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  • The Snow Queen and Other Fairy Stories | Hans Christian Andersen

    The Snow Queen and Other Fairy Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Hans Christian Andersen
    • Narrated By Greta Scacchi
    Overall
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    Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales have become so much a part of the Western culture that they are often assumed to be a part of folklore and not credited to the strange and gangling Dane who wrote them. Several years before the fairy tales came out, the Brothers Grimm had published their tales taken from the folklore of European stories, but Andersen was to change the understanding of what a tale can achieve.

  • Ivanhoe | Walter Scott

    Ivanhoe

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Walter Scott
    • Narrated By James Cosmo
    Overall
    (7)
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    This is one of Sir Walter Scott’s greatest adventures, set amongst the roaring battles of the struggle between the Normans and the Saxons for control of medieval England. It deals with the rivalry between King Richard the Lion-Heart and his brother, John. We follow the adventures, skirmishes and romances of the hero, Ivanhoe, a Saxon knight loyal to King Richard, as he attempts to survive the England of King John alongside the disguised Richard and, of course, Robin Hood.

    Amazon Customer says: "Great narration"
  • Northanger Abbey | Jane Austen

    Northanger Abbey

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Lynn Redgrave
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    This is Jane Austen's lighthearted lesson in what you get for reading too many gothic novels. It is a mark of the astonishing talent of the woman, however, that even a flippant swipe at the trashy reading of the day turned out to be an elegant if extremely funny classic. Catherine Morland is another one of those Austen girls who, in spite of her gloriously ironic portrait as a romantic heroine in training, ends up being someone whose story you'd follow to the end of the world, or at least until the end of the book.

  • Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog | Jerome K Jerome

    Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jerome K Jerome
    • Narrated By Nickolas Grace
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    Three Men in a Boat was intended to be a serious travel guide. It failed dismally in this respect but succeeded in becoming an hilarious account of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford. The three men were based on the author and two of his friends. The holiday was a typical boating holiday of its time, carried out on what was known as a Thames camping skiff. The dog, Montmorency, however, was entirely fictional, but, as Jerome remarked, 'had much of me in it'.

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray | Oscar Wilde

    The Picture of Dorian Gray

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By Crispin Bonham-Carter
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    The most personal of Oscar Wilde's works, The Picture of Dorian Grey was also one of the earliest. It was published in 1891 and caused immediate controversy and great notoriety for its writer. The story of an immensely beautiful and hedonistic boy whose conscience becomes separate from his body and housed in a portrait which slowly and hideously ages and decays in keeping with his increasing depravity whilst the boy himself remains untouched plays with all of Oscar Wilde's theories of art and life.

  • The Aspern Papers | Henry James

    The Aspern Papers

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Henry James
    • Narrated By Jeremy Northam
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    One of the wittiest and most scathing of Henry James' novellas, The Aspern Papers chronicles the attempt to extract the valuable letters of the famous and recently deceased poet Jeffrey Aspern from the hands of his past lover and formidable adversary in the battle Juliana Bordereau. The plot was reputedly suggested to James by a story he heard of an illicit attempt to get hold of several of Lord Byron's letters.

  • Heart of Darkness | Joseph Conrad

    Heart of Darkness

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Joseph Conrad
    • Narrated By Toby Stephens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
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    (6)
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    Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is an exploration of the nature of evil and how far a man can go towards it when released from the constraints of what can be called civilisation. Before beginning his life as a writer at the age of 36, Conrad spent 16 years as a merchant seaman. In 1889 he became captain of a steamboat in the Congo Free State, and the atrocities he witnessed there, perpetrated by the representatives of the Belgian colonial powers, led him to write what he called his Congo Diary.

  • Tom Brown's Schooldays | Thomas Hughes

    Tom Brown's Schooldays

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Thomas Hughes
    • Narrated By Hugh Bonneville
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
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    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    The story of young Tom Brown's seemingly hideous years spent at rugby school and his spirited and astonishingly stalwart response to the institutionalised bullying prevalent at the 'Great' British public schools became exactly the campaigning tool its author hoped it would. The regimes at these schools had been largely unchallenged, with the assumption being that the education and training received were the best.

    D says: "Unexpectedly brilliant"
  • The Railway Children | Edith Nesbit

    The Railway Children

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Edith Nesbit
    • Narrated By Margaret Tyzak
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    'My Daddy! My Daddy!' has become one of the most famous tearjerking lines. Bobby's cry as her father's figure appears through the mist of the steam train in this story of a family's stalwart struggle to keep calm and carry on when forced by the wrongful arrest of their father on spying charges to move from their idyllic life to a rundown cottage by a railway line has jerked the tears of generations of readers (and, in latter years, filmgoers and theatre audiences).

  • The Diary of a Nobody | George Grossmith

    The Diary of a Nobody

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By George Grossmith
    • Narrated By Geoffrey Palmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    Written as the diary of someone who would not normally merit a memoir but considers that he should have one written about him anyway, The Diary of a Nobody chronicles in agonizing but very funny detail everyday life in the lower middle class suburbs of Victorian England and the attempts of a social climber to better himself. It was published in 1892. First published in the satirical magazine Punch as a serial between 1888 and 1889, with illustrations by the author’s brother, Weedon.

    nick says: "Everyone should read or hear this!"
  • The Real Thing and Other Stories | Henry James

    The Real Thing and Other Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Henry James
    • Narrated By Jeremy Northam
    Overall
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    Illusion and love - two of James' favourite things - grin thorough this collection of funny and wicked tales. The illusion of social class, a favourite stamping ground for James, is explored in the glittering social comedy "The Real Thing", first published in 1892, in which an artist attempts vainly to capture the nature of aristocracy via painting what he takes to be 'real' members of that social group.

  • Washington Square | Henry James

    Washington Square

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Henry James
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ehle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (5)
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    The battle between a father and a daughter is usually portrayed in literature as a struggle between a headstrong but feisty girl and a tradition-bound lead weight of a father. Henry James, of course, had to do it somewhat differently. He tells a story of an intelligent man riding the turn of the tide in mid-19th-century New York and watching what he sees as his numbingly dull and conventional daughter making the mistake of her life in her choice of husband.

  • Fairy Stories |  Brothers Grimm

    Fairy Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Brothers Grimm
    • Narrated By Anna Massey
    Overall
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    These fairy tales are nasty. This is the land of goblins and sorceresses, with serious lines in revenge, not the land of unicorns and once upon a Barbie. The tales that the Brothers Grimm collected during their time as linguistics professors, first at the University of Göttingen and then in Berlin, at the request of the King of Prussia, were an attempt to map the folklore of the German-speaking people.

  • The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker | Tobias Smollett

    The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Tobias Smollett
    • Narrated By June Whitfield, Suzy Aitchison, Hywel Simons, and others
    Overall
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    Written as the letters of the five members of Squire Bramble's household sent as they journey around Britain, The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker is a grouchy, very funny examination of how one story varies depending on who's doing the telling. The tale is centered around the arrival of Mr. Clinker into the otherwise uneventful household, who never speaks and does not even enter the novel until a third of the way through.

  • The Pavilion on the Links | Robert Louis Stevenson

    The Pavilion on the Links

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Narrated By Alan Howard
    Overall
    (3)
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    Robert Louis Stevenson's lengthy short story 'The Pavilion on the Links' was considered by Arthur Conan Doyle to be 'the first short story in the world'. This unsettlingly nerve-racking tale is every bit as chilling as its much wider known follower, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and at the time of its publication was every bit as successful. Stevenson makes the choice in the story of having two fairly unpleasant characters for his main protagonists.

  • In the Bleak Midwinter, Goblin Market and Other Poems | Christina Rosetti

    In the Bleak Midwinter, Goblin Market and Other Poems

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 55 mins)
    • By Christina Rosetti
    • Narrated By Natascha McElhone
    Overall
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    A collection of Rosetti's most well known and loved poetry. Alongside the famous beauty of Rosetti's 'In the Bleak Midwinter', 'Goblin Market' is a deceptively simple poem. The story of two sisters and their temptation, punishment and redemption, written in Christina Rosetti's characteristically songlike poetry, is easily passed over as a fable or fairy story. But there are several layers more to discover in this most intriguing of poems.

  • The Rape of the Lock and Other Poems | Alexander Pope

    The Rape of the Lock and Other Poems

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Alexander Pope
    • Narrated By Emilia Fox
    Overall
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    'The Rape of the Lock' was one of Alexander Pope's most popular poems. It was a satirical attempt to reconcile the real-life warring of two Catholic families whose feud had started with the supposed nicking of a lock of hair from the undeniably beautiful head of Arabella Fermor by her admirer, Lord Petre.

    Stewart Gardiner says: "Great reading: selection of poems could be better"
  • Sonnets from the Portuguese | Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    Sonnets from the Portuguese

    • UNABRIDGED (41 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Barrett Browning
    • Narrated By Jane Horrocks
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    The love affair between Elizabeth Barrett-Browning and Robert Browning is one of the most famous in literature. It begins in 1844 with Elizabeth Barrett, closeted in her room for five years through ill health and forbidden from marrying by her nonconformist father, publishing the most recent of her highly successful literary works, a collection of poetry. The poems prompt a letter from Robert Browning in praise of her work, which so touches her that she agrees to let him into her voluntary seclusion.

  • The Just So Stories | Rudyard Kipling

    The Just So Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Rudyard Kipling
    • Narrated By Art Malik
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    'In the high and far off times...' begins Rudyard Kipling’s 'How the Elephant Got His Trunk', and off we are taken by one of the most supreme storytellers into a world where children’s questions are turned neatly on their heads, and questions are provided which, far from stopping the stream of enquiries, only serve to make it gush faster.

  • A Lodging for the Night | Robert Louis Stevenson

    A Lodging for the Night

    • UNABRIDGED (56 mins)
    • By Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Narrated By Alan Howard
    Overall
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    In A Lodging for the Night, a dissolute Parisian student finds himself forced into accepting the favours of a venerable and respected knight on a cold winter's evening in 1456. The ensuing dinner conversation is spellbinding.

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