The Nature of Alexander by Mary Renault


Alexander the Great, like his boyhood hero Achilles, traded long life for lasting fame. His fame has lasted — far longer than the knowledge of his world, which is needed to understand him. He has been seen by every age in terms of its own life style. Romance has wrapped him in fantasy. Propaganda has exploited him since the days of imperial Rome. He has been condemned for sins which to men of his time were merits, and credited with nineteenth-century virtues which his own culture despised. The aim of Mary Renault’s study has been to peel off from this complex and dynamic human being the accumulated layers of wishful thinking, both idealising and ideological, and show him not in our terms but his: as he saw himself, and was seen by his friends, his enemies, the men he led and the peoples he conquered. Mary Renault’s best-selling novels about Alexander, Fire from Heaven and The Persian Boy, have involved her in some years’ close study of his life. Crucial episodes which she has re-examined are the murder of his father Philip, in which he has been accused of complicity; the sack of Thebes; the death of his general Parmenion: and the wishes he expressed upon his deathbed. From a study of the medical evidence she has suggested important possibilities about Alexander’s death, and that of his lifelong friend Hephaestion. This hard-hitting, controversial biography, firmly based on the sources, challenges the ideological interpreters of Alexander, past and present, who have sought to wrench him out of the context of his era. The text is supported by carefully chosen illustrations, many of them specially commissioned, reproducing contemporary art, documents or reconstructions of events, and modern photographs of the territories Alexander covered in his travels.
Eileen Mary Challans, known by her pen name Mary Renault, was an English writer best known for her historical novels set in ancient Greece.

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A hard cover edition with sky blue boards, silver lettering and unclipped, illustrated dust cover. There is foxing and toning throughout but the text, black and white and colour illustrations are clear and legible. There is some rubbing to the edges of the dust cover and one tear at the bottom right hand corner and one tear at the back on the top left hand corner . Now in a clear plastic cover to protect from damage.

Publisher: Allen Lane, London.

Publication Date: 1975.

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Weight 0.935 kg
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