If only I could remain young while the picture grows old. For that I’d give anything.... When Dorian Gray, a handsome young man about town, makes this wish, he can hardly guess that it will mark the beginning of a life of hedonism and debauchery. Soon enough his webs of deception and deceit catch innocent victims, some of them his closest friends, and the only evidence of his misdeeds is a long-forgotten portrait in his attic.
"Utterly beautiful. Extraordinary."
How remarkable that an Italian living in the 15th and 16th centuries should lend his name to a word still in common usage in the English language today. Nicolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) wrote only one major work as a gift for his ruling Prince, Lorenzo de Medici. Machiavelli held office as a senior civil servant for 14 years until the downfall of the Republic in 1512. No longer officially employed to impart advice, instead Machiavelli poured out his ideas and resentment in his writings.
"The perfect narrator"
The Chronicles of Clovis, published in 1911, was the third in Saki (H. H. Munro)'s series of very funny and very vicious stories. As an insider, Saki was ideally poised to eviscerate the Edwardian middle class way of life, and his pitiless and magnetic sense of humour - teamed with an ability to wield that sharpest of writer's tools, the (very) short story - makes these some of the funniest and most quotable of tales. All of the running themes in Saki's work are here.
"Where has Saki been all my life?"
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...." The famous opening words of Charles Dickens's most exciting and popular novel perfectly capture the essence of the French Revolution. Swept up in the tide of cruelty and bloodshed are Charles Darnay, the innocent victim condemned for the crimes of his aristocratic uncle, and Sidney Carton, his mysterious and disreputable double. Linked by their love for the same woman, fate hurls them into the dangers of Paris, where they must fight for their lives.
After 18 years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the aging Dr. Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England.
"tremendous narration-- dickens words come alive"
In Terence Rattigan’s classic drama, an aging schoolmaster at an English secondary school faces the harsh judgments of his students, his fellow teachers, and his vicious and spiteful wife. But can a lone act of kindness from a sympathetic student change his heart? This recording also includes an interview with Michael Darlow, the author of Terence Rattigan: The Man and His Work.
Sir Derek Jacobi and cast perform another Shakespeare classic which has been released for the first time as a digital download. The play opens with the King of Navarre and three noble companions, Berowne, Dumaine, and Longaville, taking an oath to devote themselves to three years of study, promising not to give in to the company of women - Berowne somewhat more hesitantly than the others.