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World Literature

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Tad Davis

Tad Davis Philadelphia, PA USA Member Since 2005
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  • "Brilliant!"

    Overall
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    Story

    I try very hard not to write a review till I've listened to the whole thing. But I have to make an exception for this one. So far I've listened to The Inferno; but since I've already read the translation itself in its entirety, I'm going to stick my neck out.

    This is brilliant. I'm in Heaven, so to speak. Clive James has created an unusual but consistently effective translation: rather than trying to reproduce Dante's terza rima, he plays to his own strengths by translating into quatrains, a verse form at which he is particularly adept. The result is a subtle but ever-present drumbeat of rhyme. There are better versions of individual passages in other translations, but I've never read one where the whole thing hangs together and flows together so smoothly.

    James also adds clarifying phrases here and there throughout the translation to reduce the need for footnotes. (A good thing: the printed book doesn't have any.)

    These clarifying phrases are not as extensive as those in the Audiobook Contractors version, read by Grover Gardner; but they serve the purpose, and they make it possible to listen without constantly feeling the need to look things up.

    The result is a translation that demands to be read aloud. Edoardo Ballerini does a terrific job with the narration, capturing the Pilgrim's sense of wonder and letting the poetry unfold in its own effortless way. Ballerini is one of those narrators who conveys dialogue by suggestion rather than outright imitation of different voices. But the voices are there anyway, partly because of Dante's skill and partly because Clive James does such a good job conveying them. When passion is called for, Ballerini gives voice to passion; likewise when the speaker is giving voice to shame, anger, or pride.

    Get it. Listen to it. Enjoy it. Learn from it. Treasure it.

    Caveat: I've read the Comedy several times, in several different translations, with several different sets of footnotes. I couldn't claim to be a master of the allusions in the poem, but I'm comfortable with them. (When the wind is southerly I can tell a Guelf from a Ghibelline.) As such, it's hard for me to imagine the viewpoint of someone coming to this material for the first time. I THINK this would be anyone's ideal introduction to Dante, and I hope first time listeners will tackle this version and leave their reactions.

    For myself, all I can say is that it will be a cold day in Hell (so to speak) before I re-read, or re-listen, to this masterpiece in any other format. There is no question in my mind that this is hands down the best audiobook version of Dante's masterpiece available.

    More

    The Divine Comedy

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Clive James (translator), Dante Alighieri
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    Overall
    (87)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (79)

    Renowned poet and critic Clive James presents the crowning achievement of his career: a monumental translation into English verse of Dante’s The Divine Comedy. The Divine Comedy is the precursor of modern literature, and this translation - decades in the making - gives us the entire epic as a single, coherent and compulsively listenable lyric poem. Written in the early 14th century and completed in 1321, the year of Dante’s death, The Divine Comedy is perhaps the greatest work of epic poetry ever composed.

    Tad Davis says: "Brilliant!"
  • "Flawed"

    Overall

    John Lee gives a hearty but flawed performance of "Ulysses." The energy and the humor come through -- this is, after all, one of the funniest books ever written -- but there are quieter moments as well, and these fare badly: Lee delivers everything at a breakneck pace, not so much narrating the book as declaiming it.

    In addition, there are some errors in the production design of the audiobook that detract from its effectiveness. First and foremost, "Ulysses" is full of music, from snatches of song to the quarter-hour tolling of a bell tower. All are rendered in the same straightforward declamatory prose style of the rest of the narration. Second -- and it's possible this is a problem with the Audible rendering rather than the original audiobook -- the episodes all run together without a second's pause between them. Whether you view the book as three long chapters or eighteen separate episodes, there are clear indications of breaks throughout the text, each accompanied by major changes in tone, style, and narrator. Here, the last sentence of one and first sentence of the next seem to be delivered in the same breath.

    It seems to be using a better (more recent) text than the Naxos version. The Naxos version has a number of other flaws as well, but it does a far better job of capturing the music and the rhythm of the narration than Blackstone's offering. If Blackstone were willing to undertake it, a little re-engineering of this title could make a huge difference and might justify a higher rating.

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    Ulysses

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs)
    • By James Joyce
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (49)

    Joyce’s experimental masterpiece set a new standard for modernist fiction, pushing the English language past all previous thresholds in its quest to capture a day in the life of an Everyman in turn-of-the-century Dublin. Obliquely borrowing characters and situations from Homer’s Odyssey, Joyce takes us on an internal odyssey along the current of thoughts, impressions, and experiences that make up the adventure of living an average day.

    Tad Davis says: "Flawed"
  • "Built-in study guide"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I purchased this title several months ago on CD and have been hoping for some time that Audible would make it available. It's an unusual version of the Divine Comedy: a fresh translation with a kind of built-in study guide. Brief explanations of most of the allusions in this complex poem are woven into the text. For example, where Dante might refer to "the Eagle," this translation says: "the Eagle, emblem of the Empire."

    There is one drawback to this, and that is that Dante's allusions are not always so clear-cut. The translator has typically chosen a single concrete tag line among the many possible annotations. But this audiobook is an introduction, not a substitute for an intensive study of Dante. It's meant to be an enjoyable and comprehensible audiobook, something that will give you more of the Divine Comedy on a first listen than you can get from most of the others available.

    I've read the Commedia several times in a variety of translations, and despite my familiarity with many of the passages, I found these small additions to the text quite helpful. It's easy when reading the poem to forget who was a Guelph and who was a Ghibelline; this audiobook helps you keep it straight.

    Although I haven't seen the text in print (I'm not sure if it's even available), the translation appears to be prose. The translator has tried to capture some of the poetic energy of the work by making extensive use of alliteration rather than rhyme. Most of the time this works admirably; sometimes it's a strain.

    Grover Gardner, a Virgil among readers, gives his usual sterling narration.

    I would suggest, if you do get this, that you listen to it in small doses. Despite the helpful features of the translation, Dante's poem remains dense with symbol and meaning. There's a lot to take in. Go slow and savor.

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    The Divine Comedy

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Dante Alighieri, Herbert A. Kenny (translator)
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (33)

    This unique poetic translation by Herbert A. Kenny, historian and poet, is the first that incorporates the Biblical, theological and historical allusions of the greatest poem im Christendom into the text itself. It can now be appreciated without a glossary or accompanying notes. Listen as the liquid lines take you through the horrors of the "Inferno", the mysteries of "Purgatorio" and the glories of "Paradiso".

    Tad Davis says: "Built-in study guide"
  1. The Divine Comedy
  2. Ulysses
  3. The Divine Comedy
  4. .

A Peek at Emrys's Bookshelf

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Alfred, NY, United States 40 REVIEWS / 83 ratings Member Since 2010 4 Followers / Following 0
 
Emrys's greatest hits:
  • Scaramouche

    "Highly entertaining"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel is a gem. Well written and beautifully constructed, with human, pathos and drama all thrown in.

Tammy

Tammy ENNIS, TEXAS, United States 10-12-12 Member Since 2009

mcleantj

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  • "The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough f..."

    12 of 12 helpful votes

    I really loved this. The author reads his own work here, and he does a very good job. He has a pleasant voice that seems suited to the material. It is not a literal translation word-for-word, more like a distillation in modern English and with the intent to explain the Bhagavad Gita to westerners in particular. He explains the concepts and some of the vocabulary, which I found helpful. There is a sort of soundtrack to the reading, which I did not find intrusive and which I actually thought added something to it - I liked it - but I think some people may find it distracting, so listen to a sample before you buy it. Overall the sound quality was pretty good; I heard papers rattle occasionally, but I became so interested in the material itself that I stopped noticing it if it continued throughout the book. I would recommend this work to anyone who is interested in learning about the Bhagavad Gita or in world religions and beliefs. As soon as I finsihed it, I started it again, because there is a lot to it, and I was fascinated. I wish I'd found this when it was first produced.

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    The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Jack Hawley
    • Narrated By Jack Hawley
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    The Bhagavad Gita has been called India's greatest contribution to the world. In this audio version of his classic book The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners, Jack Hawley makes its wisdom clear to Western seekers.

    Tammy says: "The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners"

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  • The Divine Comedy (






UNABRIDGED) by Clive James (translator), Dante Alighieri Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini

    The Divine Comedy

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Clive James (translator), Dante Alighieri
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    Overall
    (87)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (79)

    Renowned poet and critic Clive James presents the crowning achievement of his career: a monumental translation into English verse of Dante’s The Divine Comedy. The Divine Comedy is the precursor of modern literature, and this translation - decades in the making - gives us the entire epic as a single, coherent and compulsively listenable lyric poem. Written in the early 14th century and completed in 1321, the year of Dante’s death, The Divine Comedy is perhaps the greatest work of epic poetry ever composed.

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UNABRIDGED) by King James Version Narrated by Glenn Hascall

    Ecclesiastes

    • UNABRIDGED (32 mins)
    • By King James Version
    • Narrated By Glenn Hascall
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    This is what may be described as the bad-day book of the Bible. King Solomon held onto the greatest wisdom of his generation, but after all his work, and at the end of his life, he saw all his life's work as "Madness and folly". The wise king would learn that even in these down days there is a plan. There is a purpose. No matter what he felt there was something greater than he could see. Narrated by Glenn Hascall.

  • Twenty Strange Stories: Uncanny and Bizarre Tales (






UNABRIDGED) by O. Henry, Jerome K. Jerome, G. K. Chesterton, Barry Pain, Katherine Mansfield, Stacy Aumonier, George Sand Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    Twenty Strange Stories: Uncanny and Bizarre Tales

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By O. Henry, Jerome K. Jerome, G. K. Chesterton, and others
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    A wonderful selection of some of the most bizarre and unsettling stories ever written.

  • Sterben (






UNABRIDGED) by Arthur Schnitzler Narrated by Bettina Reifschneider

    Sterben

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Arthur Schnitzler
    • Narrated By Bettina Reifschneider
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Das ist die Geschichte eines langsamen Sterbens, von der Nachricht der Unheilbarkeit der Krankheit bis zum endgültigen Verlöschen des Helden Felix. Was sich dazwischen auftut, ist ein Panorama von Ängsten, Hoffnungen, Versprechungen und Lügen. Alle Szenarien werden durchgespielt, vom pathetischen "Mit-Dir-Sterben-Wollen" der Geliebten über die Missgunst allen noch Lebenden gegenüber bis zur Todesangst der Todesstunde, in der das Grauen so groß wird, dass der sterbende Felix um jeden Preis seine Geliebte mitnehmen möchte.

  • Die Zeitmaschine (






UNABRIDGED) by H. G. Wells Narrated by Götz Otto

    Die Zeitmaschine

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By H. G. Wells
    • Narrated By Götz Otto
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
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    Der namenlose Zeitreisende berichtet von seiner Erfindung: der Zeitmaschine. Während einer Demonstration entschwindet der Erfinder und taucht erst acht Tage später wieder auf. Wunderliches hat er zu berichten aus dem Jahr 802.701, wo er auf die kindlich-zutraulichen Eloi, direkte Nachfahren der Menschen, trifft, die ein erfülltes und freies Leben führen. Doch der Schein trügt... Wells Klassiker gilt als Geburtsstunde der modernen Science-Fiction-Literatur und wurde mehrmals verfilmt.

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  • The Siege of Berlin (






UNABRIDGED) by Alphonse Daudet Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    The Siege of Berlin

    • UNABRIDGED (15 mins)
    • By Alphonse Daudet
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
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    The year is 1870. The elderly Colonel Jouve has suffered a medical collapse and is confined to his bed. It is uncertain whether or not he will pull through. His granddaughter takes over his care. Then one day, news reaches Paris of military successes in the war against Prussia. Colonel Jouve senses the optimism in the air and his health begins to improve. Almost immediately further news reaches Paris. The previous news was wrong - in fact the French are being beaten back.

  • The Grim Reaper's Bedside Story Book: Tales of Gruesome and Unusual Deaths (






UNABRIDGED) by Edgar Allan Poe, Sherwood Anderson, Alexander Pushkin, Wilkie Collins, Thomas Hardy, Arnold Bennett, Egerton Castle Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    The Grim Reaper's Bedside Story Book: Tales of Gruesome and Unusual Deaths

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Edgar Allan Poe, Sherwood Anderson, Alexander Pushkin, and others
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
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    A highly unsettling collection of macabre stories in which death and the dead are key themes. Moon’s Gibbet by Egerton Castle, A Strange Goldfield by Guy Boothby, The Withered Arm by Thomas Hardy, The Pistol Shot by Alexander Pushkin, The Premature Burial by Edgar Allan Poe, The Dead Hand by Wilkie Collins, The Famous Race between the Hearse and the Steamroller by Sidney Keyes, The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe, Nine O’Clock by Wilkie Collins, The Queen of Spades by Alexander Pushkin.

  • 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.