in Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time, but also in the stories of Graham Greene and Olivia Manning. More recent admirers include Harold Pinter, Iain Sinclair, Melvin Bragg and D.J. Taylor.

Not only is this the first time such a range of memoirs has been available in a single volume, it is the first time some of these memoirs have appeared in book form at all, and Paul Willetts's introduction offers a thorough context.


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Praise for Julian Maclaren-Ross’s Collected Memoirs


Peter Parker, The Daily Telegraph

“Those who have yet to discover this wonderfully stylish and sardonic writer should start here.”


The Independent on Sunday

“Bringing so many of [these memoirs] together in one volume offers a substantial account of his great talent…”


“Maclaren-Ross is a writer due for the front rank… Better, and more dire, pictures of the Bohemian extremity in pubs and the Soho purlieus, in dun-beleaguered bungalows along half-made roads, in and out of bookshops and under the duress of the srmy are not, I should imagine, to be found. There is an at once savage and fatalistic tolerance in Mr Maclaren-Ross’s approach to human beings: he has also often the merit of being extremely funny.” (Elizabeth Bowen)


D.J. Taylor, author of Orwell:The Life

“Maclaren-Ross is one of the great unsung heroes of the literary 1940s and at his best a figure to rank with Orwell, Connolly and Waugh.” 


John Betjeman

“Oneof our very best writers…”


Evelyn Waugh

“Mr Maclaren-Ross's work... shows accomplishment of a rare kind.”


John Lehman

“An author of outstanding gifts…”


Olivia Manning

“He has a talent of a rare and original kind…”


Virginia Ironside

“One of the very best writers of [the twentieth] century…”


Philip French, The Observer, Books ofthe Year, 2004

“Nothing has given me greater pleasure than the continuing revival of one of my favourite writers, Julian Maclaren-Ross.”


Philip Hensher, The Spectator

“…a dazzling, talented writer, effortlessly funny and natural [with] …enormous gifts.”


The Observer

“The Collected Memoirs are dazzling – the work of a prolific writer of great wit, erudition and insight.”


Sarah Waters

“It was a great treat to discover the writing of Julian Maclaren-Ross. Witty, smart, eccentric - he never ceases to entertain.”

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