Mary Renault: A Biography (A Harvest Book)

Mary Renault: A Biography (A Harvest Book) 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

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Mary Renault: A Biography (A Harvest Book) book, this is one of the most wanted David Sweetman author readers around the world.

[BOOKS] ✭ Mary Renault: A Biography (A Harvest Book) By David Sweetman –
  • Paperback
  • 336 pages
  • Mary Renault: A Biography (A Harvest Book)
  • David Sweetman
  • English
  • 13 November 2018
  • 9780156000604

10 thoughts on “Mary Renault: A Biography (A Harvest Book)

  1. says:

    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 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 inspiring than any other society, certainly including today s Partly it is because no kind of creativity fascinates me as much as the authentic recreation of past societies presented on their own terms without shabby compromises to modern sensibilities The admiration she has elicited from leading classicists is testimony to how successfully she accomplished this Partly it is the emotional power, charm and clarity of her prose And it is many other things besides.Sweetman writes about his subject with an appealing sympathy that does justice to his name The other side of the coin to this is that his book has the faults of an authorised biography, which it or less is, since much the most important sources appear to have been Renault herself and Julie Mullard, her lover for nearly half a century It is informative rather than critical or analytical, but given that this was the first biography of her, it is information that matters much the most This is presented amply, but without tedium I find the first half about her life in England a compelling story, even though my main interest is in the background to her novels written later There are no footnotes or references to sources, which would be ruinous if the subject were controversial or dead long before writing, but does not matter here where the sources are personal or self evident Far worrying are a number of inaccuracies and confusingly sloppy statements, which would surely have annoyed such a stickler for accuracy as Renault For example, having been born in 1905, she decided to write her first novel just before the end of the war, at the age of eight Renault s life changed suddenly in 1947, when she won as a prize for one of her novels a sum quite beyond belief that enabled her to emigrate to South Africa with Mullard She told Julie it was 150,000, over 37,000 at the time Before emigrating, however, she went on a spending binge probably than she belatedly discovered she would have left over after paying 97 % wartime tax So, are you clear as to how easily she was able to finance her new life I had vaguely intended to read this biography for years, but in the end it was one of those books I was driven to read by the opposite of a recommendation criticisms which convinced me I would like it, encountered in a review by another distinguished historical novelist, Hilary Mantel It is odd and unfortunate , she says, that by the end of Sweetman s book one admires his subject less rather than Not so her reasoning made me suspect the opposite, and thus it turned out it was Mantel whom I admired less in the end Elaborating on this disagreement seems a good way of conveying why I think Renault was admirable and her life usefully spent and well worth reading about.The gist of Mantel s disapproval seems to be that Renault was politically incorrect, which conveys nothing to me about her personal quality other than to reassure me she had the independence of mind and courage to express it that are keys to my respect The title of Mantel s review was Homophobic As neither she nor Sweetman himself say anything about him that could be so construed, I presume this refers to Renault, bizarre as it is to refer thus to one whose writings brought self accepting relief to thousands of homosexuals in an age when it was still rare and courageous to express understanding of their feelings Renault has apparently disappointed some homosexual activists by her dislike of their politics, which she dismissed as sexual tribalism and personally self limiting, and though Mantel admits there is something very wise and humane in her recognition that sexual identity is fluid and mutable, she seems annoyed that Renault would not identify herself as a lesbian It looks though that what really draws Mantel s ire was Renault s unfashionable expressions of admiration for men and her wish that she had been one Mantel is deeply disappointed that her motives in writing as she did were not political she should have written sympathetically about homosexuality because that is correct rather than because she admired it, and she should have been miserable rather than at ease depicting with sympathetic understanding such an overtly masculine society In effect, Mantel feels cheated by Renault having chosen to write about a civilization she was in tune with, though her doing so is the key to how she was able to write as utterly convincingly as she did Here we approach the essence of the gulf in mentality between those driven by political considerations and those driven by higher ideals.Asked by Sweetman what she would like to be remembered for, Renault replied As someone who got it right That is just how I remember her.Edmund Marlowe, author of Alexander s Choice, the story of a boy inspired by Renault s novels, www. dp 1481222112

  2. says:

    Have to admit I didn t read every single page of this, but close Gave me a good background on Mary Renault s life story for my project Still intend to get other perspectives, but it s a good start.

  3. says:

    Fantastic biography on one of my favorite authors David Sweetman s research revealed so many nuances and layers to this private author.A treasure

  4. says:

    1972 I read The Persian Boy.I was hooked and devoured all of her novels.

  5. says:

    Loaned to me by a friend Thanks Maxine Immensely readable Among other things we see why she wrote what she did and how.

  6. says:

    So grateful Sweetman gave us this book I thoroughly enjoyed peering into the life of MR One aspect that I disagree was his account of Alexias and Lysis First, Alexias did not struggle with bisexuality He faced many challenges that are well detailed, but a struggle with sexuality was not a problem in that period of antiquity MR believed in seeing the story through the eyes of those times, not modern times, such as Sweetman seems to be doing during his own era, Thatcher s UK She believed in writing the truth, and so a struggle with bisexuality would not have been a true viewpoint in Athens Also, Sweetman wrote that Alexias and Lysis never made love Again I m not sure why that was stated If one pays attention to MR style of writing across her books, one can conclude three points where they did Her subtlety and symbolism might make the argument gray for some, but she knew young gay men and understood the ways of their nature And so you might say that was another piece of her extensive research based on fact.I said to my heart, What mighty power hast thou been defying Truly love may be likened to the Sphinx of the Egyptians with the face of a smiling god and a lion s claws When he had wounded me all my longing was to leap into his darkness, and be consumed.And so on.

  7. says:

    I read this as part of a book club I have not read any books authored by Mary Renault She was interesting The author of this biography went a little overboard in analyzing Mary Renault s work in context of her work and not in context of her life If you like Mary Renault s work, you will probably like this book If you don t, skip the enormous sections of this book that are basically Mr Sweetman describing something in one of Mary Renault s books, then including the actual passage, then describing it again.

  8. says:

    Uneven, though to me fascinating when discussing the actual derivations of her books

  9. says:

    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 I am grateful to Dr Howard B Gotlieb, Director Special Collections, Mugar Memorial LibarayWAT Boston UniversityAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I hold the Classics department personally responsible for not telling everyone about this I think a pilgrimage is in store.

  10. says:

    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 lifebut 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.

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