The Praise Singer

A Virago Modern Classic
Author: Mary Renault
Publisher: Virago
ISBN: 1405526246
Category: Fiction
Page: 288
View: 3427

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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.

The Bull from the Sea

A Novel
Author: Mary Renault
Publisher: Open Road Media
ISBN: 148043289X
Category: Fiction
Page: 343
View: 8534

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“Mary Renault is a shining light to both historical novelists and their readers. She does not pretend the past is like the present, or that the people of ancient Greece were just like us. She shows us their strangeness; discerning, sure-footed, challenging our values, piquing our curiosity, she leads us through an alien landscape that moves and delights us.”—Hilary Mantel In The Bull from the Sea, the story of Theseus resumes with the hero’s return from Knossos. In the wake of his father’s suicide, Athens is now Theseus’s to rule. With his close friend Pirithoos, Theseus sets out for the land of the Amazons, falling in love with their beautiful leader, Hippolyta. Her boldness and sense of honor match his own, but though they’re happy and bear a son, tragedy lies ahead. The Athenians mistrust the foreign Hippolyta, and Theseus is forced to marry Phaedra, his betrothed. War wracks the land, and brings with it death that will change the Athenian king forever. As the darkness gathers, a valiant hero’s life draws poignantly to a close. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Mary Renault including rare images of the author.

The Nature of Alexander


Author: Mary Renault
Publisher: Open Road Media
ISBN: 1480432946
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 276
View: 6593

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An “intriguing and invaluable” biography of Alexander the Great by the novelist whose fiction redefined Ancient Greece (The New York Times). Acclaimed writer Mary Renault is widely known for her provocative historical novels of Alexander the Great and his lovers. But she also authored this nonfiction classic, a fresh, illuminating look at a man whose legend has remained larger than life for more than two thousand years. From his dysfunctional family dynamics to his molding under Aristotle, from his shocking rise to power at age twenty to the staggering violence of his military campaigns, Renault is clear-eyed about Alexander’s accomplishments and his flaws. Infectious in its enthusiasm, this is a penetrating study of an unrivaled conqueror, enduring icon, and fascinating man. Hailed as both “a splendid achievement in nonfiction” (The Plain Dealer) and “the perfect companion to her Alexander novels” (The Wall Street Journal), Renault’s engrossing and accessible biography stands alone in the pantheon of Alexander the Great literature. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Mary Renault including rare images of the author.

The King Must Die

A Novel
Author: Mary Renault
Publisher: Open Road Media
ISBN: 1480432881
Category: Fiction
Page: 338
View: 9574

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“Mary Renault is a shining light to both historical novelists and their readers. She does not pretend the past is like the present, or that the people of ancient Greece were just like us. She shows us their strangeness; discerning, sure-footed, challenging our values, piquing our curiosity, she leads us through an alien landscape that moves and delights us.” —Hilary Mantel In myth, Theseus was the slayer of the child-devouring Minotaur in Crete. What the founder-hero might have been in real life is another question, brilliantly explored in The King Must Die. Drawing on modern scholarship and archaeological findings at Knossos, Mary Renault’s Theseus is an utterly lifelike figure—a king of immense charisma, whose boundless strivings flow from strength and weakness—but also one steered by implacable prophecy. The story follows Theseus’s adventures from Troizen to Eleusis, where the death in the book’s title is to take place, and from Athens to Crete, where he learns to jump bulls and is named king of the victims. Richly imbued with the spirit of its time, this is a page-turner as well as a daring act of imagination. Renault’s story of Theseus continues with the sequel The Bull from the Sea. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Mary Renault including rare images of the author.

The Mask of Apollo


Author: Mary Renault
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780394751054
Category: Fiction
Page: 371
View: 2404

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Nikeratos, an actor of ancient Greece, greatly admires and devotes himself to Dion, a student of Plato, who is determined to bring democracy to Syracuse

English Passengers


Author: Matthew Kneale
Publisher: Anchor Canada
ISBN: 0385673698
Category: Fiction
Page: 464
View: 9845

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Narrated by over twenty distinct voices and full of dangerous humour, English Passengers combines wit, adventure and historical detail in a mesmerizing display of storytelling. When Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley and his band of smugglers have their contraband confiscated they are forced to put their ship, Sincerity, up for charter. The only takers are two Englishmen, the Reverend Geoffrey Wilson, who believes that the Garden of Eden was on the island of Tasmania, and Dr. Thomas Potter who is developing his sinister thesis concerning the races of man. Meanwhile an aboriginal in Tasmania, Peevay, recounts his people's struggles against the invading British. As the English passengers haplessly approach his land, their bizarre notions ever more painfully at odds with reality, we know a mighty collision is looming. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Writers as Readers

A Celebration of Virago Modern Classics
Author: Virago Press
Publisher: Hachette UK
ISBN: 0349008639
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 432
View: 2046

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Margaret Drabble | Beryl Bainbridge | Angela Carter | Maggie O'Farrell | Elizabeth Jane Howard | A. S. Byatt | Penelope Lively | Sarah Waters | Jonathan Coe | Diana Souhami | Jilly Cooper | Elizabeth Bowen | Mark Bostridge | Alexander McCall Smith | Sarah Dunant | Rachel Cooke | Zadie Smith | Anita Desai | Sophie Dahl | Clare Boylan | Paula McLain | Diana Athill | Marina Lewycka | Claire Messud | Michèle Roberts | Simon Russell Beale | Amanda Craig | Hilary Mantel | Elizabeth Taylor | Ali Smith | Linda Grant | Jane Gardam | Julie Burchill | Carmen Callil | Helen Oyeyemi | Marian Keyes | Nora Ephron | Sandi Toksvig | Kate Saunders Writers as Readers is a celebration of forty years of the Virago Modern Classics list. Started in 1978, Virago Modern Classics is dedicated to the rediscovery and championing of women writers, challenging the often narrow definition of 'classic'. In this collection, forty of the most significant writers of the past century tell us about one of their favourite writers by introducing books from the Virago Modern Classics collection, offering a glimpse at the treasures that have been published over the past four decades: they may be great works of literature; they may be wonderful period pieces; they may reveal particular aspects of women's lives; they may be classics of comedy, storytelling, diary-writing or autobiography.

Heartburn


Author: Nora Ephron
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307797902
Category: Fiction
Page: 192
View: 9839

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Is it possible to write a sidesplitting novel about the breakup of the perfect marriage? If the writer is Nora Ephron, the answer is a resounding yes. For in this inspired confection of adultery, revenge, group therapy, and pot roast, the creator of Sleepless in Seattle reminds us that comedy depends on anguish as surely as a proper gravy depends on flour and butter. Seven months into her pregnancy, Rachel Samstat discovers that her husband, Mark, is in love with another woman. The fact that the other woman has "a neck as long as an arm and a nose as long as a thumb and you should see her legs" is no consolation. Food sometimes is, though, since Rachel writes cookbooks for a living. And in between trying to win Mark back and loudly wishing him dead, Ephron's irrepressible heroine offers some of her favorite recipes. Heartburn is a sinfully delicious novel, as soul-satisfying as mashed potatoes and as airy as a perfect soufflé.

Harriet Said

A Novel
Author: Beryl Bainbridge
Publisher: Open Road Media
ISBN: 1504039904
Category: Fiction
Page: 186
View: 9929

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The infamous Parker–Hulme murder case inspired this frightening tale of adolescent transgression in an English seaside town. When a thirteen-year-old girl returns from boarding school to her small hometown in Merseyside for summer break, her best friend, Harriet, is not back yet, and she’s restless, anxious for something—anything—to happen. In this state of troubled anticipation, she visits the beach and encounters Peter Biggs, an elegant yet disheveled man in the throes of middle age and an unhappy marriage. A stirring inside of the budding woman makes her feel irresistibly attracted to this man . . . and simultaneously repulsed. But she doesn’t dare do anything about it until Harriet arrives. One year older and much more mischievous, Harriet returns to find her friend in a state of confused obsession. The two girls hatch a plan to “humble” Biggs. At Harriet’s command they proceed to methodically spy on him and his wife, manipulate his desires, and ensnare him in an act of incriminating humiliation, all on the premise that this will be their most daring summer yet. But the power these young women possess is perhaps more sinister and unwieldy than anyone realizes. Award-winning British author Beryl Bainbridge’s first novel, Harriet Said is loosely based on the Parker–Hulme teenage murder case in New Zealand dramatized in the Kate Winslet film Heavenly Creatures. It was originally completed in 1958; however, editors were so scandalized by its gruesome and amoral content that the book was not published until 1972. It has since become a horror classic.

Feminisms Redux

An Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism
Author: Diane Price Herndl
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
ISBN: N.A
Category: Feminism and literature
Page: 542
View: 8787

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


Author: Maya Angelou
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 030747772X
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 288
View: 6395

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Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age–and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns about love for herself and the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned. Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a modern American classic that will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read. From the Paperback edition.

The Last of the Wine

A Virago Modern Classic
Author: Mary Renault
Publisher: Virago
ISBN: 1405526254
Category: Fiction
Page: 416
View: 2221

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Athens and Sparta, the mighty city states of ancient Greece, locked together in a quarter century of conflict: the Peloponnesian War. Alexias the Athenian was born, passed through childhood and grew to manhood in those troubled years, that desperate and dangerous epoch when the golden age of Pericles was declining into uncertainty and fear for the future. Of good family, he and his friends are brought up and educated in the things of the intellect and in athletic and martial pursuits. They learn to hunt and to love, to wrestle and to question. And all the time his star of destiny is leading him towards the moment when he must stand alongside his greatest friend Lysis in the last great clash of arms between the cities.

The Mask of Apollo

A Virago Modern Classic
Author: Mary Renault
Publisher: Virago
ISBN: 140552619X
Category: Fiction
Page: 416
View: 5421

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Set in fourth-century B.C. Greece, The Mask of Apollo is narrated by Nikeratos, a tragic actor who takes with him on all his travels a gold mask of Apollo, a relic of the theatre's golden age, which is now past. At first his mascot, the mask gradually becomes his conscience, and he refers to it his gravest decisions, when he finds himself at the centre of a political crisis in which the philosopher Plato is also involved. Much of the action is set in Syracuse, where Plato's friend Dion is trying to persuade the young tyrant Dionysios the Younger to accept the rule of law. Through Nikeratos' eyes, the reader watches as the clash between the two unleashes all the pent-up violence in the city.

The Collected Stories


Author: Grace Paley
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 1466884010
Category: Fiction
Page: 386
View: 8170

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This reissue of Grace Paley's classic collection—a finalist for the National Book Award—demonstrates her rich use of language as well as her extraordinary insight into and compassion for her characters, moving from the hilarious to the tragic and back again. Whether writing about the love (and conflict) between parents and children or between husband and wife, or about the struggles of aging single mothers or disheartened political organizers to make sense of the world, she brings the same unerring ear for the rhythm of life as it is actually lived. The Collected Stories is a 1994 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.

A Far Cry from Kensington


Author: Muriel Spark
Publisher: New Directions Publishing
ISBN: 0811220141
Category: Fiction
Page: 192
View: 9363

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The fraying fringes of 1950s literary London Rich and slim, the celebrated author Nancy Hawkins takes us in hand and leads us back to her threadbare years in postwar London, where she spends her days working for a mad, near-bankrupt publisher (“of very good books”) and her nights dispensing advice at her small South Kensington rooming house. Everywhere Mrs. Hawkins finds evil: with aplomb, however, she confidently sets about putting things to order, to terrible effect.

Albert Nobbs

A Novella
Author: George Moore
Publisher: Penguin Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780143122524
Category: Fiction
Page: 112
View: 742

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While working at a hotel as a waiter, Albert Nobbs must share his bed with an out-of-town laborer who discovers his secret.

The Kingdom and the Cave


Author: Joan Aiken
Publisher: Virago
ISBN: 0349005885
Category: Juvenile Fiction
Page: 192
View: 4558

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'The Under People. They live in a huge Cave. They are thought to be boring upwards. Giant worms and flying ants. Underground magic.' Mickle, the palace cat, knows something is wrong. He can feel it in his whiskers. Then he finds scribbled notes revealing that the kingdom in danger. (Yes, of course he can read. And speak - when he chooses to!) Mickle can't trust the King and Queen with his mission, so he approaches Prince Michael and together, with the wise old mare Minerva, they set out on a perilous search to find the sinister Under People before they can invade Astalon.

Elizabeth and Her German Garden


Author: Elizabeth Arnim,Elizabeth Von Arnim
Publisher: Cosimo, Inc.
ISBN: 1596056770
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 232
View: 2039

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May 16th.-The garden is the place I go to for refuge and shelter, not the house. In the house are duties and annoyances, servants to exhort and admonish, furniture, and meals; but out there blessings crowd round me at every step-it is there that I am sorry for the unkindness in me, for those selfish thoughts that are so much worse than they feel; it is there that all my sins and silliness are forgiven, there that I feel protected and at home, and every flower and weed is a friend and every tree a lover. -from Elizabeth and Her German Garden First published anonymously in 1898, this beautiful chronicle of languid days spent in a rejuvenating Italian garden was a tremendous bestseller at the turn of the century, its cheerful satire and fresh charm endearing it to millions of readers. The first work of its author, the Countess Elizabeth von Arnim, it would form the basis of her extraordinary popularity as one of the most admired literary figures in Europe and "one of the three finest wits of her day." British novelist ELIZABETH VON ARNIM (1866-1941) wrote numerous books, including The Solitary Summer (the sequel to Elizabeth and Her German Garden) and the work she is best known for, Enchanted April.

The Blush and Other Stories


Author: Elizabeth Taylor
Publisher: Virago Modern Classics
ISBN: 9780860686729
Category: English fiction
Page: 217
View: 4265

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Short stories. Author pursues the nuances of ordinary life with compassion and wit.

Sapphira and the Slave Girl


Author: Willa Cather
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
ISBN: 0803214359
Category: Fiction
Page: 719
View: 3771

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Willa Cather’s twelfth and final novel, Sapphira and the Slave Girl, is her most intense fictional engagement with political and personal conflict. Set in Cather’s Virginia birthplace in 1856, the novel draws on family and local history and the escalating conflicts of the last years of slavery—conflicts in which Cather’s family members were deeply involved, both as slave owners and as opponents of slavery. Cather, at five years old, appears as a character in an unprecedented first-person epilogue. Tapping her earliest memories, Cather powerfully and sparely renders a Virginia world that is simultaneously beautiful and, as she said, “terrible.” The historical essay and explanatory notes explore the novel’s grounding in family, local, and national history; show how southern cultures continually shaped Cather’s life and work, culminating with this novel; and trace the progress of Cather’s research and composition during years of grief and loss that she described as the worst of her life. More early drafts, including manuscript fragments, are available for Sapphira and the Slave Girl than for any other Cather novel, and the revealing textual essay draws on this rich resource to provide new insights into Cather’s composition process.