It is difficult to believe that this audacious novel was written by the same author as Robinson Crusoe, that classic among all that is definitely traditional and even somewhat staid!
Here, a very independent minded woman pretends to tell us her life story marked with bigamy, theft, incest, embezzlements, etc.
Since the overall plot is described from the start, the whole suspense lies in how what is announced will actually fit in (it does).
The novel may be read at multiple levels since the degree of truthfulness on the narrator’s part is of course questionable given that she tells the reader about her life based on deceiving others.
She certainly seems completely amoral and her single motivation appears to be money. Thus, in very modern fashion, her loyalties vary according to her own interest. For much of the work, she complains that she has no friend but has no qualms time and again to abandon her own children. She does develop a very close relationship with another woman, although it seems to be somewhat unidirectional in her favour. If it was as intimate as one may deduce, it certainly would have been completely scandalous in her days. Although the author does not shy away from providing precise details in many instances, he remains elusive on this account.
This enthralling work written three centuries ago is very pertinent today and warmly recommended to all (adult) readers.
Physiologically, no insect could ever be as large as a human being.
Thus, this short story’s premise of a young man waking up one morning as a huge insect is completely absurd.
Yet, the story is masterfully written in such a matter-of-fact style that the listener grants it almost undoubted plausibility.
The resulting nightmarish quality provides a lasting memory that brings one to ponder on social stigma and integration.
It is definitely a very worthwhile purchase.
Potential listeners should not be discouraged by the considerable length of the work. It turns out to be far more exciting that one could expect. The key is that the novel should not be considered at face value but as a parody of chivalric romances that apparently abounded in Cervantes' days. Thus, the reader discovers that a major theme of the work is the contrast, or rather the unfathomable gap, between literature and reality.
The work actually includes two separate books. The second written some time after the first was published includes many ironic comments on the latter. There are many funny moments throughout, as when Don Quixote meets for the first time another character claiming to be a knight errant ... who has defeated the famous Don Quixote. The description of the actual Dulcinea Del Toboso is also memorable.
It must be underscored that the excellent translation is very lively and includes a variety of styles and forms, apparently as in the original.
This work is consequently very highly recommended.
In this short series of lectures, Professor Westfall brilliantly underscores the value of tradition in the fields of architecture and city building. His points of view have clearly been polished by years of consideration and he integrates a variety of fields in his discussions: philosophy, history, political science, etc.
He succeeds in speaking of architecture without any illustrations. Thus, though he largely shares the same positions, he comes out as the complement of Léon Krier who often expresses himself with drawings and very little text.
It must be pointed out that Professor Westfall, though critical of modernism, is not at all closed to modernity.
This work describes in some detail each of the seven canonical Wonders of the Ancient World and provides an overview of their specific histories. As these were only retained in the 16th century, the discussion also includes other constructions that were part of alternate lists at some point in time.
Sadly, although she speaks with no foreign accent, Ms. Tobin clearly does not master the English language. She is constantly hesitant and often has great difficulty formulating clear ideas. Thus, the work is plagued with dozens of expressions such as:
• “both of these two groups”;
• “the building does not survive”;
• “the several thousands of years between 2500 BC and 500 BC”;
• “horn does not survive well in archeological records”;
• “seeing the world through the lens of your own eyes”;
• “imaginative building”.
The result is often irritating and does not meet the standards of what would legitimately be expected for a university level presentation.
Accordingly, it is difficult to recommend this work to anyone. Even a beginner is entitled to clear, understandable information!
Potential buyers should be aware that the ‘Jungle Book’ is not a novel but a collection of short stories.
These are not in chronological order nor indeed necessarily connected to one another. Some are not even set in the jungle but rather in Alaska or on Baffin Island!
The resulting hodgepodge is plainly not very interesting, certainly much less than the many children’s books that have been derived from it or than the famous Disney animated movie!
This fascinating series of lectures deals not with the Roman gods and goddesses per se but rather with the myths that pertain to the past of the great city: Remus and Romulus, the rape of the Sabine women, the Seven Kings of Rome, Aeneus, etc. It is well organized and based not only on the classic texts that have survived but also on archeological findings, much work in that field in fact being currently underway. In fact, it is striking how much is yet to be discovered in order to fully understand the myths that have been transmitted down to our times.Like other ‘Modern Scholar’ audio productions, some lectures are completed with answers to questions posed by students in actual classroom sessions. Also, references to a web site are provided for those who wish to go further in their learning ... or to test it with a ‘final exam’.This lecture series is a great complement to 'Greek Mythology' by the same lecturer and is strongly recommended to all interested in the topic.
Though the story is contorted and a bit pointless, the exceptional rendition by the narrator makes this a truly pleasurable experience.Thank you Audible for such a Christmas gift!
This very short abridged version of James Boswell’s ‘London Journal ‘ is enough for the listener to decide that the full work is not a worthwhile investment in time and energy.
Apart from a superficial description of his first meetings with Samuel Johnson, these musings deal almost exclusively with the narrator’s intimate encounters with the other sex.
Though it is perhaps somewhat revealing of the times when it was written, this self-centered account is today almost completely devoid of interest.
To top it all, the technical quality of the recording is quite below par, as if the microphone had been deficient.
Though it is perhaps not earth shattering, this substantial course provides an excellent introduction to Greek mythology, focusing largely on the Iliad and the Odyssey.
It is very well organized by themes such as ‘Gender in Myths’, ‘Myths of Identity’, ‘Myths of Initiation’, etc.
As in a real classroom, the lectures are occasionally enriched by answers to some questions from students.
Another bonus is access to a web site where a ‘final exam’ is provided.
This enjoyable course is strongly recommended to anyone even remotely interested in Classical mythology. Personally, I certainly look forward to listening to it a second time!
This work is not so much a history of private life in the UK and the United States as a wide collection of anecdotes on this theme, taken broadly. These touch the 1851 London Exhibition, the construction of Blenheim Palace and the Erie Canal, the working conditions in 19th century mines, the growth of sugar consumption in Victorian Great Britain, etc., etc., etc.
The narrative is given some framework by being organized around the rooms of the author’s British home. Thus, the kitchen provides the excuse to discuss food matters whereas the nursery leads to a discussion of children. Often, these links are truly thin as when the fuse box is considered a room to introduce the topic of electricity.
The author does not pose to be a historian and clearly subscribes to the idea that ‘something printed is something true ‘, no matter how implausible. He does not search for alternate sources that may provide nuance ... or contradiction.
The overall result is a hodgepodge of tidbits that is certainly amusing but not truly worthy of an investment in time and energy.
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