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  1. 4.2 hrs • 10/12/2014 • Abridged

    Those who only know Charles Dickens from his novels will be fascinated to discover the private and personal Dickens in this selection of his letters. His sister-in-law Georgina Hogarth thought they expressed his individuality; his friend Forster thought them literature. They give us a portrait of a complex man with so many different facets to his personality, ranging from the serious, when discussing social issues, to the outrageously humorous when writing merely to entertain his many friends. Two hundred years after his birth he still enlightens and entertains us.

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    Charles Dickens: A Portrait in Letters

    Compiled and introduced by David Timson
    Read by Simon Callow
    4.2 hrs • 10/12/14 • Abridged
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  2. 8.1 hrs • 9/9/2014 • Unabridged

    Great poetry can indeed outlast stone and the glory of princes, and the English poetic tradition is among the world’s richest. This audiobook tells the story of that tradition through its towering figures—Spenser and Shakespeare, Milton and Dryden, Wordsworth and Tennyson, Whitman, Dickinson, and Eliot—and through scores of other poets. Clear and accessible, blending criticism with imagination and illustrated with scores of quotations, this new history will delight all who care about the past and the future of English poetry.

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    The History of English Poetry

    8.1 hrs • 9/9/14 • Unabridged
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  3. 4.9 hrs • 4/1/2014 • Unabridged

    What if you could ask C. S. Lewis his thoughts on some of the most difficult questions of life? If you could, the result would be Dr. Alister McGrath’s provocative and perceptive audiobook, If I Had Lunch with C. S. Lewis.  Bestselling author, prominent academic, and sought-after speaker, Dr. McGrath sees C. S. Lewis as the perfect conversation companion for the persistent meaning-of-life questions everyone asks. What makes Lewis a good dialogue partner is that his mind traveled through a wide and varied terrain: from atheism of his early life to his conversion later in life; from his rational skepticism to his appreciation of value of human desires and imagination; from his role as a Christian apologist during World War II to his growth as a celebrated author of classic children’s literature. The questions Lewis pondered persist today: Does life have meaning? Does God exist? Can reason and imagination be reconciled? Why does God allow suffering? Let McGrath be your insightful guide to an intriguing conversation with Lewis about the ultimate questions.

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    If I Had Lunch with C. S. Lewis

    4.9 hrs • 4/1/14 • Unabridged
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  4. 0 reviews 0 5 1 1 out of 5 stars 1/5
    4.7 hrs • 3/26/2014

    Distinguished man of letters Ilan Stavans believes Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote de La Mancha “invented modern consciousness.” In these lectures, Stavans explores the work’s impact within Renaissance Spain and discusses Cervantes’ career as a soldier, tax collector, and failed playwright. Stavans also focuses on the baroque style and the way Spain has built its national identity around Don Quixote. With a wealth of insight, these enlightening lectures are invaluable both for those already passionate about Cervantes’ masterpiece and for those only about to discover its wonders.

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    The Novel That Invented Modernity

    Featuring Ilan Stavans
    4.7 hrs • 3/26/14
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  5. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    9.6 hrs • 1/28/2014 • Unabridged

    A New Yorker writer revisits the seminal book of her youth—Middlemarch—and fashions a singular, involving story of how a passionate attachment to a great work of literature can shape our lives and help us to read our own histories. Rebecca Mead was a young woman in an English coastal town when she first read George Eliot’s Middlemarch, regarded by many as the greatest English novel. After gaining admission to Oxford and moving to the United States to become a journalist, through several love affairs, then marriage, and family, Mead read and reread Middlemarch. The novel, which Virginia Woolf famously described as “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people,” offered Mead something that modern life and literature did not. In this wise and revealing work of biography, reportage, and memoir, Rebecca Mead leads us into the life that the book made for her, as well as the many lives the novel has led since it was written. Employing a structure that deftly mirrors that of the novel, My Life in Middlemarch takes the themes of Eliot’s masterpiece—the complexity of love, the meaning of marriage, the foundations of morality, and the drama of aspiration and failure—and brings them into our world. Offering both a fascinating reading of Eliot’s biography and an exploration of the way aspects of Mead’s life uncannily echo that of the author herself, My Life in Middlemarch is for every ardent lover of literature who cares about why we read books, and how they read us.

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    My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead

    My Life in Middlemarch

    9.6 hrs • 1/28/14 • Unabridged
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  6. 4.7 hrs • 10/2/2013

    Few writers are more often read, and better loved, than Charles Dickens and Samuel Langhorne Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain. Many of the characters populating their novels have become household words, cultural landmarks in their own right—Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, David Copperfield and Oliver Twist. It is as if we have known them our entire lives. In this course we take a look at the lives and works of both authors, comparing and celebrating them, in their use of use language, in their humor, in their evocation of character, and in their evaluation of the social world in which they find themselves.

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  7. 4.1 hrs • 5/2/2013 • Unabridged

    Adapted from four lectures given at Oxford University by Ali Smith, author of bestselling The Accidental, Artful is a tidal wave of ideas in four thematically organised bursts of thought: ‘On Time’, ‘On Form’, ‘On Edge’ and ‘On Offer and On Reflection’. Refusing to be tied down to either fiction or the essay form, Artful is narrated by a character who is haunted, literally, by a former lover, the writer of a series of lectures about art and literature. Full of both the poignancy and humour of fiction and all the sideways insights and jaunty angles you would expect from Ali Smith’s criticism, it explores form, style, life, love, death, mortality, immortality, and what art and writing can mean.

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    Artful by Ali Smith

    Artful

    Read by Ali Smith
    4.1 hrs • 5/2/13 • Unabridged
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  8. 7.4 hrs • 1/14/2013 • Abridged

    Esteemed professor Joseph Luzzi addresses the place of classic literature in the modern world with this riveting series of lectures. Advocating “the art of reading” as a way to answer essential questions of day-to-day life, Luzzi delves into the works of such literary titans as Plato, Shakespeare, and Virginia Woolf. By doing so, he tackles such age-old questions as “How do we fall in love?” and “How do we confront evil?”

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  9. 13.5 hrs • 9/18/2012 • Unabridged

    Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo—a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar, because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used it to create some of the best loved heroes of literature. Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: the real hero was the son of a black slave—who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time.  Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East—until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat. The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of eighteenth-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multiracial society. But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.

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    The Black Count

    13.5 hrs • 9/18/12 • Unabridged
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  10. 30.0 hrs • 8/20/2012 • Unabridged

    Dr. Johnson may have been correct in saying that “Rousseau was a very bad man,” but none can argue that his ideas are among the most influential in all of world history. It was Rousseau, the father of the romantic movement, who was responsible for introducing at least two modern day thoughts that pervade academia: (1) free expression of the creative spirit is more important than strict adhesion to formal rules and traditional procedures, and (2) man is innately good but is corrupted by society and civilization. The Confessions is Rousseau’s landmark autobiography. Both brilliant and flawed, it is nonetheless beautifully written and remains one of the most moving human documents in all of literature. In this work, Rousseau “frankly and sincerely” settles accounts with himself in an effort to project his “true” image to the world. In so doing he reveals the details of a man who paid little regard to accepted morality and social conventions.

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    The Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    The Confessions

    30.0 hrs • 8/20/12 • Unabridged
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  11. 2.7 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    On a summer’s day in 1858, in a garden behind Christ Church College in Oxford, Charles Dodgson, a lecturer in mathematics, photographed six-year-old Alice Liddell, the daughter of the college dean, with a Thomas Ottewill Registered Double Folding camera, recently purchased in London. Simon Winchester deftly uses the resulting image—as unsettling as it is famous, and the subject of bottomless speculation—as the vehicle for a brief excursion behind the lens, a focal point on the origins of a classic work of English literature. Dodgson’s love of photography framed his view of the world, and was partly responsible for transforming a shy and half-deaf mathematician into one of the world’s best-loved observers of childhood. Little wonder that there is more to “Alice Liddell as the Beggar Maid” than meets the eye. Using Dodgson’s published writings, private diaries, and of course his photographic portraits, Winchester gently exposes the development of Lewis Carroll and the making of his Alice.

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    The Alice behind Wonderland

    2.7 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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  12. 8.7 hrs • 6/1/2012 • Unabridged

    A net of complex currents flowed across Jacobean England. This was the England of Shakespeare, Jonson, and Bacon; the Gunpowder Plot; the worst outbreak of the plague England had ever seen; arcadian landscapes; murderous, toxic slums; and, above all, sometimes overwhelming religious passion. Jacobean England was both more godly and less godly than it had ever been, and the entire culture was drawn taut between the polarities. This was the world that created the King James Bible. It is the greatest work of English prose ever written, and it is no coincidence that the translation was made at the moment “Englishness” and the English language had come into its first passionate maturity. Boisterous, elegant, subtle, majestic, finely nuanced, sonorous, and musical, the English of Jacobean England has a more encompassing idea of its own reach and scope than any before or since. It is a form of the language that drips with potency and sensitivity. The age, with all its conflicts, explains the book. The sponsor and guide of the whole Bible project was the king himself, the brilliant, ugly, and profoundly peace-loving James the Sixth of Scotland and First of England. Trained almost from birth to manage the rivalries of political factions at home, James saw in England the chance for a sort of irenic Eden over which the new translation of the Bible was to preside. It was to be a Bible for everyone, and as God’s lieutenant on earth, he would use it to unify his kingdom. The dream of Jacobean peace, guaranteed by an elision of royal power and divine glory, lies behind a Bible of extraordinary grace and everlasting literary power. About fifty scholars from Cambridge, Oxford, and London did the work, drawing on many previous versions, and created a text which, for all its failings, has never been equaled. That is the central question of this book: How did this group of near-anonymous divines—muddled, drunk, self-serving, ambitious, ruthless, obsequious, pedantic, and flawed as they were—manage to bring off this astonishing translation? How did such ordinary men make such extraordinary prose? In God’s Secretaries, Adam Nicolson gives a fascinating and dramatic account of the accession and ambition of the first Stuart king, of the scholars who labored for seven years to create his Bible, of the influences that shaped their work, and of the beliefs that colored their world, immersing us in an age whose greatest monument is not a painting or a building but a book.

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    God’s Secretaries

    8.7 hrs • 6/1/12 • Unabridged
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  13. 3.8 hrs • 4/30/2012 • Unabridged

    The CliffsNotes study guide on Moliere’s Tartuffe, The Misanthrope, & The Bourgeois Gentleman supplements the original literary works, giving you background information about the author, an introduction to the works, a graphical character map, critical commentaries, expanded glossaries, and a comprehensive index, all for you to use as an educational tool that will allow you to better understand the works. This study guide was written with the assumption that you have read Tartuffe, The Misanthrope, and The Bourgeois Gentleman. Reading a literary work doesn’t mean you immediately grasp the major themes and devices used by the author; this study guide will help supplement your reading to be sure you get all you can from these works. In this audiobook, learn about the life and background of the author; hear an introduction to Tartuffe, The Misanthrope, and The Bourgeois Gentleman; explore themes, character development, and recurring images; and examine in-depth character analyses.

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  14. 4.9 hrs • 4/30/2012 • Unabridged

    The CliffsNotes study guide on Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings supplements the original literary works, giving you background information about the author, an introduction to the works, a graphical character map, critical commentaries, expanded glossaries, and a comprehensive index, all for you to use as an educational tool that will allow you to better understand the works. This study guide was written with the assumption that you have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Reading a literary work doesn’t mean that you immediately grasp the major themes and devices used by the author; this study guide will help supplement your reading to be sure you get all you can from both these works. In this audiobook you will learn about the life and background of the author; hear an introduction to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; explore themes, character development, and recurring images; learn new words from the glossary at the end of each chapter; examine in-depth character analyses; and acquire an understanding of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with critical essays.

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    On Tolkien’s The Hobbit and

    4.9 hrs • 4/30/12 • Unabridged
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  15. 3.6 hrs • 4/30/2012 • Unabridged

    The CliffsNotes study guide on Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo supplements the original literary work, giving you background information about the author, an introduction to the work, a graphical character map, critical commentaries, expanded glossaries, and a comprehensive index, all for you to use as an educational tool that will allow you to better understand the work. This study guide was written with the assumption that you have read The Count of Monte Cristo. Reading a literary work doesn’t mean that you immediately grasp the major themes and devices used by the author; this study guide will help supplement your reading to be sure you get all you can from Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo.

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  16. 3.3 hrs • 4/30/2012 • Unabridged

    The CliffsNotes study guide on Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels supplements the original literary work, giving you background information about the author, an introduction to the work, a graphical character map, critical commentaries, expanded glossaries, and a comprehensive index, all for you to use as an educational tool that will allow you to better understand the work. This study guide was written with the assumption that you have read Gulliver’s Travels. Reading a literary work doesn’t mean you immediately grasp the major themes and devices used by the author; this study guide will help supplement your reading. CliffsNotes Review tests your comprehension of the original text and reinforces learning with questions and answers, practice projects, and more.

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