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The History of English Literature (Naxos AudioBooks Histories series) Audio CD – Unabridged, June 19, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

From AudioFile

It takes some hubris to suppose that you can even sweepthrough 600 years of British poetry and prose in a 5.3-hour cassettevolume. The attempt has yielded a listenable and informativeproduction. Yet, it is not up to the high standard of the publisher'sother "History Of..." recordings. The narrative is inelegant andoccasionally off the mark. There are lapses, as when the narratormentions that a particular author admired a now obscure Italian, butneither tells us who this Italian is nor explains why he brought himup. Or when he says Jane Austen is the first woman author mentioned onthe tape when Mary Shelley is. Speaking of Shelley, author ofFRANKENSTEIN, one plus of this treatment is that science fiction isgiven its due, whereas it is frequently dismissed or not acknowledgedat all. Excerpts from works cited are delivered with varying degreesof skill by several artists. But it is Derek Jacobi's amiable,precise, and lyrical narration, always fresh and committed, that givesthe exercise distinction and renders it pleasurable. Y.R. ©AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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Product Details

  • Series: Naxos AudioBooks Histories series
  • Audio CD: 4 pages
  • Publisher: Naxos Audio Books; Unabridged edition (June 19, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626342218
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626342213
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 4.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #839,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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After experiencing this wonderful book, I want to sing about English literature.
Gerard D. Launay
The narrator is great, the historical background provides the necessary foundation for the understanding of the issues which influenced authors.
Maria
It is read by a single narrator but the excerpts are read by various other readers.
"honeydick"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By "honeydick" on July 11, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The History of English Literature is an audio documentary presenting the finest authors England has to offer. From Chaucer to the present the narrator guides the listener on an audio journey telling him all about the different authors and styles of writing. In addition historical foot notes are given as well to give the listener an idea of what influnced a particular author during the time he or she was writing. In brief politics, the church and royalty not to mention social change all played major parts throughout the centuries to give each period a unique prospective. Dozens of authors and poets are covered here although in breif. Eliot, Austen, Dickens, Wolf, Wells, Blake, Woodsworth and so on. The list is quite extensive and it will give the casual listner a great overview of the written word. As stated each author or poet is presented briefly some merely only getting a mention while others are talked about more thoroughly and even have excerpts from their works read out. It is a great listening experience for one who wants to approach the topic casualy and learn as much about it in the least amount of time. I managed to get through the whole book in a matter of three days but I simply loved how it all was executed. So if you found your high school or college lit courses tiresome but still are interested to see how the novel of today was formulated or what the poets of years past had to say and how they shaped the literary landscape I highly recommend this audio book by Naxos. It is something you will want to refer to time and time again. A great audio documentary to add to your library. This audiobook contains four CD's. It is read by a single narrator but the excerpts are read by various other readers. It also has musical breaks between each section of the text.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gerard D. Launay on July 2, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I love this book. I think about my time in high school listening to dreadful lectures on English literature, theater, and the great books. How things would have been different if I had listened to this glorious audiobook. Not only is it sharply written, but Sir Derek Jacobi narrates the story of literature with a sardonic edge, so that you can't wait to hear what he has to say next. He draws you into the story of the literature...what makes these great books or poems distinguished...what makes them interesting...what makes them new and exciting. Of course, we hear samples from the 1300's - Canterbury Tales (and) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight...to the present, over 100 samples to be exact. I want to go back and read these wonderful books he talks about. After experiencing this wonderful book, I want to sing about English literature. Truly, if you have a high school student who thinks that literature is dead or boring, look no further than this audio CD. I cannot give it enough praise.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maria on September 17, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The History English of Literature is delightful. The narrator is great, the historical background provides the necessary foundation for the understanding of the issues which influenced authors. The excerpts are carefully chosen, thus portraying in a solid manner the contribution such authors made to the English literature. I absolutely recommend it! Maria Beuttenmüller.
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Format: Audio CD
Well produced and rich with capable narration of snippets out of English works ranging from Chaucer to the Postmoderns (earning for it the 2nd star I gave it) this 'History' could have been executed far better, but for the sweeping generalizations made throughout the main narrator's script, especially regarding the most recent works and world events. Simplistic, patronizing and in some cases not only controversial but completely incorrect, the fourth CD unwinds like a lecture from a pedantic and haughty college professor, who doesn't realize he's being either of those things even while he insults his students and eviscerates his subject. This is the orthodoxy of the canon that leaves out so many talented writers along the way in order to tout those accepted to closed minds that soak up vastly inflated college tuition monies while expecting regurgitation of their overbearing half-digested tripe. These are minds that dismiss the work of those same "accepted writers" when it doesn't meet the dry requirements of such critical geldings-- one small but prominent example of this was their treatment of Dylan Thomas, in the middle of sentences discussing war poets! If you haven't read or thought independently from these kind of pathetic critical stooges, I'm sure this presentation will seem a perfectly reasonable and horizon-widening experience for you. Otherwise, perhaps you'll find yourself more than a little irritated with the narrow-mindedly judgmental approach employed by the script writers of this disappointing sampler.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kt. Orlopp on January 6, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This audiobook is really a performance rather than a book read aloud. It's wonderful - fun, educational, relaxing. Get it!
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