P.J. Conradie


In research devoted to the Naehleben of the Classics too little_attention has been given to
novels dealing with classical myths and history, perhaps because they have been regarded
as too "popular". This attitude, however, is mistaken, for these novels have aroused great
interest in readers who do not ordinarily come into contact with classical civilisation. The
treatment of the Classics in these novels varies. On the one hand there are the novels
which deal indirectly with ancient myth and history, mainly by means of allusions, e.g.
The secret history by Donna Tartt which is discussed in this issue. On the other hand there
are novelists who try to describe the mythical or historical events as realistically as
possible. Among the novelists of the second group Mary Renault (pseudonym of Mary
Challans) occupies a prominent position, and a recent book by David Sweetman, Mary
Renault, a biography (London: Chatto & Windus, 1993), has again drawn attention to her
achievement in this field.

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ISSN 2079-2883 (online); ISSN 0303-1896 (print)

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