Read by Juliet Stevenson and Simon Callow, A Literary Christmas is a seasonal anthology that collects together poems, short stories, and prose extracts by some of the greatest poets and writers in the English language. Like Charles Dickens’ ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, they are representative of times old and new - from John Donne’s Elizabethan hymn over the baby Jesus to Rudyard Kipling’s "Christmas in India", from Thomas Tusser counting the cost of a Tudor feast to Laurie Lee’s "Cider with Rosie".
"Wonderful Christmas stories and excerpts!"
Naxos AudioBooks continues its new series of Great Poets, represented by collections of their most popular poems in one program. W. B. Yeats was one of the most beloved poets of the 20th century. He left a large legacy of outstanding poems, and the finest are collected here: "Down by the Salley Gardens," "The Lake Isle of Inisfree," "The Secret Rose," and "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven". They are read by a strong cast, led by Olivier award-winner Jim Norton.
"My Favourite Poet"
Joining the ranks of popular science classics like The Botany of Desire and The Selfish Gene, a groundbreaking, wondrously informative, and vastly entertaining examination of the most significant revolution in biology since Darwin - a "microbe's-eye view" of the world that reveals a marvelous, radically reconceived picture of life on Earth.
"Undoes what you've learned from the headlines"
This remarkable poem, dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I, was Spenser's finest achievement. The first epic poem in modern English, The Faerie Queene combines dramatic narratives of chivalrous adventure with exquisite and picturesque episodes of pageantry. At the same time, Spenser is expounding a deeply-felt allegory of the eternal struggle between Truth and Error....
"A Fabulous Grab-Bag"
John Milton's Paradise Lost is one of the greatest epic poems in the English language. It tells the story of the Fall of Man, a tale of immense drama and excitement, of rebellion and treachery, of innocence pitted against corruption, in which God and Satan fight a bitter battle for control of mankind's destiny.
"The most accessible reading of Paradise Lost"
Here are 154 poems performed by by the wonderful Sir John Gielgud in this Shakepseare collection of the Sonnets.
Shakespeare's sonnets deal with such themes as the passage of time, love, beauty, and mortality. All but two of the poems were first published in a 1609 quarto entitled Shake-Speares Sonnets: Never before imprinted.
"Clear, rhythmical, beautiful"
"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" relates the experiences of a sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage. The mariner stops a man who is on the way to a wedding ceremony and begins to narrate a story. The wedding guest's reaction turns from bemusement to impatience to fear to fascination as the mariner's story progresses, as can be seen in the language style: Coleridge uses narrative techniques such as personification and repetition to create a sense of danger, the supernatural, or serenity, depending on the mood in different parts of the poem.
The publication of a new translation by Fagles is a literary event. His translations of both the Iliad and Odyssey have sold hundreds of thousands of copies and have become the standard translations of our era. Now, with this stunning modern verse translation, Fagles has reintroduced Virgil's Aeneid to a whole new generation, and completed the classical triptych at the heart of Western civilization.
"Fagles is best"
Evelyn Waugh's most celebrated work is a memory drama about the intense entanglement of the narrator, Charles Ryder, with a great Anglo-Catholic family. Written during World War II, the story mourns the passing of the aristocratic world Waugh knew in his youth and vividly recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by wartime austerities; in so doing it also provides a profound study of the conflict between the demands of religion and the desires of the flesh.
Winner of the 1973 National Book Award, Gravity's Rainbow is a postmodern epic, a work as exhaustively significant to the second half of the 20th century as Joyce's Ulysses was to the first. Its sprawling, encyclopedic narrative and penetrating analysis of the impact of technology on society make it an intellectual tour de force.
"Like being belted in the head with a Swiss Alp"
These are masterly readings, by renowned thespian Paul Schofield, of two substantial works of poetry by T.S. Eliot.
"Help -- I can't stop listening to this"
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in collaboration with his friend, William Wordsworth, revolutionized English poetry. In 1798 they produced their Lyrical Ballads, poems of imagination and reflection using "the language of men" - pointing the way forward for a generation of Romantic poets.
"Another jewel of my poetry collection"
"Chekhov is probably better known in Britain for his plays than for his prose. For many, however, it is his short stories that mark the high water of his genius. It might at first glance be hard for those not used to his style of narrative to see what the fuss is about - and fuss there is: for most authors and lovers of literature Chekhov is incomparably the greatest short story writer there ever was."
"Good intro to Chekhov"
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.
"An Absolutely Gorgeous Audible Experience"
Breakfast of Champions (1973) provides frantic, scattershot satire and a collage of Vonnegut's obsessions. His recurring cast of characters and American landscape was perhaps the most controversial of his canon; it was felt by many at the time to be a disappointing successor to Slaughterhouse-Five, which had made Vonnegut's literary reputation.
"Kurt Was Right to Grade This a C"
The three Theban plays by Sophocles - Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone - are one of the great landmarks of Western theatre. They tell the story of Oedipus, King of Thebes, who was destined to suffer a terrible fate - to kill his father, marry his mother, and beget children of the incestuous union. He does this unknowingly but still has to suffer terrible consequences, which also tragically affect the next generation.
A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, focusing on our strange and wonderful grammar. Why do we say "I am reading a catalog" instead of "I read a catalog"? Why do we say "do" at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue distills hundreds of years of fascinating lore into one lively history.
"Great for casual linguists"
Everyone knows something of Shakespeare's sonnets, even if only in memorable fragments like "the darling buds of May", or "remembrance of things past", or "the marriage of true minds". For centuries these wonderfully crafted, intense lyrics have stood for something valued about youth, love, and the emotional complexities belonging to that time of life. This new recording presents all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets, using the New Cambridge Shakespeare texts.
"Good reading, great music"
Sir Ralph Richardson reads a selection of poetry by John Keats, William Blake and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
©2010 Saland Publishing (P)2010 Saland Publishing
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