Mary Renault (1488 words)

  • Diana Wallace

While the meticulously researched historical novels of Mary Renault have long been both popular and admired by an informed and sophisticated general readership, they have not been accorded the critical attention they merit. This can be attributed partly to the “middlebrow” image of the historical novel as a genre during the mid-twentieth century, and partly to a perceived incongruity between her subject matter – love between men in Ancient Greece – and her public image, epitomised by what her biographer, David Sweetman, describes as the “strange cosy photograph of a lady in a cardigan”. Indeed, Sweetman records, many of her readers believed that she was …

Wallace, Diana. "Mary Renault". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 November 2005
[, accessed 29 April 2017.]

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