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  • The Aspern Papers | Henry James

    The Aspern Papers

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Henry James
    • Narrated By Jeremy Northam
    Overall
    (3)
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    (3)
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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.

  • My Lady Ludlow | Elizabeth Gaskell

    My Lady Ludlow

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Gaskell
    • Narrated By Susannah York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
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    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.

  • Beowulf | Julian Glover

    Beowulf

    • ABRIDGED (1 hr and 14 mins)
    • By Julian Glover
    • Narrated By Julian Glover
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    The epic story of this hero’s battle against dragons, monsters, and their mothers is particularly suited to being recorded as an audiobook given that for the first 300 years of its existence it was only ever spoken. The first known (and indeed the only surviving manuscript) of the poem was written in AD 1,000. It survived Henry VIII’s attempts to destroy it (as a religious artifact) and a catastrophic fire that destroyed many other historical British documents.

    aaa says: "Beowulf"
  • The Dupin Mysteries | Edgar Allen Poe

    The Dupin Mysteries

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Edgar Allen Poe
    • Narrated By Bill Nighy
    Overall
    (3)
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    (2)
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    The three tales that make up Edgar Allan Poe's The Dupin Mysteries introduce us to the cracking character of Chevalier Auguste Dupin. As a rationalist and practitioner of brilliant deduction, he was to become the template for most of the detective fiction that followed speedily in his wake. The first tale, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", details a form of murder solving that was to become only too familiar.

    Barbara Murray says: "Bill Nighy is snsx"
  • 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
    Overall
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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 Water Babies | Charles Kingsley

    The Water Babies

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Charles Kingsley
    • Narrated By Nicola McAuliffe
    Overall
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    There are very few children's stories that have raised as much outrage in grown-up politics as The Water Babies did when it first appeared in 1863. It was written by Charles Kingsley for his own little boy and shortly after he had been made tutor to the Prince of Wales.

  • 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
    Overall
    (3)
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    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    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 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
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    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 Return of the Native | Thomas Hardy

    The Return of the Native

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Thomas Hardy
    • Narrated By Oliver Cotton
    Overall
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    Eustacia Vye's great desire in life was to be loved to madness, and in this, one of Thomas Hardy's best-loved novels, one of his most superb female characters conducts her wild and lethal campaign against her rival - the innocent, rather conventional Thomas - against the backdrop of Egdon Heath, the equally wild and lethal Dorset moorland on which Hardy grew up.

  • Fairy Stories |  Brothers Grimm

    Fairy Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Brothers Grimm
    • Narrated By Anna Massey
    Overall
    (2)
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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 Warden | Anthony Trollope

    The Warden

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Edward Fox
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
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    Anthony Trollope’s The Warden was the first of Trollope’s hugely successful Barchester Chronicles, appearing in 1855 and reversing the rather unfortunate sales of his previous three novels. It concerns the story of Mr. Septimus Harding, Warden of Hiram's Hospital almshouses and Precentor of Barchester Cathedral.

    Nike says: "Love the book"
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde | Robert Louis Stevenson

    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Narrated By Alan Howard
    Overall
    (1)
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    (1)
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    It was a nightmare from which he was furious to have been woken which triggered Robert Louis Stevenson's most successful and famous work. Having been stirred from what he termed 'a fine bogey tale', Stevenson set about putting his nightmare onto paper. It reputedly took him only three days to write, but the story of a split personality warring with itself between righteousness and immorality is as much a part of modern thought as it became in 1885.

  • 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
    (2)
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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"
  • Black Beauty | Anna Sewell

    Black Beauty

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Anna Sewell
    • Narrated By Colin Salmon
    Overall
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    This is one of the most famous children's books ever written. Since its publication in 1877, it has sold well over 30 million copies. It held the world record for sales far and above any other piece of children's literature for 130 years. It wasn’t, however, written for children - the story of the highly spirited and gorgeous black stallion and his transfer from owner to increasingly abusive owner until his final happy rescue was originally intended to be a campaigning work distributed to those who worked with horses.

  • The Just So Stories | Rudyard Kipling

    The Just So Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Rudyard Kipling
    • Narrated By Art Malik
    Overall
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    (1)
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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.

  • 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)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    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.

  • 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)
    Story
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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.

  • 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.

  • Joseph Andrews: The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and His Friend Mr. Abraham Adams | Henry Fielding

    Joseph Andrews: The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and His Friend Mr. Abraham Adams

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Henry Fielding
    • Narrated By Rufus Sewell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
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    (4)
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    Riotous, sexy and groundbreaking, Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews: The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and His Friend Mr. Abraham Adams, published in 1742, was one of the first English novels. Fielding was melding and parodying the two major forces battling for control of the fiction market at the time - the mock heroic, neoclassical tradition as practiced by Pope and Swift and the popular and populist fiction of the new novelists such as Defoe and Richardson.

    Meldorf says: "Wonderful! "
  • Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There | Lewis Carroll

    Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Lewis Carroll
    • Narrated By Julia McKenzie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
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    This is the story of Alice's second visit to Wonderland, where again every idea Alice has of logic and reason is logically and rationally challenged by her adventures. From the classic Red Queen, with her manic racing to enable her to stay exactly where she is, to the highly meaningful nonsense of the Jabberwocky, Alice's trip through the looking glass has provided us with a host of now familiar but no less teasing puzzles which somehow manage to give us a whole new reflection on 'normal' life.

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