The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault
Longmans, Green & Co. edition, 1956. 1st Edition.
The Last of the Wine is Mary Renault’s first novel set in ancient Greece. The novel was published in 1956 and is the second of her works to feature male homosexuality as a major theme. This stand-alone story is a portrait of Athens at the close of the Golden Age and the end of the Peloponnesian War with Sparta and includes Socrates as a character.
Alexias, a young Athenian of good family, comes of age during the last phases of the Peloponnesian War. The adult world he enters is one in which the power and influence of his class have been undermined by the forces of war. Alexias finds himself drawn to the controversial teachings of Socrates, following him even though it at times endangers both his own life and his family’s place in society.
Among the great teacher’s followers Alexias meets Lysis, and the two youths become inseparable – together they wrestle in the palaestra, journey to the Olympic Games, and fight in the wars against Sparta. As their relationship develops against the background of famine, siege and civil conflict, Mary Renault expertly conveys the intricacies of classical Greek culture.
The interior of the book is clean and tight, with no marks or signatures. The "First Printed 1956" statement is present on the copyright page. The brown covers are fresh, with very light wear at tips and corners. Coinsidering the book is 64 years old the dust jacket is in Very Good condition, with only a delicate 1 cm tear in top front corner plus three very minor 3mm tears on the back cover. There is some light creasing along the lenght of the left front side of the book where it has been held open to read by a previous owner. All in all it's in very good shape.
Imprint: Longmans, Green & Co., London
Publication Date: 1956