Julian Maclaren-Ross, Bitten by the Tarantula and other writing

With an introduction by Paul Willetts

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 the wartime and 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

Maclaren-Ross’s journalism has been long overlooked. 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. 

Praise for this book

“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.”—Philip French, The Observer

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