Julian MacLaren-Ross

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Julian MacLaren-Ross (7 July 1912 – 3 November 1964) was a British novelist.

Background[edit]

Born James McLaren Ross in South Norwood, London in 1912, his father John Lambden Ross was of mixed Scottish and Cuban blood, and his mother, from an Anglo-Indian family, was described as "a magnificent Indian lady and the obvious source of his male beauty". MacLaren-Ross was largely educated in the South of France, though his memoir The Weeping and the Laughter (1953) principally concerns his boyhood in a Bournemouth suburb. In 1943 he was discharged from the army, having been found at home with a female acquaintance while AWOL.

MacLaren-Ross was a frequent contributor to literary journals, such as the London Magazine and Horizon. He was known to be a sympathiser of the Labour Party and though he never dealt with explicitly political themes in his stories, the backdrop of inter and post-war social strife was always intimated. MacLaren Ross was fictionalised as novelist X. Trapnel in Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time and as Prince Yakimov in Olivia Manning's The Balkan Trilogy and was the subject of a 2003 biography Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia by Paul Willetts. John Betjeman described him as "One of our very best writers".

His reputation as a dandy in post-war London bohemia to some extent exceeds the actual stature of his recognised works. His turbulent life and pivotal role in the Fitzrovian milieu has ensured continued interest in his work. Debt, alcoholism and a love of debauched living all featured heavily in his life. His biographer referred to him as the "mediocre caretaker of his own immense talent".

Works[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Closing Times, Dan Davin (1975)
  • Dead as Doornails, Anthony Cronin (1976)
  • Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia, Paul Willetts, (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2003)
  • Waterstone's Guide to London Writing (1999)
  • London's Bohemia, Michael Bakewell (1999)

References[edit]

External links[edit]