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World Literature

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Die Falknerin

Die Falknerin Member Since 2008

Painter, musician, bibliophile...

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  • "Nine little jewels"

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    In this colletion which spans several centuries, each story brings back something of a world forever lost to us. But perhaps we can find "einen Duft als wie aus alten Zeiten," in the words of an old song.

    Here we have the morality tales of Goethe and Schiller, the drama of Schnitzler, the psychological realism of Mann, a haunting tale for a winter evening from von Hofmannsthal, and comic turns from Hebel and Lampe. Griffin's glorious narration with music and sound effects make the stories just that much better than they appear on the page. What a wonderful way to spend a quiet afternoon!

    I was happily surprised to hear a selection from Friedo Lampe (1899-1945), whose work never did very well during his lifetime. He annoyed the Nazi regime, which didn't help matters, only to die when he was shot by the Russians during the invasion. His comic caper "The Enchanted Cabinet" evokes the seaside atmosphere of five o'clock tea dances and amusements of German vacations in the pre-war period. (Lampe was quite gifted with capturing regional dialects, which isn't something that can be translated into English). May more readers make his acquaintance through this tale.

    I'd love to hear Griffin read a collection of Zweig or Schnitzler. And may I ask: where is Volume 2? More, please....as soon as possible.

    More

    Classic German Short Stories, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Johann Peter Hebel, and others
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (37)
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    (11)
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    German short stories began in the late 18th century as brief, beautifully written moral fables. In the following century, style evolved toward realism in parallel with that of other European literature. From the lofty idealism of Goethe to the searing verisimilitude of Mann, German writers of all styles have left us some of the most arresting profiles of the human condition ever conceived.

    Ian says: "Enjoyable"
  • "Beautifully done"

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    Having done German to English and English to German translations myself, I particularly appreciated the late Joachim Neugroschel's brief explanation of the challenges he faced in translating Mann. As he said, "Each author has his melodies, and each style, each language, its own music." (Those who are not interested in this can easily chapter-skip to the first story!)

    The collection includes: The Will for Happiness, Tristan, Little Herr Friedemann, Tobias Mindernickel, Little Lizzie, Gladius Dei, The Starvelings, The Wunderkind, The Harsh Hour, Tonio Kroeger, The Blood of the Walsungs, and Death in Venice.

    Mann is not an easy author to read, and these stories and two novellas are not the light entertainment provided by some collections of short pieces. However, whether or not one likes what he has to say, he is a thought-provoking writer and rarely leaves one unmoved.

    His characters are unlikely to be forgotten. Since I first read the stories many years ago, I have never forgotten the tragic figure of Friedemann , the incestuous twins Sieglinde and Siegmund Aarenhold, the religious zealot Hieronymous, or Kroeger, the "artist who must die to everyday life."

    Paul Hecht's narration is wonderful, both in his characterizations and pronunciation of German. He was a joy to listen to from start to finish.

    Mann in translation on audio is not easy to find, so if you've been curious about his writing, make this collection your introduction. Don't be put off by the reams of literary interpretations and speculations out there. Listen to the stories for yourself. You may be surprised at what you find.

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    Death in Venice and Other Tales

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Thomas Mann
    • Narrated By Paul Hecht
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (29)

    Joachim Neugroschel’s brilliant new translation lets you enjoy the work of Nobel-Laureate Thomas Mann as never before. By using creative, contemporary language, Neugroschel reinterprets Mann for modern English-speaking readers. The author’s superb literary craftsmanship, his psychological insight, and the deeply erotic content of his work shine forth in this definitive English-language version of some of his most celebrated short works. This collection features the world masterpiece Death in Venice....

    Die Falknerin says: "Beautifully done"
  • "An almost forgotten gem"

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    "Der Graf Luna," published in 1955, is an almost forgotten gem. In this production, Charlton Griffin not only dusts it off but polishes it until it gleams.

    The book opens with the protagonist, Alexander Jessiersky, an Austrian national visiting Rome, announcing he is going into the catacombs to search for two missing (and presumed dead) French priests. Why is he there, and what is he really looking for?

    The protagonist is a man of his times in many ways. After the Anschluss and consequent invasion, Jessiersky is encouraged to buy the property of Count Luna. The count refuses to cooperate. This is not because he has any evident political opposition, but he is suspicious of the instability and value of the new currency. For his failure to submit, officials denounce Luna as a "monarchist sympathizer," brand him an enemy of the state, and send him to Mauthausen concentration camp.

    Jessiersky, "though he himself had not done anything, had out of his inactivity failed to do what should have been done" and "allowed his subordinates to do as they chose." Deeply depressed over the realization that "the world is apparently ruled by misunderstanding," he attempts to find Luna and ease his misery by visiting his surviving relatives. Jessiersky's search for truth leads him into extraordinary situations and places, including the Roman catacombs.

    Taken for itself, the story is a creative mystery with unusual characters. For that it's worth a listen. But looking deeper, one finds word play, metaphors, philosophy, poetic turns of phrase, and magical realism. Questions about personal responsibility and complicity, as well as the nature of reality itself, abound. The final scenes manage to be haunting, philosophical, chilling, and beautiful all at once.

    I'd love to see English-language audible editions of the works by the many talented writers of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire: Lernet-Holenia, Stefan Zweig, Sándor Márai, Arthur Schnitzler, Joseph Roth, and more. All deserve a wider audience.


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    Count Luna

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Alexander Lernet-Holenia
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Count Luna is the story of Alexander Jessiersky, an Austrian aristocrat who presides over a Viennese transport company. As World War II opens, Jessiersky, who detests the Nazis, is asked by his board of directors to acquiesce in the confiscation of a neighboring parcel of land in order to accommodate expanded war business. Jessiersky refuses to go along, but because of inattention or laziness his board carries out the land seizure behind his back.

    Theresa says: "Great literature, great narrator"
  1. Classic German Short Stor...
  2. Death in Venice and Other...
  3. Count Luna
  4. .

A Peek at Tad's Bookshelf

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Philadelphia, PA, United States 5 REVIEWS / 22 ratings 291 Followers / Following 0
 
Tad's greatest hits:
  • The Idiot [Blackstone]

    "Intense and painfully sad"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I avoided this book for a long time: who wants to read a book about a person who's so good everyone around him thinks he's an idiot?

    Boy, was I wrong. This is an intense and brooding novel, filled with Dostoevsky's usual array of deeply conflicted characters and blistering monologues. The idiot himself, Prince Myshkin, is no pushover: maybe he's a bit naive at times, but he insists on treating people as equals and assuming their good intentions until contrary evidence is overwhelming. He suffers from epilepsy, and in the course of the novel has a couple of seizures that dramatically alter the direction of the story.

    Superficially, the novel is about Myshkin's conflicted relationships with two women: Aglaya, the youngest daughter of a distant relative, with whom he is in love; and Anastassya Filippovna, a "fallen woman" who's been fobbed off by her former lover and who seems to be drifting from one self-destructive relationship to another. Myshkin may have loved her once, but now he mainly pities her. Aglaya, who at one point seems willing to marry Myshkin, ultimately breaks off because of his obsession with Anastassya.

    But that's only one small facet of this complex, teeming book. The characters are captivating, the scenes at times almost hypnotic in their intensity. I've only read a few of Dostoevsky's novels, but so far I'm inclined to say this is probably my favorite.

    Robert Whitfield (=Simon Vance) gives a stellar reading. Of particular note is his ability to distinguish the voices of the many women in the book: sometimes the shading is subtle, but I always knew instantly who was talking. Well done, highly recommended.

Jefferson

Jefferson Jonan-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Japan 03-28-12 Member Since 2010

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

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  • "Passionate, Poetic, Bloody, Heroic,..."

    8 of 8 helpful votes

    The Story of the Volsungs is a classic Icelandic saga, written in the 13th century from much older oral fragments of songs. Eirikr Magnusson and William Morris??? 1888 translation of the saga is fast-paced, coherent, heroic, tragic, and darkly beautiful. It is mostly prose, but includes many passages of poetry or songs. It influenced H. Rider Haggard???s The Saga of Eric Brighteyes, J. R. R. Tolkien???s oeuvre (especially the Silmarillion), and Poul Anderson???s The Broken Sword. If you like such tragic fantastic adventure fiction, if you are interested in Norsemen (Vikings!), or if you enjoy reading epics for their insights into human nature and their windows into different cultures, you should listen to this audiobook.

    It begins with a useful 48-minute introduction by H. Halliday Sparling about the historical, religious, political, and cultural context of the Norsemen and of their sagas, which is followed by an 8-minute preface by Magnusson and Morris about their translation.

    The saga depicts the interrelated fates of two great Norse families, the Volsungs and the Guikings. From the opening sequence, in which Sigi, grandfather of Volsung, kills a thrall who outperforms him in hunting and then hides his body in a snowdrift, the people in the saga are prey to overwhelming ambition, pride, envy, love, and hate. So there are plenty of battles, with kings killing kings and heroes dealing death till their arms are ???red with blood, even to the shoulders,??? and murders, brothers killing brothers, sons fathers, and mothers children, with poison, sword, or fire. The Norns have already decided the people???s dooms.

    There are also fantastic elements aplenty: men change into wolves, nightmares reveal disastrous futures, magic potions make men forget, magical swords are re-forged, Odin interferes with advice, boon, or doom, and so on. There are many great scenes, like Sigurd talking with a dragon about its cursed treasure or finding the sleep-spelled shield-maiden, Brynhild, ???clad in a byrny as closely set on her as though it had grown to her flesh.??? The characters are compelling because they???re so heroic and flawed. Any character might be loathsome one moment and admirable the next, or vice versa.

    The saga is not an easy listen, because many characters??? names sound similar and because of the archaic Malory-esque language used by Morris to evoke a timeless and heroic age (so the free online text might be helpful). But there is a dark, spare, grand, and beautiful poetry in his translation, and reader Antony Ferguson treats the text with restraint and fluency, subtly highlighting its terse turns and beautiful flights and rich alliteration, as in the following excerpt:

    "So Regin makes a sword, and gives it into Sigurd???s hands. He took the sword, and said???'Behold thy smithying, Regin!' and therewith smote it into the anvil, and the sword brake; so he cast down the brand, and bade him forge a better."

    I am very glad to have listened to this saga.

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    The Story of the Volsungs: The Volsunga Saga

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Anonymous
    • Narrated By Antony Ferguson
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    (29)
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    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    Originally written in Icelandic in the 13th century AD by an anonymous author, The Story of The Volsungs is a legendary saga based on Norse mythology. The epic describes the legendary history and heroic feats of several generations of mythic Viking families and derives from many sources, including preexisting Edda, or heroic poems, Norse legends, historical events, and orally transmitted folklore. The saga is imbued throughout with themes of power, jealousy, love, vengeance, and fear.

    Jefferson says: "Passionate, Poetic, Bloody, Heroic, & Tragic Saga"

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    One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize-winning career. The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Rich and brilliant, it is a chronicle of life, death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the beautiful, ridiculous, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.

    Melinda says: "What in the heck happened?????"
  • Lolita (






UNABRIDGED) by Vladimir Nabokov Narrated by Jeremy Irons

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    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Vladimir Nabokov
    • Narrated By Jeremy Irons
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    (1933)
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    (1089)
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    (1082)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Among the great literary achievements of the 20th century, Lolita soars in audio thanks to the incomparable Jeremy Irons, bringing to life Nabokov’s ability to shock and enthrall more than 50 years after publication. Lolita became a cause celebre because of the erotic predilections of its protagonist. But Nabokov's masterpiece owes its stature not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author's use of that material to tell a love story that is shocking in its beauty and tenderness.

    Jim says: "An Absolutely Gorgeous Audible Experience"
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    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    McGrath-Muniz says: "Beautiful recording marred by audio problems!"
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UNABRIDGED) by Leo Tolstoy Narrated by David Horovitch

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    • By Leo Tolstoy
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    Anna Karenina seems to have everything - beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters the impetuous officer Count Vronsky.

    Marcus Vorwaller says: "Beautiful story, amazing narration"
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  • The Brothers Karamazov (






UNABRIDGED) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky Narrated by Constantine Gregory

    The Brothers Karamazov

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    • Narrated By Constantine Gregory
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    Fyodor Dostoyevsky is a titanic figure among the world's great authors, and The Brothers Karamazov is often hailed as his finest novel. A masterpiece on many levels, it transcends the boundaries of a gripping murder mystery to become a moving account of the battle between love and hate, faith and despair, compassion and cruelty, good and evil.

    Robert says: "Best "Karamazov" yet."
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    • By Gabriel García Márquez
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    From the Nobel Prize-winning author of One Hundred Years of Solitude comes a masterly evocation of an unrequited passion so strong that it binds two people's lives together for more than half a century. In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career, he whiles away the years in 622 affairs - yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral....

    Darryl says: "Marquez is great, awaiting 100 Years"
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    Peony: A Novel of China

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Pearl S. Buck
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (93)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (73)

    Young Peony is sold into a rich Chinese household as a bondmaid - an awkward role in which she is more a servant, but less a daughter. As she grows into a lovely, provocative young woman, Peony falls in love with the family's only son. However, tradition forbids them to wed. How she resolves her love for him and her devotion to her adoptive family unfolds in this profound tale, based on true events in China over a century ago.

    Amazon Customer says: "This was as good as "The Good Earth" by Pearl Buck"
  • Les Miserables (






UNABRIDGED) by Victor Hugo Narrated by Frederick Davidson

    Les Miserables

    • UNABRIDGED (57 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Victor Hugo
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (1115)
    Performance
    (527)
    Story
    (534)

    Set in the Parisian underworld and plotted like a detective story, Les Miserables follows Jean Valjean, originally an honest peasant, who has been imprisoned for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's starving family. A hardened criminal upon his release, he eventually reforms, becoming a successful industrialist and town mayor. Despite this, he is haunted by an impulsive former crime and is pursued relentlessly by the police inspector Javert.

    Kathryn says: "one happy insomniac"
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UNABRIDGED) by Sun Tzu Narrated by Mike Vendetti

    The Art of War

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 14 mins)
    • By Sun Tzu
    • Narrated By Mike Vendetti
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
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    Story
    (11)

    For over 2000 years, these 13 chapters attributed to Sun Tzu have been the Bible, or should have been the Bible for those intending to wage war, or who are waging war. Ho Chi Minh I am sure was very familiar with it, and don't be surprised that the Taliban is also familiar with the principles contained therein. Leaders as diverse as Mao Zedong, General Vo Nguyen Giap, General Douglas MacArthur and leaders of Imperial Japan have drawn inspiration from the work.

    Yaquelin says: "A must for all"
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UNABRIDGED) by Alan Paton Narrated by Michael York

    Cry, the Beloved Country

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Alan Paton
    • Narrated By Michael York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (549)
    Performance
    (223)
    Story
    (222)

    This is the most distinguished novel that has come out of South Africa in the 20th century, and it is one of the most important novels of the modern era. Cry, the Beloved Country is in some ways a sad book; it is an indictment of a social system that drives native races into resentment and crime; it is a story of Fate, as inevitable, as relentless, as anything of Thomas Hardy's. Beautifully wrought with high poetic compassion, Cry, the Beloved Country is more than just a story, it is a profound experience of the human spirit.

    Penny says: "Two Words"
  • The Kybalion: A Study of Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece (






UNABRIDGED) by The Three Intiates Narrated by Mitch Horowitz

    The Kybalion: A Study of Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By The Three Intiates
    • Narrated By Mitch Horowitz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (30)

    He was the father of the occult, the founder of astrology, the discoverer of alchemy. He was Hermes Trismegistus, and as the scribe of the gods of ancient Egypt, he possessed all divine knowledge... which he passed on to humanity, though only those who have been tutored in its wonders can fully understand it.In this extraordinary 1912 book, three secret initiates to his teachings - who remain anonymous to this day - share their insight with all who seek to understand the mysterious underpinnings of the universe and our relationship with it.

    Diana says: "Big bites of ancient (now age?) wisdom to chew on"
  • The Prophet (






UNABRIDGED) by Kahlil Gibran Narrated by Paul Sparer

    The Prophet

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 22 mins)
    • By Kahlil Gibran
    • Narrated By Paul Sparer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (67)

    Writer, artist and philosopher Kahlil Gibran considered The Prophet to be his greatest achievement. First published in 1923, this collection of poetic essays on life and the human condition has been translated into more than 20 languages, and has become one of the beloved classics of our time. Cherished by millions, the universally inspiring words of The Prophet are here magnificently read aloud.

    Nolan P. Clark says: "Beautiful"
  • Zia Mohyeddin Kay Saath Eik Shaam, Volume 10 (






UNABRIDGED) by Azeem Baig Chughtai, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Noon M. Rashid, Syed Ahmad, Josh Malih Abadi, Meera Jee, Nasir Kazmi Narrated by Zia Mohyeddin

    Zia Mohyeddin Kay Saath Eik Shaam, Volume 10

    • UNABRIDGED (57 mins)
    • By Azeem Baig Chughtai, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Noon M. Rashid, and others
    • Narrated By Zia Mohyeddin
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    A classical collection of recitations by the master narrator Zia Mohyeddin. Volume 10 includes: "Angrezi Adab Para"; "Ek Tukra"; "Kuttay", by Sir Syed Ahmad; "Josh Malih Abadi"; "Nazm Noon Meem Rashid"; "Nazm Meera Jee"; "Khat Mohammad Ali Redolvi"; "Baccha Nahin Hota"; "Ghazal Nasir Kazmi"; "Al Shajri", by Azeem Baig Chughtai: "Nazm", by Noon Meem Rashid; "Ghazal", by Faiz; and "Ghazal", by Faiz and Khamooshi.

  • Literary Treasures: Great Short Stories by Acclaimed Writers (






UNABRIDGED) by Anton Chekhov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, Alexandre Dumas, Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    Literary Treasures: Great Short Stories by Acclaimed Writers

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Anton Chekhov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Joseph Conrad, and others
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
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    An astonishing collection of fifty of the greatest short stories ever written by some of literature's most highly acclaimed writers. 1. "Odour of Chrysanthemums" by D. H. Lawrence; 2. "Miss Harriet" by Guy de Maupassant; 3. "Twenty-six Men and a Girl" by Maxim Gorky; 4. "Hot Potatoes" by Arnold Bennett; 5. "Rats" by M. R. James; 6. "Zodomirsky’s Duel" by Alexandre Dumas; 7. "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin; 8. "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe; 9. "The Encased Man" by Anton Chekhov.

  • The Inferno of Dante (






UNABRIDGED) by Dante Alighieri, Robert Pinsky (translator) Narrated by Seamus Heaney, Frank Bidart, Louise Glück, Robert Pinsky

    The Inferno of Dante

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Dante Alighieri, Robert Pinsky (translator)
    • Narrated By Seamus Heaney, Frank Bidart, Louise Glück, and others
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    This critically acclaimed translation was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry and the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award given by the Academy of American Poets. Well versed, rapid, and various in style, the Inferno is narrated by Pinsky and three other leading poets: Seamus Heaney, Frank Bidart, and Louise Glück.

  • The Best French Short Stories (






UNABRIDGED) by Guy de Maupassant, Victor Hugo, Anatole France, Charles Baudelaire, Emile Zolà, Théophile Gautier, Alphonse Daudet Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    The Best French Short Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Guy de Maupassant, Victor Hugo, Anatole France, and others
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
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    An enchanting collection of some of the greatest short stories ever written by notable French authors.

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  • An Episode of the Reign of Terror (






UNABRIDGED) by Honoré de Balzac Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    An Episode of the Reign of Terror

    • UNABRIDGED (44 mins)
    • By Honoré de Balzac
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
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    Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) is arguably the greatest European novelist in terms of the range and power of his writing. Most of his short stories predate his long novels and are written in a different style. One of the earliest is An Episode of the Reign of Terror in which two nuns and a priest in hiding from the mob are visited by a stranger with a very peculiar request, and even odder motives behind it.

  • The Book of Tea (






UNABRIDGED) by Okakura Kakuzo Narrated by Alan Munro

    The Book of Tea

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Okakura Kakuzo
    • Narrated By Alan Munro
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    The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo is a long essay linking the role of tea (teaism) to the aesthetic and cultural aspects of Japanese life. Addressed to a western audience, it was originally written in English and is one of the great English tea classics. Okakura had been taught at a young age to speak English and was proficient at communicating his thoughts to the Western mind. In his book, he discusses such topics as Zen and Taoism, but also the secular aspects of tea and Japanese life.

  • The Child with the Bread Shoes (






UNABRIDGED) by Théophile Gautier Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    The Child with the Bread Shoes

    • UNABRIDGED (17 mins)
    • By Théophile Gautier
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
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    When little Hans dies of the croup, his mother uses all her scant wealth to ensure him a proper burial. She spins the thread for his shroud and has a beautiful little coffin made. But while she is out, the rats gnaw at little Hans's leather slippers and the dead child has nothing for his feet. Hans' mother makes him a pair of shoes from her last loaf of bread. But after the child is buried, the ghostly child reappears night after night weeping. The bread shoes are preventing him from entering heaven. But the local priest comes up with a plan.

  • Jeannot and Colin (






UNABRIDGED) by Voltaire Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    Jeannot and Colin

    • UNABRIDGED (22 mins)
    • By Voltaire
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
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    In this tale of Jeannot and Colin, Voltaire not only tells an instructive tale, warning of the dangers of sudden wealth and social climbing, but also directs his satirical comments at the vacuous and fickle nouveau riche of his day, the catholic church, private education, and society in general. Jeannot and Colin are childhood friends. Both come from working-class backgrounds in a rural part of France, but Jeannot's parents, on a trip to Paris, strike it lucky in business and within a short time become very wealthy.