Julian Maclaren-Ross, Bitten By The Tarantula & Other Writing



The writing in this Julian Maclaren-Ross omnibus is some of his best, and shows the breadth of his ability and interests. Readers familiar with his work will know of his short stories of wartime London, particularly its bohemian life, and there are excellent examples of both here. In stark contrast is his highly charged novella of the south of France between the wars, Bitten by the Tarantula.

Long overlooked has been Maclaren-Ross's journalism. Written mainly during the 1950s and 1960s, his literary and film criticism shows the same sharp eye as his fiction and memoir, as well as a willingness to take seriously genres not then generally regarded as worthy of proper consideration.

In many ways well ahead of its time, and distinctly modern, Iain Finlayson in The Times writes of Maclaren-Ross's journalistic ‘genius’, a view this collection triumphantly confirms.

Finally there are several of his sharply observed literary parodies, which led Malcolm Muggeridge to describe Maclaren-Ross as 'the greatest living parodist'. The parodies even gathered praise from their subjects, Raymond Chandler and P.G. Wodehouse, both congratulating their author. H.E. Bates sued him in the High Court, surely equally gratifying for a parodist.


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Praise for Julian Maclaren-Ross’s Bitten By The Tarantula and Other Writing


Philip French, The Observer

“One of the most original and perceptive film critics this country has produced. His 1946 essay on Hitchcock, for instance, was a decade or more ahead of its time.”


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

“One of our very best writers…”


Evelyn Waugh

“Mr Maclaren-Ross's Work... showed... accomplishment of a rare kind.”


Virginia Ironside

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


Philip French, The Observer, Books of the 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.”


Elizabeth Bowen, The Tatler

“Maclaren-Ross is a writer due for the front rank… 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.” 

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