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  • 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)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    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"
  • 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"
  • Evelina | Frances Burney

    Evelina

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Frances Burney
    • Narrated By Judi Dench, Finty Williams, Geoffrey Palmer
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    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.

  • 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
    (5)

    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
    (1)
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    (0)
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    (0)

    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.

  • Silas Marner | George Eliot

    Silas Marner

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By George Eliot
    • Narrated By Sian Phillips
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Framed for a theft he didn’t commit and expelled from the church which has been his life, Silas Marner, the weaver, exiles himself to the remote rural village of Raveloe to bury himself in making money with his loom. The arrival of a golden-haired orphan toddler at his door, however, drags the recluse back into the world and away from his obsession with his hoard.

    Alphaville says: "A welcome return to George Eliot"
  • The Man of Property | John Galsworthy

    The Man of Property

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By John Galsworthy
    • Narrated By Michael Cochrane
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    The Man of Property, the first in the long series of novels written by John Galsworthy known as the Forsyte Saga, was written in 1906. It was the second novel that Galsworthy had published under his own name, the four novels previous to this being published privately under the pseudonym John Sinjohn. And, unlike its predecessors, it was a great success. It examined and dissected the habits, manners, snobberies and increasingly suffocating moral code of the upper-middle classes to which he belonged.

  • A Study in Scarlet | Arthur Conan Doyle

    A Study in Scarlet

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Narrated By Richard E. Grant
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    In 1886 Arthur Conan Doyle, whilst struggling to make a success of a failing medical practice in Portsmouth, set about writing a novel in order to boost his income. He began a story about a fiercely intelligent sleuth called Sheridan Hope. A year later A Study in Scarlet was published, and one of the most successful of literary characters began to take hold of the public's affections.

  • 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)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    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.

    Anfisa says: "Humour at its best"
  • The Chronicles of Clovis | H. H. Munro - Saki

    The Chronicles of Clovis

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By H. H. Munro - Saki
    • Narrated By Ian Richardson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    The Chronicles of Clovis, published in 1911, was the third in Saki (H. H. Munro)'s series of very funny and very vicious stories. As an insider, Saki was ideally poised to eviscerate the Edwardian middle class way of life, and his pitiless and magnetic sense of humour - teamed with an ability to wield that sharpest of writer's tools, the (very) short story - makes these some of the funniest and most quotable of tales. All of the running themes in Saki's work are here.

    Hawfinch says: "The Joy of Saki"
  • The Just So Stories | Rudyard Kipling

    The Just So Stories

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

    '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 Prologue to the Canterbury Tales | Geoffrey Chaucer

    The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

    • UNABRIDGED (59 mins)
    • By Geoffrey Chaucer
    • Narrated By Terry Jones
    Overall
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    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.

  • The Card | Arnold Bennett

    The Card

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Arnold Bennett
    • Narrated By Stephen Thompkinson
    Overall
    (2)
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    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Written in 1911, The Card is the story of Edward Henry (Denry) Machin, who rises from washerwoman's son to the Mayor of Bursley (Burslem in the Potteries town of Stoke-on-Trent) via a mixture of gentle deceit and personal hype. He is literally a trickster of confidence. His rise to fame is begun at an exclusive ball to which he has got himself invited, where he has the audacity to claim a dance with the glamourous but imposing Countess of Chell.

  • Northanger Abbey | Jane Austen

    Northanger Abbey

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Lynn Redgrave
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    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.

    Esteban says: "Bath as a marriage market..."
  • The Aspern Papers | Henry James

    The Aspern Papers

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

    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.

  • 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)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    '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"
  • Fairy Stories |  Brothers Grimm

    Fairy Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Brothers Grimm
    • Narrated By Anna Massey
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    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.

  • A Christmas Carol | Charles Dickens

    A Christmas Carol

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By George Cole
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without A Christmas Carol. At the time Dickens was writing it, many of the time-honoured customs linked with Christmas were beginning to disappear. It is largely due to this book that we carry with us much of the imagery that is now associated with the traditional celebration and spirit of Christmas.

  • 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.

  • Sonnets from the Portuguese | Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    Sonnets from the Portuguese

    • UNABRIDGED (41 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Barrett Browning
    • Narrated By Jane Horrocks
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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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.

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