Synopses & Reviews
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.
Mary Renault wrote with such authority about Ancient Greece and of love between men that many readers believed that the author of such well-known works as The Charioteer, The King Must Die, The Persian Boy, and The Last of the Wine must be male. In fact, Mary Renault was the pseudonym of an intensely private woman - a revolutionary in sexual matters who throughout her life preferred the company of gay men. Born Mary Challans outside London, Renault discovered scholarship at Oxford in the early days of admission to women. She eventually abandoned the academic world to attend nursing school where she met her lifelong companion, Julie Mullard. Writing became Renault's avocation, and when, in 1947, she won a large literary award, the two women embarked for South Africa. There Renault, a passionate believer in Greek ideals of democracy and justice, spoke out against apartheid, but she grew disillusioned with radical politics and eventually withdrew into her own world. Based on rare interviews with Renault and full access to her correspondence, this is a brilliantly textured picture of Renault that offers a revealing analysis of the author and her novels.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 310-313) and index.