February 1, 2012 - The acerbic yet compassionate Jane Austen
It is one of the Prof’s (few) intellectual failings that he has little time for Jane Austen, whose characters, he says, need a bomb under them (though he accepts that she writes very good English!). As ever, we have to make allowances for the odd aberrations and eccentricities of genius, and the Prof’s view is emphatically not shared by the countless thousands of devotees of her sensitive and deeply intriguing novels and the television adaptations that have had audiences glued to their screens and hungry for the next episode. Winston Churchill had her novel, Pride and Prejudice, read to him while recuperating from his illness in 1943! Happily the whole Jane Austen collection has been put on audiobooks by perfectly chosen readers in both abridged and unabridged versions.
For devotees who cannot bear to miss a single word we recommend the unabridged version called Jane Austen: The Complete Novels, which are read on 69 CDs by Juliet Stephenson, Emilia Fox and Anna Bentinck.
For those who are happy with abridgements (which are well done) we recommend the following.
There is an abridged collection of the novels in two boxed sets. Volume 1, containing Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey and The Biography, is read by Juliet Stevenson and Teresa Gallagher, is recorded on ten CDs, and gives over 12 hours of listening. Volume 2, read by Juliet Stevenson, Jenny Agutter, Teresa Gallagher, Kim Hicks and full cast, contains Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Lady Susan on 11 discs with nearly 14 hours of listening.
Jane Austen: The Complete Novels - audiobook, unabridged
Volume 1 - audiobook, abridged versions of: Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey and The Biography
Volume 2 - audiobook, abridged versions of Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Lady Susan