If Mary Renault
had written Porius, the narration would have been more graceful, more mythic, and shorn of philosophical debates about good and evil and the deities that stand guard at each terminus.
But, as the author points out, in classical Greece, it was quite normal for an adolescent male to have a deep relationship with an older man - it is, in fact, the theme which occupies Mary Renault
in her superb novel, The Last of the Wine.
Avrom Fleishman, who considers Mary Renault
to be one of the finest historical novelists of the century, thinks that her skill at recreating an ancient sense of the sacred is such that readers are enabled 'to recognize the ritual drama of the Cretan bull dance in the way we recognize our own myths and communal passions'.
David Sweetman was a BBC television producer who interviewed the novelist, Mary Renault
, in 1982.
In eight novels and one history (a definitive biography of Alexander the Great), Mary Renault
recreated the world of ancient Greece with an intensity and an authenticity unmatched by any of the writers who have attempted it, including some of greater critical acclaim.
Arguably, Mary Renault
remains the undisputed queen of the genre, her reputation resting securely on such loving re-creations of Ancient Greece as her trilogy on the life of Alexander the Great or her account of the life of the poet Simonides of Ceos, Th e Praise Singer.
I'm also a fan of Mary Renault
who writes about ancient Greece.
My favourite authors include Mary Renault
, Rosemary Sutcliff, James Fenimore Cooper, Neil Gaiman, Hilary Mantel and Alan Garner.
Neither the work nor the writer features very much in modern bestseller lists but it gave me a first taste of the historical novel that led to Mary Renault
and Dorothy Dunnett.
performed a singular service bringing classical Greek culture alive.
is an enduring literary superstar, and not just because of her addictive way with a story.
Lately, I've been reading the classical novels of Mary Renault