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The Mask of Apollo: A Novel by Mary Renault

The Mask of Apollo: A Novel (original 1966; edition 1988)

by Mary Renault (Author)

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1,1021411,409 (3.98)43
Title:The Mask of Apollo: A Novel
Authors:Mary Renault (Author)
Info:Vintage (1988), Edition: 1st Vintage Books ed, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, historical, unread

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The Mask of Apollo by Mary Renault (1966)

  1. 00
    Plato And Dionysius A Double Biography by Ludwig Marcuse (Thorwald_Franke)
    Thorwald_Franke: Both books tell the same story, but from a different perspective.

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Top notch fun! A real page turner that had me up well past my bed time, that took me back to Plato's world and helped me understand some of those issues. I'm no classical scholar so I can't judge the historical accuracy, but on the other hand I have read a few of Plato's dialogues and this book seemed to catch the right flavor.

Curiously relevant to modern times, too, sad to say. Politics doesn't really change over the millennia, nor human nature.

This was my introduction to Mary Renault. I am just delighted to have this territory open up for me! ( )
1 vote kukulaj | May 15, 2017 |
In one quintessentially Greek moment from this superb novel, the narrator recalls the story of a father of two Olympic champions. At the moment when his sons are crowned, the crowd chants to him to "Die now," because, of course, no moment of his life could ever again be so good.

So, in finishing The Mask of Apollo am I tempted to chant to myself: "Give up reading historical fiction now."

'Nuff said. ( )
1 vote JackMassa | Nov 23, 2016 |
Greece from the perspective of a very discerning actor's point of view. Renault writes historical fiction in such a way as to cause us to think that's how it might have been with wonderful detail and finely drawn characters. One of her best! ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Not as enamoured as I thought I'd be with this. Dion of Syracuse [philosopher from Plato's Academy] as seen through the eyes of Nikeratos [Niko}, a tragic actor. Making her protagonist [sounds like that was the ancient Greek word for the leading man in a play] an actor, Renault gave him the freedom to travel all over and comment. Also we got a great description of the nuts and bolts of the Greek theater [much Renault's conception but plausible]. I thought the story dragged until the sack of Syracuse until the end. ( )
  janerawoof | Dec 13, 2014 |
My introduction to Mary Renault was The King Must Die, the first of two novels about Theseus--it was actually assigned reading in high school. What impressed me so much there was how she took a figure out of myth and grounded him historically. After that I quickly gobbled up all of Renault's works of historical fiction set in Ancient Greece. The two novels about Theseus and the trilogy centered on Alexander the Great are undoubtedly her most famous of those eight novels, and I'd add The Last of the Wine, about the Peloponnesian War, as among her best.

By that standard this is one of Renault's, lesser, not as memorable, works. In a way, this feels like a sequel to The Last of the Wine. There Socrates was an important character, here it's Plato. I definitely got the feeling from Renault's novels that she had two historical passions: Alexander the Great and Plato, and the idea that the first was the embodiment of the second's ideal--or would have been, had he had a chance to shape him. The main focus of this novel though is Nikeratos, an Athenian born into the acting trade. And it's certainly interesting seeing the portrait of ancient Greek theater. And compared to much of historical fiction, this is still a marvel. I'd probably recommend The King Must Die as an introduction to Renault, then read the sequel, The Last of the Wine and the Alexander works before hitting this one--but this is definitely a pleasure. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | Aug 26, 2013 |
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Tears were for Hekabe, friend, and for Ilion's women,
Spun into the dark Web on the day of their birth,
But for you our hopes were great, and great the triumph,
Cancelled alike by the gods at the point of glory.
Now you lie in your own land, now all men honor you --
But I loved you, O Dion!
(Translated by Dudley Fitts)
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Not many people remember Lamprias now in Athens.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394751051, Paperback)

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 theater'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 center 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 looses all the pent-up violence in the city.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:18 -0400)

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.

(summary from another edition)

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