When the crew of the Oceanus rescued a man close to death, its captain could barely have guessed at the incredible story that man would come to share. This is the story of Victor Frankenstein: a man obsessed with discovering the secret of life and cheating death; a man who brings to life to a body built from corpses; and a man who rejects this would-be child.... Soon Victor and his creature are entangled in a dangerous game of cat and mouse across Europe. But who is truly the monster?
Toby Stephens and Juliet Aubrey star in a BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Wilkie Collins' chilling Gothic drama. A lonely stretch of road on Hampstead Heath is the venue for Walter Hartright's midnight first encounter with a mysteriously distressed figure in white. As he helps the woman to escape from unnamed pursuers, he has little understanding of the way she will affect his future. At Limmeridge House in Cumberland, Walter meets and falls in love with Laura, who strangely resembles the woman in white.
Featuring a fictional version of himself - 'Marcel' - and a host of friends, acquaintances, and lovers, In Search of Lost Time is Proust's search for the key to the mysteries of memory, time, and consciousness. As he recalls his childhood days, the sad affair of Charles Swann and Odette de Crecy, his transition to manhood, the tortures of love and the ravages of war, he realises that the simplest of discoveries can lead to astonishing possibilities.
"BBC does Proust proud"
There is now no doubt that not only is Waiting for Godot the outstanding play of the 20th century, but it is also Samuel Beckett's masterpiece. Yet it is both a popular text to be studied at school and an enigma. The scene is a country road. There is a solitary tree. It is evening. Two tramp-like figures, Vladimir and Estragon, exchange words. Pull off boots. Munch a root vegetable. Two other curious characters enter. And a boy. Time passes. It is all strange yet familiar.
"Stay go leave stay...it's all the same"
The major texts of Western culture are a gateway to wisdom that can widen your views on self and society in enduring ways. And now you can examine its most important works - whether drama, poetry, or narrative - in this series of 64 penetrating lectures that reveal astonishing common ground.
"Interesting, Informative English Literature course"
Samantha Spiro, David Troughton, and Amanda Root are among the cast of this new BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of Jane Austen's famous novel. Mrs Bennet is determined to see her five daughters married off and secure a future for them all. When the wealthy Mr Bingley arrives in the neighbourhood, Mrs Bennet wastes no time in making his acquaintance. His friend Mr Darcy, however, discourages Mr Bingley from marrying Jane Bennet, and also appears to snub her sister Elizabeth.
Ever since the first night at the St James' Theatre on 14 February 1895, The Importance of Being Earnest has been recognised as one of the world's finest comic dramas. Now Judi Dench as Lady Bracknell leads an outstanding cast in this superb new production of Wilde's masterpiece, mounted to celebrate the centenary of the first performance.
"I could never marry a man called Earnest!"
Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight! When young Jim Hawkins unexpectedly inherits a treasure map, he little knows what adventures await him. Pursued by pirates, betrayed by friends and beset by skulduggery, Jim must brave high seas and low cunning before he reaches the shores of Treasure Island. His fellow treasure hunters include the inflexible Captain Smollett, the indefatigable Doctor Livesey and the irrepressible Squire Trelawney.
"Really good fun "
A new recording of Henrik Ibsen's masterpiece, starring Calista Flockhart. Nora Helmer has everything a young housewife could want: beautiful children, an adoring husband, and a bright future. But when a carelessly buried secret rises from the past, Nora's well-calibrated domestic ideal starts to crumble. Ibsen's play is as fresh today as it was when it first stormed the stages of 19th-century Europe.
"Captivating performance of a classic drama"
Frederick Jaeger stars in a BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of the legend that has haunted the imagination of millions for over a hundred years! Summoned to the forbidden heart of the Carpathian mountains, in the depths of Transylvania, Jonathan Harker journeys to Castle Dracula. There he becomes the unwitting prisoner of the mysterious nobleman whom local legend insists is nosferatu, the vampire...
Four classic comedies from one of the wittiest playwrights in Western literature: Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, all featuring star-studded casts with the likes of Jacqueline Bisset, Miriam Margolyes, James Marsters, Alfred Molina, Roger Rees, Yeardley Smith, Eric Stoltz, and many more. Also includes a chilling dramatization of Wilde's sole novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Four chilling episodes from the famous 1940s BBC radio series, introduced by Valentine Dyall, AKA The Man in Black. These are the four sole surviving episodes from the BBC archive: 'The Pit and the Pendulum' by Edgar Allan Poe (18/9/1943); 'The Speaking Clock' by John Dickson Carr (13/4/1944); 'The Clock Strikes Eight' by John Dickson Carr(18/5/1944); 'And The Deep Shuddered' by Monckton Hoffe (20/11/1945). Amongst the cast are Marjorie Westbury, Marius Goring and Gladys Spencer.
Hedda Gabler, the daughter of a deceased General, marries dull George Tesman and foresees a life of middle class tedium stretching ahead when they return from their honeymoon. Increasingly, she is drawn into the clutches of her admirer, Judge Brack, who seeks to establish a ménage a trois. Then the brilliant but dissolute Eilert Lovborg, a former flame, arrives to rival her husband for an academic post.
Written in 1593, King Richard III is one of Shakespeare's earliest plays. This play differs from its predecessors, being amore structured piece, examining the development and motivations of a single character, Richard Duke of Gloucester, who will stop at nothing to gain control of the throne occupied by his brother Edward IV.
A classic staged performance of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by the Old Vic Company. Starring Claire Bloom and Alan Bandel.
The brave warrior Macbeth allows himself to be persuaded by Lady Macbeth, his wife, to slay good King Duncan and seize the throne of Scotland for himself. Macbeth achieves his ambition, but one murder proves not to be enough as he desperately attempts to eliminate all who might threaten his ill-gotten power. Descending into paranoia, Macbeth achieves his ambition but ravages his soul.
Telling his followers he is leaving the city on affairs of state, the Duke of Vienna appoints the puritanical Angelo to govern in his absence. Will Angelo prove as virtuous as he seems once power is in his hands? Roaming the city disguised as a friar, the duke looks on as Angelo's lust for the virtuous Isabella sweeps him into the corruption he has so sternly condemned in others. The duke's manipulation at last produces a happy ending for this dark comedy, with its brilliant exploration of the themes of justice and mercy.
Fanny Burney's wickedly funny satire follows the trials and romantic adventures of the young and beautiful Evelina as she tries to make her way through 18th-century Britain handicapped by her three great problems: being poor, being illegitimate - and being a girl. Evelina was a raging best seller when it was first published in 1778 and is widely credited with being the first of the great British domestic novels. Burney was a direct influence on her immediate follower, Jane Austen.
Joss Ackland, Roger Allam, and Leslie Phillips star in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Victor Hugo's classic novel. When poverty drives Jean Valjean to steal a loaf of bread from a baker's window, it is an action that will haunt him for the rest of his life. A citizen of postrevolutionary France, he is sentenced to nineteen years' hard labour.
"Radio doing what it does best"
The focus of the book is on Shakespeare's London, how it influenced his drama, and how he represents it on stage. Taking listeners on an imaginative journey through the city, the book moves both chronologically, from beginning to end of Shakespeare's dramatic career, and geographically, traversing London from west to east.
No wonder this was one of Helen Hayes' favorite roles! Plain Maggie works behind the scenes for the man she loves while he never suspects that it is she who is making him successful in his career. Enter "the other woman"....
Initially published in 1914, Papa was the first major dramatic work by playwright and poet Zoë Akins (1886-1958). A subtle but quietly savage comedy of manners, the play was not a commercial success but has since come to be regarded as a masterpiece. As a skillfully drawn portrait of genteel corruption, it ranks with the works of masters of dramatic satire like Moliere and Oscar Wilde.
Christopher Marlowe's play about a man who sells his soul to the devil is not only one of the first of many works to explore this theme but also one of the most startling. Eschewing the usual division of the drama into acts, it presents the story of Faustus' fall in a series of apparently disconnected scenes. However, the integrity of the drama is maintained by the remorseless unraveling of Faustus' fortunes as he approaches his inevitable damnation.
Join "The Knave" and Sir Walter on a wild tale of mistaken identity, kidnapping, bowling, and a rug that, in faith, really tied the room together - in a sidesplitting Shakespearean comedy of errors and ninepins, told in five glorious acts of iambic pentameter and impeccable period prose.
The earls of Essex and Southampton are tried together for high treason before a jury of the noblest peers. Pleading not guilty, they strive in angry and arrant disputation with Attorney General Edward Coke and Francis Bacon. This drama is the third part of an Aeschylean trilogy and maintains the classical form of tragedy in English, with seven scenes of dialogue and seven choral performances.
Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales is one of the most influential pieces of writing in the British literary cannon. It helped to establish English, rather than Latin or Norman French, as an acceptable language for literature. It was also one of the earliest pieces of work to have story linking - what had previously been just collected writings which the author deemed interesting.
Lady Ludlow's appalling snobbery, prejudice and bred-in-the-bone conviction as to the superiority of the English aristocracy and their feudal way of life are deliciously tested, and found wanting, in this gently radical tale of the collapse of a social system. Elizabeth Gaskell's My Lady Ludlow is a brilliant picture of the shift in power in a rural northern village, from the velvety feudal Ludlows to the glitter of the new money rattling through the system courtesy of the brazen baker from Birmingham.
In his own inimitable style, Terry Jones leads you through Chaucer's filthy and very funny tale of adultery, the feared coming of the second flood and burnt bums. The Canterbury Tales broke the literary mould in many ways. It established English as an acceptable language for literature, where previously it had been almost exclusively Latin or Norman French. It was also one of the first books to create a link between all the pieces of work in a literary collection.