Leo Tolstoy's classic story of doomed love is one of the most admired novels in world literature. Generations of readers have been enthralled by his magnificent heroine, the unhappily married Anna Karenina, and her tragic affair with dashing Count Vronsky.
"Top Notch Performance"
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.
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.
"This is the one to spend 50 hours listening to!"
A mysterious sea monster, theorized by some to be a giant narwhal, is sighted by ships of several nations; an ocean liner is also damaged by the creature. The United States government finally assembles an expedition to track down and destroy the menace. Professor Pierre Aronnax, a noted French marine biologist and narrator of the story, master harpoonist Ned Land, and Aronnax's faithful assistant Conseil join the expedition.
"A classic that everyone should read."
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.
"Best book ever written?"
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.
"Glad I finally decided to read it"
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.
"My Choice for Frank Muller's Best"
The great adventure story tells of Odysseus, a veteran of the Trojan War, who - through a landscape peopled with monsters, sea nymphs, evil enchantresses, and vengeful gods - makes his tortuous way home to his faithful wife, Penelope. Shipwrecked numerous times, faced with apparently insurmountable obstacles, offered the temptations of ease, comfort, and even immortality, Odysseus remains steadfast and determined. Themes of courage and perseverance, fidelity and fortitude.
"Beautiful recording marred by audio problems!"
The foundation for all modern economic thought and political economy, The Wealth of Nations is the magnum opus of Scottish economist Adam Smith, who introduces the world to the very idea of economics and capitalism in the modern sense of the words.
"Loved the Narrator"
Albert Camus' The Stranger is one of the most widely read novels in the world, with millions of copies sold. It stands as perhaps the greatest existentialist tale ever conceived, and is certainly one of the most important and influential books ever produced. Now, for the first time, this revered masterpiece is available as an unabridged audio production.
"Is amorality bad?"
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.
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.
"A Truly Great Book and a Truly Astounding Narrator"
A century after it first appeared, Crime and Punishment remains one of the most gripping psychological thrillers. A poverty-stricken young man, seeing his family making sacrifices for him, is faced with an opportunity to solve his financial problems with one simple but horrifying act: the murder of a pawnbroker. She is, he feels, just a parasite on society. But does the end justify the means? Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov makes his decision and then has to live with it.
This classic tale is a fantastical fable of two dear friends - one of whom goes astray and is literally lost to the north woods, while the other undertakes an epic journey to rescue him. This charming, strange, and wonderful story is a timeless allegory about growing up and the challenges of staying true to one's self, and it served as the wintry inspiration for the blockbuster hit Frozen.
"Strange & Fascinating"
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.
What is reality? Ask yourself whether you can actually know the answer, much less be sure that you can know it, and you've begun to grapple with the metaphysical and epistemological quandaries that have occupied, teased, and tormented modern philosophy's greatest intellects since the dawn of modern science and a century before the Enlightenment.
"Nicely Dovetailed Survey of Modern Philosophy"
Why do "Great Books" continue to speak to us hundreds and even thousands of years after they were written? Can they deepen our self-knowledge and wisdom? Are our lives changed in any meaningful way by the experience of reading them?Tackle these questions and more in these 36 engaging lectures. Beginning with his definition of a Great Book as one that possesses a great theme of enduring importance, noble language that "elevates the soul and ennobles the mind," and a universality that enables it to "speak across the ages," Professor Fears examines a body of work that offers extraordinary wisdom to those willing to receive it.
"A course that will open you to new ideas."
Professors Cook and Herzman provide you with an illuminating introduction to one of the greatest works ever written. One of the most profound and satisfying of all poems, The Divine Comedy (or Commedia) of Dante Alighieri is a book for life. In a brilliantly constructed narrative of his imaginary guided pilgrimage through the three realms of the Christian afterlife, Dante accomplished a literary task of astonishing complexity. In these twenty-four lectures, as you follow Dante on his journey, you'll learn how medieval literature offers insights into fundamental questions.
"The Commedia for Modern Readers"
Set during the Reign of Terror following the start of the French Revolution... The title character represents the original "hero with a secret identity" that inspired subsequent literary creations such as Don Diego de la Vega (El Zorro) and Bruce Wayne (the Batman). The popularity of the novel encouraged Orczy to write a number of sequels for her "reckless daredevil" over the next 35 years. The original play was performed to great acclaim in France, Italy, Germany, and Spain, while the novel was translated into 16 languages.
"A long book, but at least the chapters are short"
Please note: This is a summary and analysis of the book, not the original book. The Stranger, by Albert Camus, is a French philosophical novel written in the mid-1940s. In the novel, we are introduced to our narrator, Monsieur Meursault. Meursault is a French man living in Algiers and has just received word via telegram that his elderly mother has passed away. He notes that he has asked for two days of leave from his job, even though his boss is quite annoyed by this.
White Nights is a short story by Fyodor Dostoevsky that was published in 1848. Set in St. Petersburg, this is the story of a young man fighting his inner restlessness. A light and tender narrative, it delves into the torment and guilt of unrequited love. Both protagonists suffer from a deep sense of alienation that initially brings them together. A blend of romanticism and realism, the story appeals gently to the senses and feelings.
Miss Julie is probably the most famous play by the Swedish playwright August Strindberg, one of the founding fathers of naturalistic theater. In this claustrophobic drama, the interplay between social order and individual identity is explored in great detail. At the end the aristocratic Julie, goaded by her manipulative manservant, John, is faced with the ultimate decision: independence or annihilation.
In an attempt to appeal to the Medici family during the Italian Renaissance, Machiavelli outlines the way to acquire and retain political power, and how great men should behave in a princely government. The book is divided into four parts - types of principalities and state, proper conduct of a prince as military leader, personal conduct of a prince, and the disparity of Italy's political situation. Many listeners will be able to see principals that Machiavelli advocates for are still used in many political systems today.
Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories by James Joyce, first published in 1914. They form a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century. The initial stories in the collection are narrated by child protagonists, and as the stories continue, they deal with the lives and concerns of progressively older people. This is in line with Joyce's tripartite division of the collection into childhood, adolescence, and maturity.
This production of the famous 16th-century political treatise by diplomat and political theorist Niccolo Machiavelli will appeal to those interested in his political philosophy and not in the many historical and regional allusions that the original work contains. The latter have been excised in this abridgement.
"A Simple Soul" is the perfect Gustave Flaubert short story: a tale told in spare, straightforward language full of richly observed details. The "soul" is Felicite, the exemplary servant of the austere Madame Aubin. Orphaned and illiterate, Felicite devotes her life to her mistress and Madame's two children. Her kindheartedness extends to her nephew and a local beggar, but it is seldom reciprocated.
Lolita is a detective novel in reverse. From the beginning of the Lolita story, we know that the protagonist is sitting in detention prior to a trial for murder, and the listener has to try to discover the identity of the victim. Vladimir Nabokov claims that "Lolita does not teach any lesson" because fiction, for him, is "aesthetic pleasure" only. Lolita is "confessions of a white male" - the memoirs of Humbert Humbert, a murder suspect who died of a blood clot in the heart a few days before trial.
Crime and Punishment focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, an impoverished St. Petersburg ex-student who formulates and executes a plan to kill a hated, unscrupulous pawnbroker for her money, thereby solving his financial problems and at the same time, he argues, ridding the world of an evil, worthless parasite. Raskolnikov also strives to be an extraordinary being, similar to Napoleon, believing that murder is permissible in pursuit of a higher purpose.
Madame Bovary is Gustave Flaubert's first published novel and considered his masterpiece. The story focuses on a doctor's wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life.
The Kreutzer Sonata was published in 1889 and promptly censored by the Russian authorities. The work is an argument for the ideal of sexual abstinence and an in-depth first-person description of jealous rage. The main character, Pozdnyshev, relates the events leading up to his killing his wife; in his analysis, the root cause for the deed were the "animal excesses" and "swinish connection" governing relations between the sexes.
In Oedipus at Colonus, the banished king, after years of wandering, accompanied by his faithful daughter Antigone, finds himself in Athens. Receiving a warm if guarded welcome from Theseus, King of Athens, he prepares to settle himself to spend his last days in peace. However, unwelcome visitors from his tortured past continue to haunt him until the very end.
This novella, first published in 1907, is very unusual as far as vampire stories go. It is one of the first psychic vampire stories, where a vampire feeds off more than just blood. A young writer visits an older master to help him hone his craft but ends up succumbing to the powerful influence of the mysterious old man. We soon find that he has left a trail of ruined protégés in his wake. It is a chilling tale with an unusual twist.
Stephen Dedalus, a poor boy in Ireland at the end of the 19th century, gives up everything, his family, social ties, and his church, to devote his life to his passion - writing. The novel goes through the boy's life as a student in a very strict, Catholic boarding school in Ireland, and how that upbringing shaped his childhood and family, including an intense, politically charged argument over the Christmas dinner table. The listener follows Stephen through his preteen and teenage years, growing more poor as the years go on.
The most exciting underwater adventure ever! In 1866 a mysterious giant whale savagely attacks ships in international seas. A famous French marine biologist, Pierre Aronnax, joins the hunt to track down and incapacitate the creature. With him are his loyal servant, Conseil, and redoubtable Canadian harpooner Ned Land. They soon find that their enemy is no sea beast but a brilliantly designed submarine. They are captured and imprisoned by its master, the sinister Captain Nemo.
"A good one"
"Draga tata, M-ai întrebat odata, acum de curând, de ce sustin ca mi-e frica de tine. Ca de obicei, n-am stiut ce sa-ti raspund, în parte tocmai pentru ca mi-e frica de tine, în parte pentru ca frica asta se întemeiaza pe prea multe elemente ca sa ti le pot enumera macar pe jumatate stând de vorba cu tine. Si daca încerc acum sa-ti raspund în scris, raspunsul meu va fi foarte incomplet, pentru ca si în scris, frica si urmarile ei ma paralizeaza în fata ta si pentru ca proportiile acestei situatii depasesc cu mult puterile memoriei si ratiunii mele."
Over a 25-year period, author Maurice Leblanc wrote of the exploits of gentleman thief and master of disguise Arsène Lupin, to the delight of readers on the continent and elsewhere. Often referred to as France's version of Sherlock Holmes, Lupin in this early appearance is wrongfully accused of the death of a prominent German millionaire with nefarious plans. The thief and the mysterious killer find themselves in a race to find an incriminating bundle of letters that, in the wrong hands, could change the political map of the world.
"A Ghost" is an old man's reminiscence of a supernatural event that has haunted him for more than half a century....
Franz Kafka's profound and disturbing novella Metamorphosis was first published in German in 1915. In this recent translation by David Wyllie, Gregor Samsa, a travelling salesman, wakes to find himself "transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin". How he, his family, and others deal with this untoward situation is subsequently revealed.
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....
"Wonderful novel, mediocre translation"
Once upon a time, a teenaged Kate Winslet (The Reader, Titanic, Revolutionary Road) received a gift that would leave a lasting impression: a copy of Emile Zola’s classic Thérèse Raquin. Six Academy Award nominations and one Best Actress award later, she steps behind the microphone to perform this haunting classic of passion and disaster.
"Wonderful Winslet, Satisfactory Story"
Goethe's masterpiece and perhaps the greatest work in German literature, Faust has made the legendary German alchemist one of the central myths of the Western world. Here indeed is a monumental Faust, an audacious man boldly wagering with the devil, Mephistopheles, that no magic, sensuality, experience or knowledge can lead him to a moment he would wish to last forever.
"Great work, decent translation, poor narration"
Franz Kafka's 1915 novella of unexplained horror and nightmarish transformation became a worldwide classic and remains a century later one of the most widely read works of fiction in the world. It is the story of traveling salesman Gregor Samsa, who wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a monstrous insect. This hugely influential work inspired George Orwell, Albert Camus, Jorge Louis Borges, and Ray Bradbury, while continuing to unsettle millions of readers.
"A wonderful experience."
One of the great works of the 20th century, Kafka's The Trial has been read as a study of political power, a pessimistic religious parable, or a crime novel where the accused man is himself the problem. In it, a man wakes up one morning to find himself under arrest for an offence which is never explained. Faced with this ambiguous but threatening situation, Josef K. gradually succumbs to its psychological pressure.
"Was my unabridged audible book missing a charpter?"
This collection of 10 time-honored tales brims with enchantment, whimsy, and sly humor. Assembled by a renowned poet and student of Gaelic language and culture, this edition includes "The Birth of Bran", "The Little Brawl at Allen", "The Enchanted Cave of Cesh Corran", "Becuma of the White Skin", "Mongan's Frenzy", and other stories.
"Great Celtic stories"
A collection of German fairy tales first published in 1812 by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the famous Brothers Grimm. Their most famous tales are instantly recognizeable: "Rumpelstiltskin", "Snow White", "Rapunzel", "Cinderella", "Hansel and Gretel", and "The Frog Prince." The collection is often known today as "Grimms' Fairy Tales".
"Wonderfully read, but most tales not for kids"
Eugene Onegin is the master work of the poet whom Russians regard as the fountainhead of their literature. Set in 1820s imperial Russia, Pushkin's novel in verse follows the emotions and destiny of three men - Onegin the bored fop, Lensky the minor elegiast, and a stylized Pushkin himself - and the fates and affections of three women - Tatyana the provincial beauty, her sister Olga, and Pushkin's mercurial Muse.
The great virtue of this volume is that it reveals a lighter, comic side of Sade. He was a man obsessed, like many great writers, and his obsessions are still present here: his hatred of all things pretentious, his loathing of a corrupt judicial system, his damning of hypocrisy and false piety. One of the great anarchists of all time, he was nevertheless far from mad (as many pretended) and these works of fiction shed another light on this most feverish of minds.
A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. Swift suggests in his essay that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling children as food. By doing this he mocks the authority of the British officials.
"Not a bad proposal at all"
Robur the Conqueror is a science fiction novel by Jules Verne. The story begins with strange lights and sounds, including blaring trumpet music, reported in the skies all over the world. The events are capped by the mysterious appearance of black flags with gold suns atop tall historic landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
"Entertaining yarn of flight, predicting airplanes"
A Signature Performance: Leelee Sobieski’s Emma is sultry but vulnerable, offering a sympathetic rendering of the heroine and her plight, allowing the listener to draw his own conclusions about Madame Bovary in this cautionary tale of love, passion, and desperation.
"Very tough to get through!"
Aristide Rougon, known as Saccard, is a failed property speculator determined to make his way once more in Paris. Unscrupulous, seductive, and with unbounded ambition, he schemes and manipulates his way to power. Financial undertakings in the Middle East lead to the establishment of a powerful new bank and speculation on the stock market; Saccard meanwhile conducts his love life as energetically as he does his business, and his empire is seemingly unstoppable.
"A forgotten gem"
A masterpiece of European imagination, The Sufferings of Young Werther is the classic Sturm und Drang tale of youthful angst and tragedy. The acclaimed translator Stanley Corngold brings new passion and precision to Goethe's timeless novel of obsessive love and madness in this magnificent new translation.
"Why robotic narration of "acclaimed translation"?"
As Willi tries to make a new life for himself in Hamburg, finding a job and even love, he still cannot escape his past. Gradually he becomes sucked into a world of drink, desperation, deceit, and, with one terrible act, he is ensnared in a noose of his own making.
"Worst. Narrator. Ever."
A pairing of Tolstoy's most spiritual and existential works of fiction and nonfiction from the renowned translator of Turgenev and Chekhov. In the last two days of his own life, Peter Carson completed these new translations of The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Confession before he succumbed to cancer in January 2013. In Carson's shimmering prose, these two transcendent works are presented in their most faithful rendering in English.
"Great Tolstoy Intro; Ilyich Narration is Painful"
In stories like "A Night in the Cemetery," "Night of Horror," and "Murder," not only will Chekhov's dark humor and twisted crimes satisfy even the most hardboiled of mystery fans, but readers will again appreciate the penetrating, absurdist insight into the human condition that only Chekhov can bring. Whether it is the death of a young amateur playwright at the hands of an editor who hates bad writing, or a drunken civil servant who ends up trapped in a graveyard, these stories overflow with the unforgettable characters and unique sensibility that will forever make Chekhov one of the most fascinating figures in literature.
Professor Charles Lexington led a placid and uneventful life until he made the mistake of discovering a way by which lead could be turned into gold. A Mr. Bowry volunteered to help the Professor capitalize the discovery, and from then on things began to happen. Before Professor Lexington got back to Earth he had been a match seller on the streets of London, an end man in a minstrel show, an inmate of a charitable institution, and a plumber.