Jeremy Lewis

Grub Street Grouser

Julian Maclaren-Ross: Selected Letters


Black Spring Press 351pp £9.95 order from our bookshop

Good writers aren’t necessarily good letter-writers. As a recent selection made clear, Graham Greene’s letters aren’t a patch on his memoirs or travel books, and those of his admirer and acquaintance Julian Maclaren-Ross are even more disappointing. Best remembered as a chronicler of the army and Fitzrovia in the 1940s, Maclaren-Ross is, with Patrick Hamilton and Denton Welch, one of the great writers of the period, remarkable for his wit, his masterly prose and his keen eye for oddities of dress and behaviour: but his letters are too concerned with the minutiae of Grub Street life to be of much interest to the world at large, and so marinated in anger, resentment and self-pity that even the most well-disposed of his admirers may find themselves longing for the end.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Tarantino's latest film is 'a fairy tale about Hollywood, where fantasy is an industrial product and the boulevards… ,
    • 'I don’t think we’re here on Earth to be Happy. I think we’re here on Earth to help God. I am a messianic writer'.… ,
    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,