Homer's Iliad and Odyssey are unquestionably two of the greatest epic masterpieces in Western literature. Though more than 2,700 years old, their stories of brave heroics, capricious gods, and towering human emotions are vividly timeless. The Iliad can justly be called the world's greatest war epic. The terrible and long-drawn-out siege of Troy remains one of the classic campaigns. The Odyssey chronicles the many trials and adventures Odysseus must pass through on his long journey home from the Trojan wars to his beloved wife.
One of the greatest works in literature, Dante's story-poem is an allegory that represents mankind as it exposes itself, by its merits or demerits, to the rewards or the punishments of justice. A single listen will reveal Dante's visual imagination and uncanny power to make the spiritual visible.
Paradise Lost, along with its companion piece, Paradise Regained, remain the most successful attempts at Greco-Roman style epic poetry in the English language. Remarkably enough, they were written near the end of John Milton's amazing life, a bold testimonial to his mental powers in old age. And, since he had gone completely blind in 1652, 15 years prior to Paradise Lost, he dictated it and all his other works to his daughter.
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.
The classic translation of The Odyssey, now in an unabridged audio edition. Robert Fitzgerald's translation of Homer's Odyssey is the best and best-loved modern translation of the greatest of all epic poems. Since 1961, this Odyssey has sold more than two million copies, and it is the standard translation for three generations of students and poets.
In words remarkable for their richness of rhythm and imagery, Milton tells the story of man's creation, fall, and redemption, "to justify the ways of God to men". Here, unabridged, and told with exceptional sensitivity and power by Anton Lesser, is the plight of Adam and Eve, the ambition and vengefulness of Satan and his cohorts.
Anger be now your song, immortal one, Akhilleus' anger, doomed and ruinous, that caused the Akhaians loss on bitter loss and crowded brave souls into the undergloom, leaving so many dead men-carrion for dogs and birds; and the will of Zeus was done. (Lines 1-6)
Graeme Malcolm, Eric Stoltz, and other accomplished actors bring life to the words of the world's favorite poets, including William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
This varied, well-chosen selection brings onto one audiobook the best of Dylan Thomas. Here is the legendary recording of "Under Milk Wood", with Richard Burton and Richard Bebb as narrators; but here also are two radio productions he wrote before that great classic, and though interesting in their own right, they show how "Under Milk Wood" grew gradually in his imagination.
"close your eyes and spoil yourself"
Richard Burton reads from Hardy and Donne, and performs a wonderful unabridged version of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (along with Robert Hardy and John Neville).
"Could have been perfect"
William Blake is now considered one of the giants of poetry. During his life, and for many years after, he was thought of as mad. His wide ranging skills not only encompassed poetry but bestrode the visual arts too, with paintings and printmaking. Unfortunately, he could never fit in to what society expected of him, and his attacks on religion did not help. But his work was the true measure of his worth and remains with us today.
"First rate recording, recommended to read along to"
Acerbic wit and stinging satire are contrasted with delicate sensibility and passionate desire in the work of the Latin poet Catullus. Armed with an urbane sophistication and an aristocratic circle of friends, Catullus moved about easily in the upper ranks of Roman society and was acquainted with Cicero, Caesar, and Pompey among others.
These are masterly readings, by renowned thespian Paul Schofield, of two substantial works of poetry by T.S. Eliot.
"The 20th century"
Beautifully performed poetry enhanced with music. Detailed commentary and analysis from experts. A fantastic introduction to classic poetry, allowing listeners to begin to appreciate and criticise form and content themselves.
Virgil's Aeneid, one of the greatest classical poems, tells the story of Aeneas, son of Priam, after the fall of Troy. His quest is to find the site "in the west" where he will found a new town prophesied to be the seat of a world empire: Rome.
William Butler Yeats remains one of the most popular poets of the 20th century.
"The Lake Isle of Innisfree," "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven," "Down by the Salley Gardens," "The Secret Rose": these are just a few of the poems that made William Butler Yeats an international figure. Born in Dublin in 1865, Yeats drew strength from the Irish tradition, as can be seen in this special audiobook, which presents the most important poems in the context of his life and ambitions.
"An entertaining listen"
Poetry can capture the imagination in a few short lines but narrative verse or poetry takes the form of telling a story whether it be simple or complex in a longer form. Among the most ancient forms of poetry it has widespread roots through almost every culture. In Volume 1 we bring you 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol' - Oscar Wilde; 'The Highwayman' - Alfred Noyes; and 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' - Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Byron's Don Juan is a comic masterpiece written in a satirical, mock heroic style. Based on the legend of Don Juan, (which is here pronounced JOO-AN), Byron completely reverses the portrayal of Juan, instead showing him as someone easily seduced by women instead of seducing them. He called this form of poetry "epic satire". It is generally considered to be Byron's masterpiece.
This highly entertaining anthology of verse is the comic, tragic, tender, and telling story of life's seven ages, from childhood to old age. Within the framework of Shakespeare's speech, "The Seven Ages of Man," performed by Sir Ian McKellen, are 150 great poems from all ages, from Chaucer to Emily Dickinson to Walt Whitman and many others. The poem are presented by the finest cast ever assembled on one recording and includes Ralph Fiennes, Dame Judi Dench, John Cleese, Michael Caine, and more.
"IF", a poem by Rudyard Kipling, is a timeless gem that recently reemerged in popular culture when it was put to music in Joni Mitchell's 2007 release. In the poem, a father gives advice to his son.
This short poem should be required listening between father and son. Here are profound bits of wisdom and common sense that can help any young boy strive to be more of a man. Reimagined here as something akin to cowboy poetry, the poem is performed by Glenn Hascall.
Who but Mark Twain could express humor about the obituaries? In the end, however, we come face to face with an editorial bent Twain discovered (or slightly embellished) in postmortem poetry. An odd bit of honor, humor, and an example of what not to share in an obituary from one of the greatest American writers. Narrated by Glenn Hascall.
Poems by Emily Dickinson is a compilation of the poetry of Emily Dickinson in three different series, each composed of the following subjects: Life, Love, Nature, Time, and Eternity.
The notoriously reclusive New England poet broke all the rules of Victorian-era poetry to create a new, uniquely American style. Despite the fact that the majority of the poems recited here were never published in her lifetime, Dickinson remains one of the most influential voices in American literature.
Homer's epic poem, written near the end of eighth century BC in Greece, follows the hero Odysseus as he journeys home after the fall of Troy. Many scholars believe that The Odyssey was originally composed as an oral tradition and was more likely meant to be heard than read, making it a great listen.
A collection of poems written by the revered American poet, essayist, and journalist. Included are selections from this most famous work, Leaves of Grass, as well as Drum Taps and Songs of Parting.
Commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature, Beowulf is an epic poem that traces the exploits of the titular hero. After coming to the aid of the king of the Danes, whose mead hall is under constant attack by the monster Grendel, Beowulf slays Grendel's mother and goes on to become the king of the Geats.