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Original Essays | April 11, 2014

Paul Laudiero: IMG Shit Rough Draft

I was sitting in a British and Irish romantic drama class my last semester in college when the idea for Shit Rough Drafts hit me. I was working... Continue »
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The Praise Singer


The Praise Singer Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the story of the great lyric poet Simonides, Mary Renault brings alive a time in Greece when tyrants kept an unsteady rule and poetry, music, and royal patronage combined to produce a flowering of the arts.

Born into a stern farming family on the island of Keos, Simonides escapes his harsh childhood through a lucky apprenticeship with a renowned Ionian singer. As they travel through 5th century B.C. Greece, Simonides learns not only how to play the kithara and compose poetry, but also how to navigate the shifting alliances surrounding his rich patrons. He is witness to the Persian invasion of Ionia, to the decadent reign of the Samian pirate king Polykrates, and to the fall of the Pisistratids in the Athenian court. Along the way, he encounters artists, statesmen, athletes, thinkers, and lovers, including the likes of Pythagoras and Aischylos. Using the singer's unique perspective, Renault combines her vibrant imagination and her formidable knowledge of history to establish a sweeping, resilient vision of a golden century.


"In her latest novel Mary Renault reconstructs the life of the Greek lyric poet, Simonides. Beginning with his childhood on Ceos, she traces his probable career up to the murder of his patron, the tyrant Hipparchus of Athens. The strength of the novel lies in the characterizations and in the wealth of background detail worked into the narrative." Reviewed by Andrew Witmer, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)


In another masterful novel that vividly recreates the world of Ancient Greece, Renault tells the story of Simonides, an ugly boy destined to create beauty through his extraordinary poetic talent.

About the Author

Mary Renault was born in London and educated at Oxford. She then trained for three years as a nurse, and wrote her first published novel, Promise of Love. Her next three novels were written while serving in WWII. After the war, she settled in South Africa and traveled considerably in Africa and Greece. It was at this time that she began writing her brilliant historical reconstructions of ancient Greece, including The King Must Die, The Last of the Wine, and The Persian Boy. She died in Cape Town in 1983.

Product Details

Renault, Mary
Vintage Books
Historical - General
Biographical fiction
Greece History To 146 B.C.
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.04x5.28x.60 in. .41 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Praise Singer New Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780375714207 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In another masterful novel that vividly recreates the world of Ancient Greece, Renault tells the story of Simonides, an ugly boy destined to create beauty through his extraordinary poetic talent.
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