At 34 hours in length, this is quite an undertaking, but there's no one better qualified than Simon Vance to lead us through this audio journey. He parses the author's long sentences well, pausing sufficiently to make the details easy to follow while still maintaining a quick enough pace to keep the story going. Most enjoyable is his voicing of the myriad characters who appear in the narrative - and characters they certainly are. Vance times their occasionally hilarious exchanges especially well. All of this is delivered in a manner that suggests that Vance revels in Dickens's prose and sly humor, and the listener cannot help but revel along with him. Three cheers for Vance - and not the least for his stamina!
In David Copperfield - the novel he described as his "favorite child" - Dickens drew revealingly on his own experiences to create one of his most exuberant and enduringly popular works, filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure.
©1923 Public Domain; (P)2009 Tantor
I, too, am a great fan of Robert Whitfield and I go to great lengths to obtain his recordings. It is very hard to avoid David Case, whose narration always sounds so insufferably stuck up.
But, Joseph in Austin, I have the ironic duty to inform you that, just as David case and Frederick Davidson are the same person, Robert Whitfield and Simon Vance are one and the same.
Wonderful job as always.
books & coffee
While this isn't my favorite Dickens' book I've read, I definitely enjoyed it. For me, the audio book narrator has a big impact on my enjoyment of the book. Simon Vance was excellent and I have already sought out additional books he has narrated.
Retired to mountains of California. Sell on eBay as Prsilla. No TV. Volunteer in wildlife rehab. Knit, sew or embroider while listening.
I enjoyed this book very much and am listening again to catch more details. The narrator is very good. I think this may be Dickens' masterpiece. There are a few tiresome, negative, diabolical, ugly, mooching and under-handed characters. And bad things do happen to good people. All in all, though, the really bad folks get their come-uppance. Alas, I saw a bit of myself in Dora and I was most satisfied when Davey FINALLY chose a proper second wife for himself. Dickens winds it up nicely. I will listen again and again to this one.
One master-passion in the br east, like Aaron's serpent, swallows all the rest. A. Pope
“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” So opens the greatest story ever told of a youngster's journey into adulthood and amour.
Nearly 20 years after writing David Copperfield, Dickens wrote that, "like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts a favorite child. And his name is David Copperfield."
In no novel did Dickens have as colorful a set of characters and character names as in this one - from Peggotty, David's childhood maid and lifelong friend, Wilkins Micawber, his melodramatic landlord, James Steerforth, the cad of a school friend, Uriah Heep, the all-time most despicable sycophant in all of literature, and his love Dora (“Lovers had loved before, and lovers would love again; but no lover had ever loved, might, could, would, or should ever love, as I loved Dora.").
As with most of his novels, Dickens brought to light a social evil--here, the working conditions of minors, as David was (8 or 9) when his evil stepfather Murdstone took him out of school (after David's mom died) and sent him to work in London.
“I know enough of the world now to have almost lost the capacity of being much surprised by anything.”
It's nearly indescribable how much I identified with this novel. It may not be the best novel of all time (structure, conflicts, character development and all that jazz - I think that's "Anna Karenina"), but I think's Charles Dickens' DAVID COPPERFIELD is the best story. If you haven't read it or it's been a while, you should pick it up.
Addicted to books, both print and audio-.
I'm not sure I could live without Simon Vance (the narrator). Between Dickens's characters and Vance's interpretations of them, we are given this gift of "David Copperfield" brought to life. The only downside of this book for me is that Dickens strays from time to time into more sentimentality than seems believable, but this is a quibble. Vance's characterizations of the Macawber family and of Betsey Trotwood are hysterical. There is, of course, plenty of heartbreak in the book, and I found myself genuinely touched by many scenes. This is one heck of a great way to experience "David Copperfield."
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
David Copperfield, read by Simon Vance (aka Robert Whitfield), is a superb audiobook. The classic story is wonderfully addicting, possessing as it does a plethora of memorable characters, each with his/her own way of speaking, appearing, and being; countless humorous, suspenseful, or moving moments; countless apt descriptions and witty lines; and plenty of themes relevant to Victorian England or to the human condition. Even minor scenes like a dinner party at which a collection of upper-class snobs talk like vampires about their desire for "blood" or brief lines like Uriah Heep saying, "But lawyers, sharks, and leeches, are not easily satisfied" entertain and illuminate.
Simon Vance does his usual effortless and effective job reading the novel, changing his voice perfectly for the wide range of different characters. Hearing Mr. Murdstone firmly tyrannizing, Mr. Micawber grandiloquently speechifying, Mr. Peggotty sea-saltily understanding, Uriah Heep 'umbly fawning, Agnes angelically advising, Dora childishly babbling, Steerforth irresponsibly charming, Miss Dartle sarcastically attacking, or any of the other characters saying any of their savory lines in their distinctive voices is a pure pleasure.
David Copperfield ??? Charles Dickens
I think I first met David Copperfield about 40 years ago. I???ve read and reread this book many times. I was very, very choosey when it came to investing time and money on an audio version. Simon Vance did not let me down, and performing this book must have been a gargantuan task. Every voice from the incurable Mr. Micawber to the obscure Miss Mowcher was exactly as I expected them to be. Some of his female voices simpered annoyingly, but then the characters simper annoyingly so that is as it should be. Vance???s interpretations of Miss Betsy (???Janet! Donkeys! ), and Mrs. Micawber (???I never will desert you, Micawber!) were perfect. When David tried to sell his jacket to the dreadful old man (Oh, my lungs and liver, what do you want? Oh, goroo, gorooo), Vance had me feeling so scared I wanted to run away myself.
This book is so full of wonderful characters and so many little alleyways of sub-plots that I???ve always forgotten bits of it between readings. Listening instead of reading forced my attention to descriptive nuances that I might have missed. I remembered, of course, how slimy and despicable Uriah Heep was, but I???d forgotten how sarcastically funny he could be.
(???You know what I want??? said my aunt. ???A straight-waistcoat,??? said he.) I???d completely forgotten Miss Mowcher and her revenge on the evil Mr. Littimer.
Now I???m completely filled up with David Copperfield trivia. I highly recommend this book and this recording.
I am continually stunned by this authors ability to make words truly delicious! His analogies, insights into human nature, and humor is completely enjoyable for me. I've never really enjoyed watching movies based on Dickens work but his books are incredible. Strong characters, delightful conversation, and very human. Sigh. I just really really loved this book.
Simon Vance did an excellent job of reading. It is like listening to a one man play.
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