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European Literature

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Jefferson

Jefferson Jonan-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Japan Member Since 2010

I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

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  • ""I love to hear the truth""

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    Performance
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    Anton Chekhov's The Kiss and the Duel and Other Stories translated by Constance Garnett (1916-1923) is an excellent collection. Each story features a crisis in some human relationship: between strangers in "The Kiss" (1887), when a bespectacled, lynx-whiskered, milquetoast army officer is mistakenly kissed by an unknown woman in a dark room at a tea party; enemies in "The Duel" (1891) when a coldly superior botanist challenges a lazy, spoiled, and amoral intellectual official to a duel; brother and sister in "Excellent People" (1886), when a listless sister who has always worshiped her wannabe literary figure brother begins asking him about the principle of non-resistance to evil; dupes and vamp in "Mire" (1886), when a younger cousin and his older cousin take turns visiting a cynical and mercurial Jewess who owes one of them money; brother, sister, and friend in "Neighbours" (1892), when a young country gentleman rides to confront his beloved sister and the idealistic and pathetic married man she's run away to live with; and royal and subject in "The Princess" (1889), when a spoiled princess who believes she's an angel dispensing light and joy to humanity asks a doctor she's fired to tell her the truth about her mistakes.

    To explain the crisis and prepare for the climax of each story, Chekhov dispassionately and sympathetically cores the human soul. His insights into the human heart and mind are accurate, humorous, and devastating. He excels at placing people out of their depths in intolerable situations, so that if they manage to swim back to shore it's a heroic feat. At the same time, he concisely depicts Russian culture near the end of the 19th century, complete with growing conflicts between different classes, cultures, regions, philosophies, and so on.

    Interestingly, Chekhov's stories, no matter how bleak, give me intense pleasure, and make me feel more alive. How does he do it? It must be his irony and empathy, keen eye for observation, and original mind for metaphors. Whenever his characters resolve to righteously take someone to task and then find themselves instead wimpishly appeasing the person, I think, Ah, that's me! The best we can hope to achieve, it seems, is coming to understand, as one character says near the end of "The Duel," "No one knows where the real truth lies." That and trying to treat people with humanity and kindness.

    Fred Williams gives a solid reading of the stories. He doesn't dramatically change his voice for different characters, unlike virtuoso actor-readers, but he reads every word clearly and every sentence with appropriate rhythm and emphasis, and he enhances the text with appropriate wit and emotion. And I really like his deliberate, deep, and slightly gravelly and nasal voice. The only difficult point about the audiobook lay in my unfamiliarity with Russian names, so that, especially in the novella "The Duel," I sometimes mixed the characters up in my mind when listening. So I'd recommend getting a text version of the story (many free ones are online) and reading the character names in it once or twice so as to be able to hear their differences more readily.

    You have to love lines like this from "Neighbours":

    "It's a charming house altogether," she went on, sitting down opposite her brother. "There's some pleasant memory in every room. In my room, only fancy, Grigory's grandfather shot himself."

    And it's a testament to Chekhov's genius that of the conclusions of the last two stories in the collection, the self-realization of the first nearly makes a happy ending, while the self-delusion of the second surely makes an unhappy one:

    "From Koltovitch's copse and garden there came a strong fragrant scent of lilies of the valley and honey-laden flowers. Pyotr Mihalitch rode along the bank of the pond and looked mournfully into the water. And thinking about his life, he came to the conclusion he had never said or acted upon what he really thought, and other people had repaid him in the same way. And so the whole of life seemed to him as dark as this water in which the night sky was reflected and water-weeds grew in a tangle. And it seemed to him that nothing could ever set it right." (from "Neighbours")

    Trying to look like a bird, the princess fluttered into the carriage and nodded in all directions. There was a gay, warm, serene feeling in her heart, and she felt herself that her smile was particularly soft and friendly. As the carriage rolled towards the gates, and afterwards along the dusty road past huts and gardens, past long trains of waggons and strings of pilgrims on their way to the monastery, she still screwed up her eyes and smiled softly. She was thinking there was no higher bliss than to bring warmth, light, and joy wherever one went, to forgive injuries, to smile graciously on one's enemies. The peasants she passed bowed to her, the carriage rustled softly, clouds of dust rose from under the wheels and floated over the golden rye, and it seemed to the princess that her body was swaying not on carriage cushions but on clouds, and that she herself was like a light, transparent little cloud. . . .

    "How happy I am!" she murmured, shutting her eyes. "How happy I am!" (from "The Princess")

    More

    The Kiss and The Duel and Other Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Anton Chekhov
    • Narrated By Fred Williams
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (32)

    In “The Kiss”, a lonely, love-starved soldier keeps a secret rendezvous for another man and becomes enamored with a woman he is never to see again. “The Duel” describes the collisions between men and women in hopeless relationships, and how two men are driven to settle the score in a clandestine meeting on a bridge, pistols in hand. In all of these stories, Chekhov’s brilliant portrayal of people from all walks of life and how they deal with the moral dilemmas their circumstances press upon them comes to vivid life in the listener’s mind.

    Melinda says: "Brilliant"
  • "Beer Making, Heroic Wooing, and Mag..."

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    If you like epic poems like The Odyssey, if you are interested in a big influence on Tolkien (especially his Silmarillion), or if you enjoy fantasy full of exuberant imagination, you should read The Kalevala (1835/49) by Elias Lonnrot. As a doctor in the early 19th century, Lonnrot traveled around Finland listening to people singing the ancient stories of the legendary founding heroes of their land, copying the songs, and editing and assembling them into a coherent whole in 1835 and more completely in 1849. The national epic of Finland, the Kalevala reveals Finnish culture even as it tells entertaining stories that explore the dark and bright places in the human heart.

    The Kalevala recounts the conflict between two regions and cultures, fair Kalevala (or Wainola), "the home of heroes," versus the dismal Sariola (or Pohyola or Lapland), "where the ogres flourish." Three main hero-wizards live in Kalevala: wise Wainamoinen, the ancient bard respected for his comprehensive knowledge and wonderful singing; skilled Ilmarinen, the blacksmith "metal-maker" famed for the miraculous creations of his hands; and handsome Lemminkainen, the momma's boy infamous for his reckless courage and play with maidens. In addition to their superhuman abilities, the heroes possess all too human flaws. The Kalevala even features a compelling anti-hero called Kullervo, born with too much magic and "ill-nurtured" without enough love, destroying all he sets his hand to. And toothless Louhi, hostess of never-pleasant Pohyola, a witch-matriarch with an endless supply of beautiful daughters, is more than a match in magic and cunning for the heroes she finds as wicked as they find her.

    John Martin Crawford's 1888 translation of the epic into English is a pleasure to read. Crawford translated The Kalevala in a trochaic tetrameter rhythm similar to that of the original Finnish poem: "MOUNtains DANCE and VALleys LISten." And like other oral epic poems, the Kalevala enjoyably repeats epithets for proper names (e.g., "Kullerwoinen, wicked wizard") and accumulates paraphrasing examples, as when wild Lemminkainen sweet-talks a maiden he's ravished:

    "My sweet strawberry of Pohyola,

    Still thine anguish, cease thy weeping,

    Be thou free from care and sorrow,

    Never shall I do thee evil,

    Never will my hands maltreat thee,

    Never will mine arms abuse thee,

    Never will my tongue revile thee,

    Never will my heart deceive thee."

    Reader Robert Bethune reads the poetry with intensity and fluidity. He only changes his voice slightly for the different characters, but he amplifies emotions when characters are wicked, angry, joyful, or sad. My only criticism of the audiobook is that it lacks the interesting and helpful introduction by Crawford.

    There are many impressive moments in the epic, among them youthful Youkahainen engaging in a duel of magical knowledge with ancient Wainamoinen; wise Wainamoinen learning (too late) the identity of a wonderful fish he catches; handsome Lemminkainen's mother raking the river of death for his body parts; grieving Ilmarinen smithying a cold bride of gold; wicked Kullervo asking his magical god's sword if it would like to drink his life-blood; minstrel Wainamoinen playing his magical pike's jaw harp and singing so as to reduce everyone to tears, including himself; reckless Lemminkainen singing in his screeching voice at an inopportune time; and vengeful Louhi pursuing the stolen magic sampo.

    Surprisingly, the epic devotes more time to wooing than to fighting: a few lines to summarize an offstage battle, hundreds of lines to detail the impossible tasks of a suitor, or the food, drink, and speeches of a wedding feast, or the things a bride loses and gains by marrying, or the different roles of a good wife and a good husband. The Kalevala also relishes the good things of life, like barley-beer, honey-biscuits, hot baths, and cuckoo song. It is also full of humor and charm, as in the nicknames for bears (honey-paw) and bees (honey-birdling). And the epic teaches good behavior in daily life, from how to clean house to how to be a good person.

    Best of all, in the world of the Kalevala, everything is alive, magical, sentient, and articulate: artifacts (ships, sledges, snowshoes, etc.), flora (aspens, oaks, berries, etc.), fauna (reindeer, eagles, snakes, etc.), and even fire, iron, and paths. Everything has its own desires, depending on its nature and role in the story. Magic itself has a system, for the better your voice and the greater your wisdom and knowledge, the more powerful and effective your magic will be. The best wizards master things by singing their origins and traits and then singing what they'd like them to do or not to do. The best mages are able to shape-change, make magical tools, conjure hosts of heroes, control the elements, and request the aid of the gods.

    The Finnish singers of the Kalevala were such bard-mages, and when we read their songs we make their magic.

    More

    Kalevala: The Ancient Epic of Finland

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Elias Lonnrot, John Martin Crawford (translator)
    • Narrated By Robert Bethune
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    The Kalevala is the signature work of traditional Finnish culture. In story after story, it explores the human and divine world as understood by the traditional runic singers of the north. It sings of how the universe came to be, how the natural world works, how divine and supernatural worlds relate to the world of humankind, how human beings relate to each other, how good and evil and life and death function in the world.

    Paul Z. says: "Great Book"
  • "It???s All Entertaining Vanity"

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    The characters who populate Thackery???s Vanity Fair (1848), set in England and Europe during and after the Napoleonic Wars, are a cast of decadent lords, pious snobs, pedantic teachers, sycophantic schemers, hedonistic spinsters, tyrannical fathers, imperious brats, philandering generals, gambling rakes, gossiping servants, false friends, faithful toadies, and many more. Unlike in Dickens, there is no perfect person. Thackery plays his ???puppets??? through scenes that are comical, appalling, suspenseful, moving, or revelatory. He keeps us alert, peering through layers of irony. And he has such empathy for humanity that he makes most of his characters, even the feckless or false or cruel ones, at least sometimes sympathetic.

    Becky Sharp, the ???poor little friendless orphan??? who becomes a bohemian adventuress, who remains throughout her life selfish, scheming, heartless, and ???artful,??? who abominably neglects her son, alarmingly attracts the husbands, brothers, and sons of her friends, and comically mimics everyone behind their backs, and yet who is capable of genuine feeling, is one of the most fascinating anti-heroines in literature. Is she a plucky survivor or a wicked siren? Her foil, the seemingly pure, simple, loving, and good Amelia Sedley, is also compelling, for with selfish selflessness she indulges in her Angel in the House, submissive and dependent feminine saintliness to such a degree that she harms herself and her true lover.

    The reader John Castle is great! With perfect pauses, emphases, wit, and emotion, he engagingly reads all the characters??? voices with their different accents, personalities, genders, and moods, whether a stingy hyena-faced old country baron, a drunken cockney footman, a boastful Irish officer???s wife, a mercenary French maid, or a foppish German diplomat--everyone.

    Thackery???s ???historian??? narrator, who???s telling a ???true??? story based on the accounts of the principle characters he has met, satirizes early 19th century British and European culture (class, religion, education, business, war, tourism, etc.) so as to expose human vanity in general. We are all driven by vain desires and feel unfulfilled after getting what we want. We are all selfish, artful, and self- and other-deluding. The novel may seem misanthropic. But Thackery is so good at making us laugh, groan, cry, or think, that if the novel (???without a hero???) is not uplifting, it is entertaining, stimulating, and often moving.

    More

    Vanity Fair [AudioGo]

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By William Makepeace Thackeray
    • Narrated By John Castle
    Overall
    (179)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (111)

    Set during the time of the Napoleonic Wars, this classic gives a satirical picture of a worldly society. The novel revolves around the exploits of the impoverished but beautiful and devious Becky Sharp.

    Constance says: "A book that was meant to be read aloud!"
  1. The Kiss and The Duel and...
  2. Kalevala: The Ancient Epi...
  3. Vanity Fair [AudioGo]
  4. .

A Peek at W Perry Hall's Bookshelf

Helpful
Votes
79
 
66 REVIEWS / 221 ratings Member Since 2012 5 Followers / Following 4
 
W Perry Hall's greatest hits:
  • Masterworks of Early 20th-Century Literature

    "Most Enriching Course Ever"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my first review after over a year as an audible member and well over 100 listens and ratings. I was so impressed with this course that I had to write this to add to my 5 stars:

    I found this course more enjoyable and rewarding than any I've had in 8 years of higher education. Though that statement may, admittedly, say something about the quality of my education, it probably has more to do with my maturity in the nearly 20 years since my last degree, and I think can even moreso be attributed to the superb professor, Dr. David Thorburn of MIT.

    What a wonderful set of lectures on modern literature! Dr. Thorburn has significantly transformed and improved my vision of literature in the 20th century (and today). He is fantastic in his enthusiasm and love for the literature, the art and the artist/authors. I was sad that the course had to end and depressed when I couldn't find another lecture by Dr. Thorburn. I'm hopeful he'll consider enriching us in the lowly masses with more lectures.

  • Classic Novels: Meeting the Challenge of Great Literature

    "No Course Credit; Just Ivy League Lit Appreciation"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You love books and majored in business or medicine or dropped out of school to become a multi-millionaire salesmen?

    Now, you just wish you had paid more attention and that you would have taken that American or British Lit course instead of taking the easier route?

    If so, or if you just love lit and don't care if you'd taken it in college or not, this is a perfect chance to listen to hours and hours of a mild-mannered but lively Ivy League (Brown) professor Arnold Weinstein searching the meaning and imparting his knowledge of many of the Classic Novels.

    If you haven't read a lot of these novels, don't worry. For a few I hadn't read, Professor Weinstein inspired me to read these books and his teaching method doesn't require you to have read these to enjoy the course.

    I'd definitely recommend the Professor Weinstein lit courses. I've bought all of them and I'd say that just an hour or so out of the course's many is worth what you'll spend to make the purchase.

  • Cousin Bette

    "Sweat Land of Libertine (Hell Hath No Fury....)"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you are squeamish or prudish, do not read this novel published in 1847 in France at the height of the "libertine" philosophy/movement that one need not be restrained by the morals of society, including monogamy and the institution of marriage, but should instead seek life's pleasures with no regard to others, particularly the pleasures of multiple sexual partners (Note: this is an uneducated synopsis of Libertinism).

    Honore de Balzac paints a reality in which money and sex are bartering and blackmail chips, and where honor, love, loyalty and guilt take second seat to instant gratification and ego-boosting debauchery. And regret is non-existent.

    The name is somewhat misleading. Cousin Bette is the old maid who is jilted by her infatuation Wenceslas in favor of her adorable, angelic cousin Hortense Hurlot. She schemes to ruin the Hurlot family through a temptress named Madame Marneffe. Madame Marneffe is as easy as an old shoe. Daddy Hurlot and the Mayor are also sleeping with Madame Marneffe. I cannot start describing the rest of the story without going down a path littered with raunch and degradation.

    The story involves cruelty, sexual blackmail, revenge, prostitution, unconscionable adultery, selfishness, the irresistibility of the female sexual allure, poisons, passion-filled murder and just about every other sin and demoralizing defect of character.

    I read and listened to this novel last summer, but am just now writing a review. I wanted to read a Balzac novel. As I write this, I am convinced this novel is a playbook for today's soap operas. I give it a 4 stars for the story because there is something to be said for keeping all this straight, being one of the trailblazers of realism for so many great authors to follow, and because it's part of a larger sequence of novels and short stories, La Comedie humaine, presenting a panoramic view of life in France after Napoleon's downfall in 1815.

    The narrator seems a bit too full of himself and, as such, distracts from the story instead of enhancing it.

  • The Sufferings of Young Werther: A New Translation

    "Why robotic narration of "acclaimed translation"?"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was relatively excited to happen upon this "acclaimed new translation" of Goethe by Stanley Corngold. While I'm not a big fan of Goethe or the espistolary overwrought outpourings of the suicidal Young Werther and am not familiar with the work of Stanley Corngold, the publisher and others I respect seem to believe this is a worthy translation to render the Goethe novel more accessible to the unfamiliar.

    So, why is it that the publisher hires an audible director and narrator/actor who make Werther sound like a computer program in the initial stages of conquering Earth?

    Just awful. A near-travesty for Corngold and for audible listeners.

  • 4.8 (24 ratings)

    Time Regained: Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 7

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Marcel Proust
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (23)

    Lost in the blacked-out streets of Paris during the First World War, Marcel stumbles into a brothel and accidentally witnesses a shocking scene involving the Baron de Charlus. Later, at a reception given by the Prince de Guermates, his meditations on the passage of time lead to his determination to embark on his life's work at last.

    Darwin8u says: "Full of emotional/intellectual/experiential joules"
  • 4.3 (906 ratings)

    The Three Musketeers

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Alexandre Dumas
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (906)
    Performance
    (659)
    Story
    (668)

    Mixing a bit of seventeenth-century French history with a great deal of invention, Alexandre Dumas tells the tale of young D'Artagnan and his musketeer comrades, Porthos, Athos, and Aramis. Together they fight to foil the schemes of the brilliant, dangerous Cardinal Richelieu, who pretends to support the king while plotting to advance his own power. Bursting with swirling swordplay, swooning romance, and unforgettable figures.

    A. A. Green says: "What Fun!"
  • 4.3 (818 ratings)

    Les Misérables: Translated by Julie Rose

    • UNABRIDGED (60 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Victor Hugo, Julie Rose (translator)
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (818)
    Performance
    (698)
    Story
    (702)

    One of the great classics of world literature and the inspiration for the most beloved stage musical of all time, Les Misérables is legendary author Victor Hugo’s masterpiece. This extraordinary English version by renowned translator Julie Rose captures all the majesty and brilliance of Hugo’s work. Here is the timeless story of the quintessential hunted man—Jean Valjean—and the injustices, violence, and social inequalities that torment him.

    Darwin8u says: "!"
  • 4.3 (539 ratings)

    The Odyssey

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Homer (translated by Robert Fagles)
    • Narrated By Ian McKellen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (539)
    Performance
    (374)
    Story
    (371)

    McGrath-Muniz says: "Beautiful recording marred by audio problems!"
  •  
  • 4.3 (537 ratings)

    War and Peace, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (537)
    Performance
    (262)
    Story
    (259)

    War and Peace is one of the greatest monuments in world literature. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, it examines the relationship between the individual and the relentless march of history. Here are the universal themes of love and hate, ambition and despair, youth and age, expressed with a swirling vitality which makes the book as accessible today as it was when it was first published in 1869.

    Matt says: "A Truly Great Book and a Truly Astounding Narrator"
  • 4.3 (493 ratings)

    All Quiet on the Western Front

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Erich Maria Remarque
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (493)
    Performance
    (414)
    Story
    (421)

    Paul Bäumer is just 19 years old when he and his classmates enlist. They are Germany’s Iron Youth who enter the war with high ideals and leave it disillusioned or dead. As Paul struggles with the realities of the man he has become, and the world to which he must return, he is led like a ghost of his former self into the war’s final hours. All Quiet is one of the greatest war novels of all time, an eloquent expression of the futility, hopelessness and irreparable losses of war.

    Darwin8u says: "Escapes the Boundaries of Time and Place"
  • 4.4 (424 ratings)

    War and Peace, Volume 2

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (424)
    Performance
    (213)
    Story
    (214)

    War and Peace is one of the greatest monuments in world literature. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, it examines the relationship between the individual and the relentless march of history. Here are the universal themes of love and hate, ambition and despair, youth and age, expressed with a swirling vitality which makes the book as accessible today as it was when it was first published in 1869.

    Mark says: "Definitely worth a listen..."
  • 4.5 (362 ratings)

    The Count of Monte Cristo

    • UNABRIDGED (52 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Alexandre Dumas
    • Narrated By Bill Homewood
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (362)
    Performance
    (322)
    Story
    (325)

    On the eve of his marriage to the beautiful Mercedes, having that very day been made captain of his ship, the young sailor Edmond Dantès is arrested on a charge of treason, trumped up by jealous rivals. Incarcerated for many lonely years in the isolated and terrifying Chateau d'If near Marseille, he meticulously plans his brilliant escape and extraordinary revenge.

    A User says: "This is the definitive reading!"
  • The Three Musketeers

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Alexandre Dumas
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (906)
    Performance
    (659)
    Story
    (668)

    Mixing a bit of seventeenth-century French history with a great deal of invention, Alexandre Dumas tells the tale of young D'Artagnan and his musketeer comrades, Porthos, Athos, and Aramis. Together they fight to foil the schemes of the brilliant, dangerous Cardinal Richelieu, who pretends to support the king while plotting to advance his own power. Bursting with swirling swordplay, swooning romance, and unforgettable figures.

    A. A. Green says: "What Fun!"
  • The Mysterious Island

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jules Verne
    • Narrated By Berny Clark
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (215)
    Performance
    (191)
    Story
    (193)

    Based on the true story of Alexander Selkirk, who survived alone for almost five years on an uninhabited island off the coast of Chile, The Mysterious Island is considered by many to be Jules Verne’s masterpiece. “Wide-eyed mid-nineteenth-century humanistic optimism in a breezy, blissfully readable translation by Stump” (Kirkus Reviews), here is the enthralling tale of five men and a dog who land in a balloon on a faraway, fantastic island of bewildering goings-on and their struggle to survive....

    Tad Davis says: "Wonderful novel, mediocre translation"
  • The Odyssey

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Homer (translated by Robert Fagles)
    • Narrated By Ian McKellen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (539)
    Performance
    (374)
    Story
    (371)

    McGrath-Muniz says: "Beautiful recording marred by audio problems!"
  • Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition

    • ORIGINAL (43 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Alan Charles Kors, Professor Darren Staloff, Professor Dennis Dalton, and others
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (30)

    For 3,000 years, mankind has grappled with fundamental questions about life. What is real? Who or what is God? When is it legitimate for one person to have power over others? What is justice? Beauty? This 84-lecture, 12-professor tour of Western philosophical tradition covers more than 60 of history's greatest minds and brings you a comprehensive survey of the history of Western philosophy from its origins in classical Greece to the present.

    James says: "Fantastic overview"
  •  
  • War and Peace

    • UNABRIDGED (61 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (1093)
    Performance
    (566)
    Story
    (561)

    Often called the greatest novel ever written, War and Peace is at once an epic of the Napoleonic wars, a philosophical study, and a celebration of the Russian spirit. Tolstoy's genius is clearly seen in the multitude of characters in this massive chronicle, all of them fully realized and equally memorable.

    Diana says: "Glad I finally decided to read it"
  • Ulysses

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By James Joyce
    • Narrated By Jim Norton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (553)
    Performance
    (299)
    Story
    (291)

    Ulysses is regarded by many as the single most important novel of the 20th century. It tells the story of one day in Dublin, June 16th 1904, largely through the eyes of Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and Leopold Bloom, an advertising salesman. Both begin a normal day, and both set off on a journey around the streets of Dublin, which eventually brings them into contact with one another.

    Peter says: "Ulysses (Unabridged)"
  • Les Misérables: Translated by Julie Rose

    • UNABRIDGED (60 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Victor Hugo, Julie Rose (translator)
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (818)
    Performance
    (698)
    Story
    (702)

    One of the great classics of world literature and the inspiration for the most beloved stage musical of all time, Les Misérables is legendary author Victor Hugo’s masterpiece. This extraordinary English version by renowned translator Julie Rose captures all the majesty and brilliance of Hugo’s work. Here is the timeless story of the quintessential hunted man—Jean Valjean—and the injustices, violence, and social inequalities that torment him.

    Darwin8u says: "!"
  • Don Quixote: Translated by Edith Grossman

    • UNABRIDGED (39 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Miguel de Cervantes, Edith Grossman (translator)
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (113)
    Performance
    (106)
    Story
    (108)

    Sixteenth-century Spanish gentleman Don Quixote, fed by his own delusional fantasies, takes to the road in search of chivalrous adventures. But his quest leads to more trouble than triumph. At once humorous, romantic, and sad, Don Quixote is a literary landmark. This fresh edition, by award-winning translator Edith Grossman, brings the tale to life as never before.

    James says: "My Fourth Try at an Audible Quixote"
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  • Crime and Punishment

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Constance Garnett (translator)
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (385)
    Performance
    (235)
    Story
    (234)

    In this intense detective thriller instilled with philosophical, religious, and social commentary, Dostoevsky studies the psychological impact upon a desperate and impoverished student when he murders a despicable pawnbroker, transgressing moral law to ultimately "benefit humanity".

    Mubarak says: "Excellent Excellent Excellent!"
  • All Quiet on the Western Front

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Erich Maria Remarque
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (493)
    Performance
    (414)
    Story
    (421)

    Paul Bäumer is just 19 years old when he and his classmates enlist. They are Germany’s Iron Youth who enter the war with high ideals and leave it disillusioned or dead. As Paul struggles with the realities of the man he has become, and the world to which he must return, he is led like a ghost of his former self into the war’s final hours. All Quiet is one of the greatest war novels of all time, an eloquent expression of the futility, hopelessness and irreparable losses of war.

    Darwin8u says: "Escapes the Boundaries of Time and Place"
  • War and Peace, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (537)
    Performance
    (262)
    Story
    (259)

    War and Peace is one of the greatest monuments in world literature. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, it examines the relationship between the individual and the relentless march of history. Here are the universal themes of love and hate, ambition and despair, youth and age, expressed with a swirling vitality which makes the book as accessible today as it was when it was first published in 1869.

    Matt says: "A Truly Great Book and a Truly Astounding Narrator"
  • Don Quixote

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Miguel de Cervantes, John Ormsby (translated by)
    • Narrated By Roy McMillan
    Overall
    (245)
    Performance
    (192)
    Story
    (189)

    The most influential work of the entire Spanish literary canon and a founding work of modern Western literature, Don Quixote is also one of the greatest works ever written. Hugely entertaining but also moving at times, this episodic novel is built on the fantasy life of one Alonso Quixano, who lives with his niece and housekeeper in La Mancha. Quixano, obsessed by tales of knight errantry, renames himself ‘Don Quixote’ and with his faithful servant Sancho Panza, goes on a series of quests.

    Colin says: "More than funny"
  • The Phantom of the Opera

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Gaston Leroux
    • Narrated By B. J. Harrison
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    A malicious spectre haunts the Parisian Opera house. This murderous fiend speaks through walls, abducts innocents through mirrors, and holds the opera management in a cruel state of hostage. But when this monster falls for the beautiful Christine Daae, his powers of attractive enticement and malevolent mayhem all come to the surface. Who can put an end to this reign of terror? Discover the wonders of Gaston Leroux's gothic thriller in a way that will tantalize the senses.

  • The Metamorphosis

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Franz Kafka
    • Narrated By Shobha Tharoor Srinivasan
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    The Metamorphosis (German: Die Verwandlung) is a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. It has been cited as one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century and is studied in colleges and universities across the Western world. The story begins with a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed into a monstrous vermin. It is never explained in the story why Samsa transforms, nor did Kafka ever give an explanation.

  • Idiot [Russian Language Edition]

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Feodor Dostoyevsky
    • Narrated By Innokenty Smoktunovsky, Evgeny Lebedev, Nina Olkhina, and others
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Idiot - radiospektakl' po odnoimennomu romanu Fjodora Mihajlovicha Dostoevskogo. Knjaz' Lev Nikolaevich Myshkin vozvrashhaetsja iz Shvejcarii v Peterburg posle lechenija. V poezde knjaz' znakomitsja s Parfjonom Rogozhinym, synom bogatogo kupca. Intriga zakruchivaetsja vokrug zaplanirovannogo braka Nastas'i Filippovny i Gani Ivolgina. Vse, kogo vstrechaet knjaz' Myshkin, fatal'nym obrazom svjazany s Nastas'ej Filippovnoj - rokovoj zhenshhinoj s izlomannoj sud'boj…

  • Madame Bovary (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 29 mins)
    • By Gustave Flaubert
    • Narrated By Alisa Koonen, Evgeny Vesnik, Georgy Yanikovsky, and others
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Spektakl' po romanu velikogo francuzskogo pisatelja Gjustava Flobera (1821 - 1880). Vpervye roman byl napechatan v 1856 godu. Schitaetsja odnim iz shedevrov mirovoj literatury. Glavnaja geroinja romana - Jemma Bovari, zhena vracha, zhivushhaja ne po sredstvam i zavodjashhaja vnebrachnye svjazi v nadezhde izbavit'sja ot pustoty i obydennosti provincial'noj zhizni…

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  • Jean-Christophe [Russian Language Edition]

    • ABRIDGED (1 hr and 13 mins)
    • By Romain Rolland
    • Narrated By Valentina Sperantova, Olga Khorkova, Boris Olenin, and others
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Spektakl' po romanu velikogo francuzskogo pisatelja Romena Rollana (1866-1944), laureata Nobelevskoj premii po literature 1915 goda. O detskih i otrocheskih godah geroja romana-jepopei, genial'nogo nemeckogo kompozitora Zhana-Kristofa Krafta, prototipom kotorogo stal Ljudvig van Bethoven.

  • The Fruits of Enlightenment

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated By Victor Stanitsyn, Lidiya Koreneva, Angelina Stepanova, and others
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Blistatel'naja komedija velikogo russkogo pisatelja L'va Nikolaevicha Tolstogo (1828-1910). V Peterburge, v bogatom dome Zvezdincevyh, v privychnoj utrennej sumatohe snujut slugi, bespreryvno zvonjat v dver' posetiteli: artelycik ot Burd'e s plat'em i zapiskoj dlja baryni, Sahatov Sergej Ivanovich, byvshij tovarishh ministra, jelegantnyj gospodin, svobodnyj i interesujushhijsja vsem na svete, doktor, reguljarno nabljudajushhij barynju, Jakov-bufetchik, vechno vinovatyj, nelovkij i puglivyj.

  • Trionfi di donna

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Alredo Panzini
    • Narrated By Silvia Cecchini
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Alfredo Panzini, noto per le sue novelle spesso umoristiche, ci propone in questa opera dei ritratti di persone e situazioni a volte aspri, sempre leggermente distaccati, spesso vicini alle idee sulla famiglia e sulle relazioni con le quali sono cresciuti i nati nel secolo ventesimo. La cornice musicale è cantata da Enrico Caruso.