I have never been drawn to the work of Charles Dickens. The social needs of his era were enormous and I thought depressing. So when I had a choice in my English Lit. course at college, I chose to study Austen instead of Dickens.
Now, after several friends have told me how wonderful the BBC adaptation of Little Dorrit is, I have taken the plunge into the Dickens waters!
As a subscriber to Audible downloadable audio books, I was able to grab a real bargain – the full unabridged Little Dorrit, read by one of my favourite actors and voice talents, Anton Lesser. Over 35 hours of audio, for one monthly credit with Audible. It was so big a file that it took four separate downloads to grab it all!
So far I have listened to three chapters of the most wonderful description of places and people, got inside their heads, smiles at Dickens’ humour, wit and irony and am thoroughly looking forward to another chapter tonight! The reviews on Audible are right. Anton Lesser brings the very best out of this work, and makes the world of Dickens understandible to us.
This is a perennial task, and one I put off as long as I can.
This video is the simplest and clearest explanation I have seen so far.
As I use my eyes all day at work (mostly on the PC) I find reading very taxing. That is why I am especially delighted to have discoivered a wealth of audio books – free to download!
There are several sources, but the one I found for Cranford is here. Librivox has many of the out of print books already available, and more are being prepared all the time.
The Gutenberg project gives links to other sites which I may explore later.
I have begun listening to Cranford and am enjoying it. Mrs Gaskell’s writing is more appealing to me since I have watched the excellent BBC adaptation of Cranford. It is intriguing to see how, from a few sentences in the original, the BBC adaptors have built rounded characters, and the actresses have added reality, flesh and heart to them.
Regarding the audio version, it is of note that the readers seem to be mainly American. That does not detract too much from the enjoyment but I did at first find it a little surprising to hear such English literature read with a Trans-Atlantic accent! But these downloads are free, and that bargain is not to be sniffed at!
It was an excellent production, and thoroughly enjoyable. Every episode was loaded with cracking narrative and stunning photography (the lighting was a particularly joy). I viewed them in the evening, and all the following day pondered on the latest episode.
I was reminded of a remark made by a character in a Miss Marple story. He said something to the effect that she viewed the world through the prism of her small English village. I think Mrs Gaskell has done the same with Cranford.
When I speak of Miss Marple I mean, of course, the Agatha Christie character. My flat mate and I bought the boxed set of Miss Marple mysteries. She is captured impeccably by Joan Hickson, a fine actress. There is nothing that jars about her performance and after watching an episode, I always feel relaxed and uplifted. I cannot say the same about modern crime drama, which I find I cannot watch any more, because of the violence and harsh reality.
Escaping to an idyllic village – whether Cranford or St Mary Mead – is my idea of a chill-out zone!
I had known of Mrs Gaskell before, but never read any of her books or seen any film of one. So this was new for me. I’m looking forward to the promised Cranford Christmas special at the end of the year.
Today I discovered Cranford. Not having seen the original BBC series, based on three novels by nineteenth century writer, Mrs Gaskell, I bought the boxed set from Amazon. The reviews were very favourable and I haven’t been disappointed. On the contrary, the humour had me laughing out loud; the acting was brilliant and the costumes, scenery and photography were outstanding.
I’ve finished episode 1 and can’t wait for the free time to view another succulunt chunk!