The Classic Tales Podcast
Every week, join award-winning narrator B.J. Harrison as he narrates the greatest stories the world has ever known. From the jungles of South America to the Mississippi Delta, from Victorian England to the Gothic castles of Eastern Europe, join us on a fantastic journey through the words of the world's greatest authors. Critically-acclaimed and highly recommended for anyone who loves a good story with plenty of substance.

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Syndication

10 strangers embark on a perilous journey across occupied France. But the darkest part of their adventure has nothing to do with the soldiers. Guy de Maupassant, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

The Classic Tales Podcast is listener supported. Go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and find out how you can become a financial supporter.  Thank you very, very much for your support.

This is the last week to pick up the entirety of Emma, and also be primed and ready for the next audiobook in the Enchiridion: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo. And for only $5/month, you’ll also get a coupon code for 8 dollars off anything in the store, and you also get access to The Enchiridion, our special premium line of audiobooks. Seriously, if you enjoy the podcast, please step up and support it. It’s a terrific value and everybody wins!

To learn how you can be a financial supporter of the podcast, click on over to www.thebestaudiobooks.com. And if you ever need more time to download your items or run into any trouble, simply respond to any of the emails we send out connected with your order. All the responses come to me, and I’ll get you squared away in no time. Again, thank you so much.

Today’s story is one that I have been saving up for many years. Back when I began the podcast in 2007, I started reading more authors who excelled in the short story department. This is when I discovered Guy de Maupassant. His horror stories are absolutely terrifying, and his other short stories are absolutely magnificent.

As I read this story again after all these years, I was amazed at all the different dynamics he created and describes in this coach for travellers. It has a gritty realism, and reveals some profound character traits in some unlooked for places.

The main character of the story is referred to by her nickname: Boule de Suif, which is French for Ball-of-Fat, or Tallow Ball. See, there isn’t really a solid translation of the name into English. I prefer the French appellation. To me it feels more like a name rather than a hole in the translation.

And now, “Boule de Suif, or Ball-of-Fat, Part 1 of 2”, by Guy de Maupassant

Tap here to go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a financial supporter! 

Direct download: CT_571_Ball-of-Fat_Part1.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

An extremely cerebral scientist writes a satire on modern morality, and is shocked when it is taken seriously. Edith Wharton, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

The Classic Tales Podcast is listener supported. Go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and find out how you can become a financial supporter. Thank you very, very much for your support.

Emma, by Jane Austen is now completed and released. Now is your last chance to pick up the entirety of Emma, and also be primed and ready for the next audiobook in the Enchiridion: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo. And for only $5/month, you’ll also get a coupon code for 8 dollars off anything in the store. Seriously, if you enjoy the podcast, please step up and support it. It’s a terrific value and everybody wins! We’ve also added 10 new titles to the store, and are working to make our entire backlog of titles available for you.

To learn how you can be a financial supporter of the podcast, click on over to www.thebestaudiobooks.com. And if you ever need more time to download your items or run into any trouble, simply respond to any of the emails we send out connected with your order. All the responses come to me, and I’ll get you squared away in no time. Again, thank you so much.

Today’s story raises the question usually posed in an artistic or creative sense: Is a creative individual a sellout if he/she creates something in order to get paid, rather than truly following their own creative instinct and abilities to the fullest for their own merit? Is it a real piece of music, art, writing, etc. when someone else is paying for it? But then, is it only true art when the artist starves? Can there be a happy medium where true art can be produced, and the artist not starve and still maintain their integrity?

But today’s story takes it even further. Today’s tale is about a scientist. And so now we wonder how many inventions, medical advances, and scientific breakthroughs could have happened if the scientist were truly left to be purely a scientist, and not have to worry about earning a living? It’s a tricky balance, and I don’t know think there’s an easy answer.

And now, “The Descent of Man”, by Edith Wharton

Tap here to go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a financial supporter!

Direct download: CT_570_TheDescentofMan.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:01am MDT

A melancholy German Hussar creates an intensifying spiral of conflict for a secluded country girl. Thomas Hardy, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

The Classic Tales Podcast is listener supported. Go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and find out how you can become a financial supporter. Thank you very, very much for your support.

Emma is now completed and released. Now is your last chance to pick up the entirety of Emma, and also be primed and ready for the next audiobook in the Enchiridion: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo. You’ll also get a coupon code for 8 dollars off anything in the store. Seriously, if you enjoy the podcast, please step up and support it. It’s a terrific value and everybody wins! We’ve also added 10 new titles to the store, and are working to make our entire backlog of titles available for you.

To learn how you can be a financial supporter of the podcast, click on over to www.thebestaudiobooks.com. And if you ever need more time to download your items or run into any trouble, simply respond to any of the emails we send out connected with your order. All the responses come to me, and I’ll get you squared away in no time. Again, thank you so much.

Today’s tale was based on a true story. Hardy was actually told this story by one of the last people to have actually witnessed it, and the evidence at the end is stated exactly as it now reads in the town registrar’s office. In his preface to the 1896 edition of Life’s Little Ironies, which featured “The Melancholy Hussar”, Hardy states:

“A story-teller’s interest in his own stories is usually independent of any merits or demerits they may show as specimens of narrative art; turning on something behind the scenes, something real in their history, which may have no attraction for a reader even if known to him – a condition by no means likely. In the present collection ‘The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion’ has just such a hold upon myself for the technically inadmissible reasons that the old people who gave me their recollections of its incidents did so in circumstances that linger pathetically in the memory.”

Apparently the 90-year-old woman who told this story to Hardy pointed out the actual spots where “such and such” happened, and it made an incredible impression on him. So much so that we are still exploring the story 124 years later.

And now, “The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion”, by Thomas Hardy

Tap here to go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a financial supporter!

Direct download: CT_569_MelancholyHussar.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Anton Chekhov opens up the question of identity, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

The Classic Tales Podcast is listener supported. Go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and find out how you can become a financial supporter. Thank you very, very much for your support.

Emma is now completed and released. Now is your last chance to pick up the entirety of Emma, and also be primed and ready for the next audiobook in the Enchiridion: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo. You’ll also get a coupon code for 8 dollars off anything in the store. Seriously, if you enjoy the podcast, please step up and support it. It’s a terrific value and everybody wins! We’ve also added 10 new titles to the store, and are working to make all of our backlog of titles available for you.

To learn how you can be a financial supporter of the podcast, click on over to www.thebestaudiobooks.com. And if you ever need more time to download your items or run into any trouble, simply respond to any of the emails we send out connected with your order. All the responses come to me, and I’ll get you squared away in no time. Again, thank you so much.

Today, Anton Chekhov poses the question of our identity. What does our identity consist of? Where does it come from? Is it merely an accumulation of our geography, our upbringing, our religious affiliation, our schooling or lack thereof, and our profession? Or is it something more? Is it important to even have one, and if so, why?

Today’s story is about a person whose identity is wound up in many of these things. I hope you like it. If you’re like me, you’ll want to listen to it again and see what you missed on the first go ‘round.

And now, “The Darling”, by Anton Chekhov

Tap here to go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a financial supporter!

 

 

Direct download: CT_568_The_Darling.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

The storm breaks, and Love Among the Chickens concludes. P.G. Wodehouse, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

The Classic Tales Podcast is listener supported. Go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and find out how you can become a financial supporter. Thank you very, very much for your support.

Emma is nearing its conclusion, and we will be releasing the final installment next month. If you’re coming late to the Emma party, you are in luck. You can become a financial supporter today for 5 dollars per month, and gain access to all four portions of Emma that we’ve released so far- and the next one, of course, going forward. And, you also get a coupon code that is good for 8 dollars off anything in the store.

Based on the results of the survey we sent out a few weeks ago, the next title that we will be producing for The Enchiridion is Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Did you know that at one time the style of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was considered outdated, old fashioned and undesirable? There was actually a large movement to have it torn down which was gaining momentum. One man saved the cathedral from destruction. That man was Victor Hugo. When he heard about this movement to destroy Notre Dame, he decided to stand against it, and wrote the novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Once the book was released, the crusade to destroy this magnificent edifice died flat.

If you become a supporting member today, you’ll instantly receive 4 out of 5 parts of Emma, then next month receive the final part of Emma. In May, you’ll gain access to the episodic release of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and all the while, you’ll get a monthly coupon code for 8 dollars off of our expanding library of titles.

To learn how you can be a financial supporter of the podcast, click on over to www.thebestaudiobooks.com. And if you ever need more time to download your items or run into any trouble, simply respond to any of the emails we send out connected with your order. All the responses come to me, and I’ll get you squared away in no time. Again, thank you so much.

And now, Love Among the Chickens, part 6 of 6, by P.G. Wodehouse

Tap here to go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a financial supporter!

Direct download: CT_567_LoveAmongChickens_6of6.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Turns are given to far too many tables, as Love Among the Chickens continues. P.G. Wodehouse, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

This episode of The Classic Tales Podcast is made possible by our listeners who have gone to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become financial supporters. Thank you very, very much for your support.

If you’re coming late to the Emma party, I have good news for you. You can become a financial supporter today for 5 dollars per month, and gain access to all four portions of Emma that we’ve released so far- and the next one, of course, as going forward. And, you also get a coupon code that is good for 8 dollars off anything in the store.

I’m also going to start having a monthly featured title on sale for under $8, so you can put those coupons to good use.

We are coming up on the one-year anniversary of The Enchiridion in April. Since we started this premium service, we will have produced the entirety of Allan Quatermain, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Emma. That’s around 70 hours of additional content on top of the weekly podcast we were able to produce thanks to you. We’re trying to make your donation dollars stretch, but we need all the help we can get.

To learn how you can be a financial supporter of the podcast, click on over to www.thebestaudiobooks.com. And if you ever need more time to download your items or run into any trouble, simply respond to any of the emails we send out connected with your order. All the responses come to me, and I’ll get you squared away in no time. Again, thank you so much.

And now, Love Among the Chickens, part 5 of 6, by P.G. Wodehouse

Tap here to go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a financial supporter!

Direct download: CT_566_LoveAmongChickens_5of6.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:00am MDT

Many cats are let out of many bags, and help is discovered in a most unusual place. P.G. Wodehouse, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

This episode of The Classic Tales Podcast is made possible by our listeners who have gone to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become financial supporters. Thank you very, very much for your support.

 

I hope you all had a chance to take the survey asking what title you would like us to do next for the Enchiridion. If you missed it, I’m putting a link to the survey in the notes for this episode. Thank you so much for your input. It really helps us steer The Classic Tales in the direction that works best for you!

We are coming up on the one-year anniversary of The Enchiridion in April. Since we started this premium service, we will have produced the entirety of Allan Quatermain, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Emma. That’s around 70 hours of additional content on top of the weekly podcast we were able to produce thanks to you. We’re trying to make your donation dollars stretch, but we need all the help we can get.

To learn how you can be a financial supporter of the podcast, click on over to www.thebestaudiobooks.com. And if you ever need more time to download your items or run into any trouble, simply respond to any of the emails we send out connected with your order. All the responses come to me, and I’ll get you squared away in no time. Again, thank you so much.

And now, Love Among the Chickens, part 4 of 6, by P.G. Wodehouse

 

Tap here to go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a financial supporter!

 

Tap here to take the survey on what you’d like us to produce next for The Enchiridion!

 

Direct download: CT_565_LoveAmongChickens_4of6.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 7:50am MDT

Risky business is surreptitiously done with fantastic results…for now. P.G. Wodehouse, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

This episode of The Classic Tales Podcast is made possible by our listeners who have gone to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become financial supporters. Thank you very, very much for your support.

If you’re coming late to the Emma party, I have good news for you. You can become a financial supporter today for 5 dollars per month, and gain access to all four portions of Emma that we’ve released so far- and the next one, of course, as going forward. And, you also get a coupon code that is good for 8 dollars off anything in the store.

Financial supporters will also be receiving an email with a survey asking what title they would like us to do next in the Enchiridion. I’ll be sending that out tomorrow, so keep an eye on your inboxes and vote on the title you’d like to hear!

Recently I looked over how well these longer titles sell, and it hit me how it really would be impossible to do any of these longer titles outside the podcast if it weren’t for the monthly financial supporters. Sure, I could do them through the podcast, but then The Count of Monte Cristo would have taken all year. Thanks again for being a crucial component in bringing these titles to life.

To learn how you can be a financial supporter of the podcast, click on over to www.thebestaudiobooks.com. And if you ever need more time to download your items or run into any trouble, simply respond to any of the emails we send out connected with your order. All the responses come to me, and I’ll get you squared away in no time. Again, thank you so much.

And now, Love Among the Chickens, part 3 of 6, by P.G. Wodehouse

Tap here to go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a financial supporter!

Direct download: CT_564_LoveAmongChickens_3of6.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:13am MDT

Strangers on a train meet up again, and new acquaintances are…developed. P.G. Wodehouse, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

This episode of The Classic Tales Podcast is made possible by our listeners who have gone to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become financial supporters. We couldn’t do this without you.

So, I had a listener send me an email, and he was like, “Ok, let me get this strait – for 5 dollars a month, I can get Emma, like all the parts, and a credit for $8 off anything in the store? How long do the credits last?” I could see that he was maybe looking for a “catch” – smart guy! I replied and said that the credit is issued as a monthly coupon code, and it is good for a year from the time of its release. And also that, yes, you can have all of Emma and an 8 dollar code for 5 dollars a month. He’s now a financial supporter. Thanks, Will!

Financially supporting the podcast not only helps us keep the podcast up and running, it also helps to grease the Harrison Family’s wheels. I remember when I was an art student, and I learned about what freelancing was. My initial reaction was, “That’s the dumbest thing ever! Who would do that?” Well, 22 years later I still do it. And the trickiest part of working as a freelancer is keeping a steady stream of funds. See, even if I do the work, sometimes the mail breaks down, or hurricanes hit, or things get miscommunicated. It’s just the nature of the freelancing beast. And so having a monthly resource I can lean on from time to time really helps when the road gets bumpy. And sometimes things can get pretty bumpy. Thank you so much.

To learn how you can be a financial supporter of the podcast, click on over to www.thebestaudiobooks.com. And if you ever need more time to download your items or run into any trouble, simply respond to any of the emails we send out connected with your order. All the responses come to me, and I’ll get you squared away in no time. Again, thank you so much.

And now, Love Among the Chickens, part 2 of 6, by P.G. Wodehouse

Tap here to go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a financial supporter!

Direct download: CT_563_LoveAmongChickens_2of6.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Famous bombastic borrower Stanley Featherstonehough Ukridge is convinced that his complete ignorance of farming gives him a particular advantage in the subject. And he persuades his wife and his mild-mannered chum to start a chicken farm with him. P.G. Wodehouse, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

This episode of The Classic Tales Podcast is made possible by our listeners who have gone to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become financial supporters. We couldn’t do this without you.

So, I had a listener send me an email, and he was like, “Ok, let me get this strait – for 5 dollars a month, I can get Emma, like all the parts, and a credit for $8 off anything in the store? How long do the credits last?” I could see that he was maybe looking for a “catch” – smart guy! I replied and said that the credit is issued as a monthly coupon code, and it is good for a year from the time of its release. And also that, yes, you can have all of Emma and an 8 dollar code for 5 dollars a month. He’s now a financial supporter. Thanks, Will!

Financially supporting the podcast not only helps us keep the podcast up and running, it also helps to grease the Harrison Family’s wheels. I remember when I was an art student, and I learned about what freelancing was. My initial reaction was, “That’s the dumbest thing ever! Who would do that?” Well, 22 years later I still do it. And the trickiest part of working as a freelancer is keeping a steady stream of funds. See, even if I do the work, sometimes the mail breaks down, or hurricanes hit, or things get miscommunicated. It’s just the nature of the freelancing beast. And so having a monthly resource I can lean on from time to time really helps when the road gets bumpy. And sometimes things can get pretty bumpy. Thank you so much.

To learn how you can be a financial supporter of the podcast, click on over to www.thebestaudiobooks.com. And if you ever need more time to download your items or run into any trouble, simply respond to any of the emails we send out connected with your order. All the responses come to me, and I’ll get you squared away in no time. Again, thank you so much.

Today’s story is the first part of a new P.G. Wodehouse series! I’ve been kicking this title around in my head for a while now. When I listened to an audio version of it, I thought, “You know, this could be really funny with a little twist.” Also, a satirical book featuring a bombastic blowhard who thinks that his absolute lack of experience makes him uniquely qualified…. well let’s just say I thought this was a strangely timely tale. I hope you like it.

And now, Love Among the Chickens, part 1 of 6, by P.G. Wodehouse 

Tap here to go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a financial supporter!

Direct download: CT_562_LoveAmongChickens_1of6.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:00am MDT

Something simply out of the ordinary turns into an unspeakable horror. Philip K. Dick, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

This episode of The Classic Tales Podcast is made possible by our listeners. Many, many thanks to all those who have gone to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become financial supporters. We couldn’t do this without you.

The Enchiridion series of Emma, by Jane Austen continues this month. If you came late to the show, and you don’t have all 3 parts of Emma that we’ve done so far, please send an email to support@thebestaudiobooks.com, and we’ll set you up with a link to all parts we’ve released so far. Even if you just became a member, I’d love for you to have the whole story. Send us an email and we’ll hook you up.

If you’re a monthly supporter, you’ll receive a healthy portion of Emma every month until its completion. Please click on over to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a supporting member today. You can subscribe for $5 or $10 a month and receive the monthly members-only content of The Enchiridion, and get coupon codes for up to $17 dollars off any of our titles. It’s seriously a great deal, and a fantastic way to expand your library of classic audiobooks.

Today’s story is from science fiction titan Philip K. Dick. It was originally published in Science Fiction Adventures Magazine in December 1953. I’d like to note that many of the understated opinions and prejudices found in this story are products of the time. The hero of the story is verbally abusive to his wife and children, and even gets physical with his kids. The fact that this story is produced by The Classic Tales does not mean that we condone these behaviors or prejudices. Parents, it might be a good chance to talk with you kids about how far we’ve come!

And now, The Hanging Stranger, by Philip K. Dick

Tap here to go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a financial supporter!

Direct download: CT_561_TheHangingStranger.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:15am MDT

We finally see behind the mask, and Louisa May Alcott’s “blood and thunder” tale comes to its shocking conclusion, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

This episode of The Classic Tales Podcast is made possible by our listeners. Many, many thanks to all those who have gone to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become financial supporters. We couldn’t do this without you.

The Enchiridion series of Emma, by Jane Austen continues this month. If you came late to the show, and you don’t have all 3 parts of Emma that we’ve done so far, please send an email to support@thebestaudiobooks.com, and we’ll set you up with a link to all parts we’ve released so far. Even if you just became a member, I’d love for you to have the whole story. Send us an email and we’ll hook you up.

If you’re a monthly supporter, you’ll receive a healthy portion of Emma every month until its completion. Please click on over to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a supporting member today. You can subscribe for $5 or $10 a month and receive the monthly members-only content of The Enchiridion, and get coupon codes for up to $17 dollars off any of our titles. It’s seriously a great deal, and a fantastic way to expand your library of classic audiobooks.

And now, Behind a Mask, or A Woman’s Power, part 4 of 4, by Louisa May Alcott

Tap here to go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a financial supporter!

Direct download: CT_560_Behind_A_Mask_4of4.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:00am MDT

A tableau vivant sets the perfect scene for Jean Muir’s greatest, albeit silent, performance. Louisa May Alcott, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

This episode of The Classic Tales Podcast is made possible by our listeners. Many, many thanks to all those who have gone to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become financial supporters. We couldn’t do this without you.

The Enchiridion series of Emma, by Jane Austen continues this month. If you’re a monthly supporter, you’ll receive a healthy portion of this audiobook every month until its completion. Please click on over to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a supporting member today. You can subscribe for $5 or $10 a month and receive the monthly members-only content of The Enchiridion, and get coupon codes for up to $17 dollars off any of our titles. It’s seriously a great deal, and a fantastic way to expand your library of classic audiobooks.

Today’s portion of the novel contains a tableau, short for tableau vivant, in French, which means literally living picture. A tableau is a depiction of a scene usually presented on a stage by silent and motionless costumed participants, often duplicating a famous painting.

And now, Behind a Mask, or A Woman’s Power, part 3 of 4, by Louisa May Alcott

 

Tap here to go to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a financial supporter!

 

Direct download: CT_559_Behind_A_Mask_3of4.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tensions rise as all at the Coventry estate feel “little” Muir’s presence. Louisa May Alcott, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

This episode of The Classic Tales Podcast is made possible by our listeners. Many, many thanks to all those who have gone to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become financial supporters. We couldn’t do this without you.

The Enchiridion series of Emma, by Jane Austen continues this month. If you’re a monthly supporter, you’ll receive a healthy portion of this audiobook every month until its completion. Please click on over to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a supporting member today. You can subscribe for $5 or $10 a month and receive the monthly members-only content of The Enchiridion, and get coupon codes for up to $17 dollars off any of our titles. It’s seriously a great deal, and a fantastic way to expand your library of classic audiobooks.

And now, Behind a Mask, or A Woman’s Power, part 2 of 4, by Louisa May Alcott

Direct download: CT_558_Behind_A_Mask_2of4.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

All in the Coventry household are curious about the new governess, little Jean Muir. But is the slight and frail girl all she seems to be? Louisa May Alcott, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

This episode of The Classic Tales Podcast is made possible by our listeners. Many, many thanks to all those who have gone to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become financial supporters. We couldn’t do this without you.

The Enchiridion series of Emma, by Jane Austen continues this month. If you’re a monthly supporter, you’ll receive a healthy portion of this audiobook every month until its completion. Please click on over to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and become a supporting member today. You can subscribe for $5 or $10 a month and receive the monthly members-only content of The Enchiridion, and get coupon codes for up to $17 dollars off any of our titles. It’s seriously a great deal, and a fantastic way to expand your library of classic audiobooks.

Louisa May Alcott grew up in an environment of education. Her father was one of the great Transcendentalists, and his friends Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were frequent visitors. Bronson Alcott was a philosopher and educator, whose aim was to “awaken the soul” of the pupil. He did this through the then controversial method of being courteous and gentle, rather than doling out draconian punishments to his students. He also included physical education, art, music, and nature study in his curriculum, at a time when these subjects were not taught. Unfortunately, his methods did not catch on, and were considered peculiar. He struggled to keep his schools open, closing his last school before he reached the age of 40. Many of Alcott’s original methods are established principles in the school systems of today.

The Alcott family was pretty poor, though they had such distinguished neighbors. Bronson would do odd jobs as a handyman when the opportunities arose, but money was pretty tight. They lived largely on the charity of others.

When Louisa May was 19, she took a job as a companion to a young woman, sister of James Richardson, a lawyer in Dedham, Massachusetts. The old gentleman described the job as requiring some light housework, but that she should be regarded as one of the family. The reality was that the light housework was rather heavy, the sister was rarely seen, and Mr. Richardson attempted to woo with poetry an unimpressed young Louisa. When Louisa protested and delivered an ultimatum, the situation worsened. After seven weeks of drudgery, she left. She was paid four dollars, which the outraged Alcotts returned. Louisa May later wrote about the incident in “How I Went Out to Service”. Doubtless this event fuelled much of the anger and frustration that burns bright in many of Louisa’s “blood and thunder” tales. The first of which, entitled “Pauline’s Passion and Punishment”, won a contest that paid her one hundred dollars for its publication. Her “blood and thunder” tales sold for fifty to seventy-five dollars each. They were published under the pseudonym A.M. Barnard.

And now, Behind a Mask, or A Woman’s Power, part 1 of 4, by Louisa May Alcott

Direct download: CT_557_Behind_A_Mask_1of4.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

The Mummy’s Curse, by Louisa May Alcott. Today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

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Bronson Alcott called his scribbling daughter “An arsenal of powers”, and he certainly was right. While most modern readers connect her with the quiet domestic and moral life found in Little Women, what may don’t understand is that for many years prior to writing her opus, she wrote many, many thrillers leaning to the Gothic style of horror. She called them her “blood and thunder” books. In a letter to Alf Whitman she revealed her plan for being published with a periodical called The Ledger:

“I intend to illuminate The Ledger with a blood & thunder tale as they are easy to compose & are better paid than moral…works.”

She was a ravenous reader, and at a very young age devoured the works of Dickens, Irving, Dante, Shakespeare, Hawthorne and others. The Scarlet Letter was one of her favorite books. We’ll delve further into Alcott’s blood and thunder tales in the weeks to come. Don’t miss it!

And now, Lost in a Pyramid, or The Mummy’s Curse, by Louisa May Alcott

Direct download: CT_556_Mummys_Curse.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:00am MDT