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Mary Renault: A Biography
The author of The Charioteer and The King Must Die, Renault studied at Oxford but eventually abandoned the academic world and England for South Africa, where she and her companion, Julie Mullard, remained. "A superb biography of an exceptional novelist" (New Yorker). Named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times. Index; photographs.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 15th 1994 by Mariner Books
(first published 1993)
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Mary Renault is my favourite author thanks to her eight novels set in ancient Greece. I have read The Last of the Wine and the two about Alexander more times than any other books and their sheer beauty still brings tears to my eyes as easily as when I was a boy. Partly it is the subject matter: apparently like her, and for all its faults, I find ancient Greece more inspiring than any other society, certainly including today’s. Partly it is because no kind of creativity fascinates me as much as t ...more
I've loved the novels of Mary Renault since I first encountered them years and years ago. This biography is fascinating and inspiring;it seems Sweetman had fairly extensive access to Renault's papers and also to her life's companion. Now, it may be that that access made this a particularly positive sort of view of Mary's life...but then, I don't think I would have wanted a negative one (and believe me, there is gossip aplenty in this biography for those who relish that).
I was ready to write about how interesting it is to see what inspires an author and how closely one can link the events in Mary Renault's life to the book she wound up writing as a response and also how her young love of Edward, Prince of Wales obviously made her sympathetic to the other possibly misunderstood, roguish, golden boys of history (her Alexander and her Theseus and her Alkibiades). I was going to write about all that and then I got to the Acknowledgements page, which I read on a whim ...more