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Thank youcso much for this. I lovedvthese books in my late teens

I can't believe there are books like this that I never knew about.


I did Greek in my last four years at school. Then in the two years after school and before University I read so many of Mary Renault's books. I liked the Mask of Apollo best also

When I was a kid I think both Mary Renault and Mary Stewart were writing books that I browsed through on visits to the bookstore, so I had the two of them confused. Never really knew about Renault and what she wrote until this post. Interesting and fun, and quite a niche writer for sure. In my limited knowledge of who might have written historical novels that took place in Greece I can only come up with a few by Gore Vidal.

I can't believe there are books like this that I never knew about.

That's been my response to a few of the contributions in this series. (Not this one: my dad was a fan of Mary Renault. I tried to read one when I was about 13 and couldn't make head or tail of it and haven't tried since.)

That has been the really good thing about this series. It's supplied me with enough reading for the next 5 years.


Same here. I know I'll never get to it all, if only because I won't remember. :-/

Mary Renault's work in general doesn't sound like my cup of tea altogether, but I think I'd like to read The Mask of Apollo, on the assumption that its portrait of the Greek theater is reasonably well-founded on fact. I haven't read the Greek dramatists since college. I need to revisit them (and visit the works I haven't previously).

Well you have it here in black and white--or black and ... What is this color? Taupe?


I don't actually know what color taupe is, but I see this as a pale greenish-brownish-grayish. One of those shouldn't have "ish" but I don't know which one.

Yes, the information will be here, and it has the 52 Authors tag, so it's a lot more retrievable than, for instance, a movie recommendation attached to a post about some other movie or book or completely unrelated thing. But that doesn't mean that I'll come back to it unless specifically prompted somehow. And some of the info is in comments.

My book club has added authors to its list on the basis of this series.

Maclin, Renault discusses her choices of theatrical details in an afterword.

That's really nice to hear--your book club adding authors to its list.

I remember the gay stuff. For some reason it didnt seem like propaganda at that time, because it seems historically true to life

At the time, reading it, it seemed that Bagoas and so on simply came naturally out of the story and the Greek cultural context.

The fact that homosexual relationships were an accepted part of life in ancient Greece (and were accepted to have been so by classically educated people in the 19th and 20th centuries) probably partly explains Renault's feeling of affinity for the period. It needn't be propagandistic, just a natural outgrowth of her own experiences and interests. But not having read more than a few pages of her, I proffer the suggestion for what it is worth.

Seems very plausible.

Ann Marie thank you so much for this piece. In a year of memories brought back by living in NYC your article added one more piece - reading Mary Renault when I was 19. So many joys in life deserved to be remembered often.

You are so welcome, Grumpy!

Ann Marie did you read this by Peter Hitchins on Mary Renault


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