Mary Renault

Standard Name: Renault, Mary
Birth Name: Eileen Mary Challans
Nickname: Molly
Pseudonym: Mary Renault
MR , who published her first book in 1939, is best known for her historical novels, and is also noted for her strong interest in same-sex love. In her present-day novels, a large proportion of characters have sexually-ambiguous names which reflect the ambivalence of their orientations. Biographer David Sweetman claims that her historical novels helped many people to come to terms with their sexuality, giving lesbians and male homosexuals a historical past while offering non-homosexuals a sympathetic world where heterosexuality was neither the only, nor the dominant, sexual type.
Sweetman, David. Mary Renault: A Biography. Chatto and Windus.
MR 's writing has been acclaimed by critics past and present: Bernard Dick has called her one of the most creative historical novelists of our era and the only bona fide Hellenist in twentieth-century fiction.
Dick, Bernard. The Hellenism of Mary Renault. Southern Illinois University Press.
Aside from her fiction, MR wrote several short stories, articles, and introductions.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Friends, Associates Barbara Pym
Authors BP , Mary Renault , and Elizabeth Taylor attended a party in Athens given by Pym's longtime friend the novelist and critic Robert Liddell .
Pym, Barbara. A Very Private Eye. Editors Holt, Hazel and Hilary Pym, Macmillan.
Friends, Associates Rebecca West
While visiting Cape Town in South Africa, RW met Mary Renault .
Rollyson, Carl. Rebecca West: A Saga of the Century. Hodder and Stoughton.
Intertextuality and Influence Sheenagh Pugh
The germ for this volume was Edward G. Robinson 's last film, Soylent Green, set in a futuristic and barely habitable New York and featuring the voluntary, ceremonial suicide of an old man who...
Literary responses Elizabeth Jenkins
EJ said this was her own favourite among her books.
“Elizabeth Jenkins”. The Telegraph.
Elizabeth Bowen said that sitting up late reading it in bed left her (in an Irish colloquialism) lying stretched for dead.
Jenkins, Elizabeth. The View from Downshire Hill. Michael Johnson.
The book roused...
Literary responses Margaret Laurence
In her preface to her translations, written sixteen years later, ML said she was no antholopologist and called her own translations amateurish, but Mary Renault (an English historical novelist settled in South Africa), in a...
Literary responses Margaret Laurence
This book, in manuscript, won the Beta Sigma Phi first novel award of $1,000.
Laurence, Margaret. Dance on the Earth: A Memoir. McClelland and Stewart.
Mary Renault welcomed a first novel of rare excellence.
Stovel, Nora Foster. Divining Margaret Laurence. A Study of Her Complete Writings. McGill-Queen’s University Press.
Literary responses Rosemary Sutcliff
The publishers had many laudatory quotes to use in their advertising for this book, including some from other historical novelists: Mary Renault and Naomi Mitchison . David Holloway praised it in the Daily Telegraph as...
Textual Features Mary Butts
The novel presents Alexander (later the subject of a fictional trilogy by Mary Renault ) as gradually coming to an acceptance of his own spirituality.
“Dictionary of Literary Biography online”. Gale Databases: Literature Resource Center-LRC.
In her preface, MB acknowledges the influence of E. M. Forster
Textual Production Anne Carson
In Economy of the Unlost: Reading Simonides of Keos with Paul Celan, 1999 (which began as a series of lectures at Oberlin College ), AC juxtaposes two remarkable figures. Simonides is an ancient lyric...
Textual Production Maureen Duffy
MD 's next novel, The Paradox Players (September 1967), also drew on her personal experiences.
British Books in Print. J. Whitaker and Sons.
It portrays a group of social exiles who live on houseboats moored on an island in the Thames near...
Textual Production Frances Horovitz
Greg Gatanby included FH 's poem Invocation in his Whales: A Celebration, 1983. This anthology comprises excerpts from literature, legends, myths, religions, and poetry from around the world. Among others included are Jonathan Swift


About 9 February 1682: Thomas Otway's she-tragedy Venice Preserved...

Writing climate item

About 9 February 1682

Thomas Otway 's she-tragedyVenice Preserved had its first performance.

1899-1907: Sir Arthur Evans carried out excavations...

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Sir Arthur Evans carried out excavations at Knossos in Crete, the palace famed in Greek myth as the site of Theseus' victory over the Minotaur with the help of Ariadne.

Autumn 1953: The actor John Gielgud was convicted of persistently...

Building item

Autumn 1953

The actor John Gielgud was convicted of persistently importuning male persons for an immoral purpose, and fined.


Renault, Mary. Fire from Heaven. Pantheon, 1969.
Renault, Mary. Funeral Games. John Murray, 1981.
Renault, Mary. Kind Are Her Answers. Longmans, Green, 1940.
Renault, Mary. North Face. Morrow, 1948.
Renault, Mary. Purposes of Love. Longmans, 1939.
Renault, Mary. Return to Night. Longmans, Green, 1947.
Renault, Mary. The Bull from the Sea. Longmans, 1962.
Renault, Mary. The Charioteer. Longmans, Green, 1953.
Renault, Mary. The Friendly Young Ladies. Longmans, Green, 1944.
Renault, Mary. The King Must Die. Longmans, Green, 1958.
Renault, Mary. The Last of the Wine. Longmans, Green, 1956.
Renault, Mary. The Lion in the Gateway. Longmans, 1964.
Renault, Mary. The Mask of Apollo. Longmans, Green, 1966.
Renault, Mary. The Nature of Alexander. Allen Lane, 1975.
Renault, Mary. The Persian Boy. Longmans, 1972.
Renault, Mary. The Praise Singer. Pantheon, 1978.