The Classic Tales Podcast
Unabridged. Professional. Classic. 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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February 2021
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Syndication

Death is the tragic result of Lupin’s latest burglary. Has the gentleman thief gone too far? Maurice Leblanc, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

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

Thank you to all of our financial supporters. We couldn’t do this without you. We really try make your support worth your while. For a five-dollar monthly donation, you get a monthly code for $8 off any audiobook download. Give more, and you get more! It helps us have something to count on every month, and you help to keep the podcast going strong, giving more folks like you can discover the classics in a curated and easily accessible format. Go to classictalesaudiobooks.com today, and become a financial supporter. You’ll be glad you did. Thank you so much.

App users can hear the poem, “She Walks in Beauty”, by George Gordon, Lord Byron, in the special features for today’s episode.

And if it’s more convenient, we are streaming our episodes through YouTube, now. A link can be found in the comments section for today’s episode.

I’m hoping to resume producing more audiobooks of classic novels like I did in the past. I need to dedicate a week every month to it. My goal is to produce a standalone audiobook every month, like I used to. I’d love to do all of the Lupin novels, and do all the stories of Sherlock Holmes, John Carter of Mars, and tackle some Henry James and more Jane Austen and Victor Hugo. So, if you can swing it, please become a financial supporter. This is where I’d like to use your monthly contribution. And if you can’t do that, please tell a friend about us. I’d just love to get more classic literature into the ears of more people.

And on that note, it’s looking like The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne will be coming to the store soon. Here’s the thing, though. I only narrated the introduction. The great Nancy Peterson narrates the rest. Nancy is an Audie Award Winner, which is the Oscar of audiobooks. She’s absolutely stellar, and I was very humbled to be able to work with her. I’ll let you know when The Scarlet Letter is available.

And now, Edith Swan-neck, by Maurice Leblanc.

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Direct download: CT_720_Edith_Swan-neck.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

What will our hero see when he climbs to the top of the castle? H.P. Lovecraft, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

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

Thank you to all of our financial supporters. We couldn’t do this without you. We really try make your support worth your while. For a five-dollar monthly donation, you get a monthly code for $8 off any audiobook download. Give more, and you get more! It helps us have something to count on every month, and you help to keep the podcast going strong, giving more folks like you can discover the classics in a curated and easily accessible format. Go to classictalesaudiobooks.com today, and become a financial supporter. You’ll be glad you did. Thank you so much.

App users can hear the poem, “Abou Ben Adhem”, by Leigh Hunt, a contemporary of Byron, Shelley and Keats in the special features for today’s episode.

And if it’s more convenient, we are streaming our episodes through YouTube, now. A link can be found in the comments section for today’s episode.

I’m hoping to resume producing more audiobooks of classic novels like I did in the past. I need to dedicate a week every month to it. My goal is to produce a standalone audiobook every month, like I used to.

I’d love to do all of the Lupin novels, and do all the stories of Sherlock Holmes, John Carter of Mars, and tackle some Henry James and more Jane Austen and Victor Hugo. So, if you can swing it, please become a financial supporter. This is where I’d like to use your monthly contribution, along with supporting the show. And if you can’t do that, please tell a friend about us. I’d just love to get more classic literature into the ears of more people.

And now, The Outsider, by H.P. Lovecraft.

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Direct download: CT_719_The_Outsider.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

What will become of a king who openly mocks a cripple and a dwarf? Edgar Allan Poe, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

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

Thank you to all of our financial supporters. We couldn’t do this without you. We really try make your support worth your while. For a five-dollar monthly donation, you get a monthly code for $8 off any audiobook download. Give more, and you get more! It helps us have something to count on every month, and you help to keep the podcast going strong, giving more folks like you can discover the classics in a curated and easily accessible format. Go to classictalesaudiobooks.com today, and become a financial supporter. You’ll be glad you did. 

App users can hear the short story, “The Murder in the Rue Morgue”, by Edgar Allan Poe in the special features for today’s episode.

And if it’s more convenient, we are streaming our episodes through YouTube, now. A link can be found in the comments section for today’s episode.

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Now, for today’s story.

Edgar Allan Poe. I don’t think he actually “invented” the mystery or horror genres, but he definitely lifted the existing genres of his time to largely resemble how they largely look today. I’m comfortable in saying he defined them. The consulting detective of today is essentially a refined version of his vision. And he is still held as the master of the horror short story.

Today’s story, Hop-Frog, isn’t largely anthologized, and can be difficult to find. It wasn’t brought to my attention until a listener recommended it to me years ago. It moves very well, and has a smart, original finish. It’s a rare gem that is largely unmentioned in Poe’s short story canon, and I’m thrilled to present it to you.

And now, Hop-Frog, by Edgar Allan Poe.

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Direct download: CT_718_Hop-Frog.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

What will become of the townsfolk when Scratchy Wilson goes on the rampage, and the sheriff is out of town? Stephen Crane, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

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

Thank you to all of our financial supporters. We couldn’t do this without you. We really try make your support worth your while. For a five-dollar monthly donation, you get a monthly code for $8 off any audiobook download. Give more, and you get more! It really helps us out.

And you help to keep the podcast going strong, so that more folks like you can discover the classics in a curated and easily accessible format. Go to classictalesaudiobooks.com today, and become a financial supporter. You’ll be glad you did. And thank you so much.

App users can hear the poem “Kubla Khan”, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the special features for today’s episode.

And I am beginning to stream all of my podcast episodes through YouTube. If you listen to your audio through YouTube, which is apparently a thing now, you can find a link to our YouTube channel in the comments section for this week’s episode. All of the podcast episodes will be available as a kind of Videogram, with the weekly album art as the visual, while the audio plays behind it.

Now, for today’s story.

Now, as you know recently, I’ve been highlighting Russian literature. One thing that’s been brought to my attention is that it’s not until very recently that they’ve had a mystery genre. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction by Otto Penzler to a book I’m working on that includes these crime oriented Russian short stories:

“It is appropriate to the point of obviousness to recognize that the detective story cannot flourish in a non-democratic society. The chief protagonist in a detective story is a hero: the person who will right the wrongs perpetrated by a criminal. This is possible only in a society in which the rule of law matters, and it must matter to all strata of the society. If a government is corrupt, or dictatorial, its functionaries are, by definition, primarily focused on their own interests or in those of the government that employs them...

The very notion of Russian detective fiction is oxymoronic, as it is a country whose citizens seldom have enjoyed individual freedom. Sinking from the oppression of the czarist regime to the horrors of the Communist police state, Russia was in no position to offer fictional police officers as the heroes of mystery stories, as they were more likely than ordinary citizens to be the criminals and persecutors.” – Otto Penzler, from the introduction to The Greatest Russian Stories of Crime and Suspense. Published by Highbridge Audio.

So, in order to show the contrast between these stories, and to kind of showcase what those of us without such a background are perhaps more accustomed to, we’re presenting a Western from Stephen Crane this week. I figured there’s nothing more illustrative of cut and dried good guy versus bad guy than a Western.

However, while very well written, it still has some problems inherent to the genre.- particularly that of racism. Please note how the author points out the races of the African Americans, Mexicans, and Jewish people. Yet the race of all of the people who have speaking roles isn’t mentioned. This is racism. Even though there aren’t any overt racial slurs, this subtle naming of the race, and connecting the people thus named to their roles as waiter, staff, shepherds, or tailors is a definite form of racism.

So, something to think about as we head out West.

And now, The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky, by Stephen Crane.

 

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Direct download: CT_717_TheBrideComestoYellowSky.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Why is Aksionov’s wife so worried that if he goes to the fair, that she’ll never see him again? Leo Tolstoy, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

 

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

Thank you to all of our financial supporters. We couldn’t do this without you. We really try make your support worth your while. For a five-dollar monthly donation, you get a monthly code for $8 off any audiobook download. Give more, and you get more! It really helps us out, and gives us a revenue stream we can count on in this crazy time. And you help to keep the podcast going strong, so that more folks like you can discover the classics in a curated and easily accessible format. Go to classictalesaudiobooks.com today, and become a financial supporter. Thank you so much.

App users can hear the poem “The World is Too Much With Us”, by William Wordsworth in the special features for today’s episode.

Today’s story, to me, is a great example of the kind of gap that can sometimes occur between the type of Faith that we may read in our holy works, versus what we actually encounter in reality.

In my faith growing up, we had a set of basically steps we would go through when we had wronged someone else (made a mistake, needed to repent), whatever your phrasing called it.

When we had wronged someone, we were supposed to 1) admit or confess the thing that we did to the person. 2) ask for forgiveness. 3) do all that we could to repair the wrong. 4) never do it again. On the other side, as the person wronged, you were always taught to forgive. (How often should we forgive? Jesus said 70 times 7, right?)

Now that sounds like a great system, and it surely makes for a snappy talk or lesson on Sunday, but what happens when it plays out in reality? Some things can’t be repaired like a broken toy, or returned good as new, like item stolen from the convenience store. When we start to deal with other people, we can hurt each other in ways that can’t easily be repaired. Sometimes, even though we may not want to, we may do the same thing again and again.

Tolstoy was a man of faith, and in today’s story, he demonstrates this gap between precept and personal reality, and leads us to a higher conversation of what it means to live as a person of faith.

And now, God Sees the Truth, but Waits, by Leo Tolstoy.

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Direct download: CT_716_God_Sees_the_Truth.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Why won’t Tomsky’s 80-year-old grandmother share her incredible secret for gambling? Alexander Pushkin, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

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

Thank you to all of our financial supporters. We couldn’t do this without you. We really try make your support worth your while. For a five-dollar monthly donation, you get a monthly code for $8 off any audiobook download. Give more, and you get more! It really helps us out, and gives us a revenue stream we can count on in this crazy time. And you help to keep the podcast going strong, so that more folks like you can discover the classics in a curated and easily accessible format. Go to classictalesaudiobooks.com today, and become a financial supporter. Thank you so much.

App users can hear the poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, by William Wordsworth in the special features for today’s episode.

Today we return to Russia, and Alexander Pushkin. He was born to a noble family, but by the time he came along, most of the money was gone. He is one of the great Russian luminaries, and today’s story of self-destructive greed is largely reprinted and anthologized. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky made it into an opera which premiered in St. Petersburg in 1890.

Faro, spelled in the story as f-a-r-o, is a gambling card game in which players bet on the order in which the cards will appear. Pharoah, like the Egyptian Pharoah, is said to have been the name of the king of hearts.

And now, The Queen of Spades, by Alexander Pushkin.

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Direct download: CT_715_TheQueenofSpades.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Arséne Lupin declares it a mystery for babies. But when murder occurs on the open road, it seems everyone is stumped but him. Maurice Leblanc, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

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

Thank you to all of our financial supporters. We couldn’t do this without you. We really try make your support worth your while. For a five-dollar monthly donation, you get a monthly code for $8 off any audiobook download. It really helps us out, and gives us a revenue stream we can count on in this crazy time. And you help to keep the podcast going strong, so that more folks like you can discover the classics in a curated and easily accessible format. Go to classictalesaudiobooks.com today, and become a financial supporter. Thank you so much.

Today we are celebrating Arséne Lupin, to coordinate with the new Lupin series on Netflix. Not only do we have a lovely story today, but app users can hear “The Queen’s Necklace”, by Maurice Leblanc, in the special features portion for this week’s episode.

The Queen’s Necklace is the first episode in the Netflix series, and is the fifth chapter in The Adventures of Arséne Lupin, gentleman burglar. I love how they reference the source material so much in the show.

If I had to say the one thing that I particularly like about Lupin, is the way that he helps those people who have kind of fallen through the cracks. Folks who have been wronged, or sometimes done wrong, but your heart goes out to them. He helps them out where no one else can. There’s a kindness there. The Netflix series does a couple things to stay true to this trait, and I really, really like that.

And now, The Tragedy in the Forest of Morgues, and Arséne Lupin adventure, by Maurice Leblanc.

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Direct download: CT_714_ForestofMorgues.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

A copyist, a tailor, and an official each demonstrate the cracks in Tsarist Russian society.  Nikolai Gogol, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

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

Thank you to all of our financial supporters. We couldn’t do this without you. We really try make your support worth your while. For a five-dollar monthly donation, you get a monthly code for $8 off any audiobook download. It really helps us out, and gives us a revenue stream we can count on in this crazy time. And you help to keep the podcast going strong, so that more folks like you can discover the classics in a curated and easily accessible format. Go to www.classictalesaudiobooks.com today, and become a financial supporter. Thank you so much.

App users can hear “Composed upon a Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802”, by William Wordsworth, in the special features portion for this week’s episode.

And now for something completely different.

Today’s story is from Ukranian-born author Nikolai Gogol, and it exposes the various weaknesses of life in Tsarist Russia. Akakii Akakievich is a simple poor man, who is doing everything as he should, following all the rules. Watch how his social status ebbs and flows, as the people in his life help him, or don’t.

And now, The Overcoat, by Nikolai Gogol.

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Direct download: CT_713_TheOvercoat.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

How will St. George get rid of the dragon in the cave? For, he’s not a proper dragon at all. Instead of rampaging and marauding about, this dragon writes poetry.  Kenneth Grahame, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

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

Thank you to all of our financial supporters. We couldn’t do this without you. We really try make your support worth your while. For a five dollar monthly donation, you get a monthly code for $8 off any audiobook download. It really helps us out, and gives us a revenue stream we can count on in this crazy time.. And you help to keep the podcast going strong, so that more folks like you can discover the classics in a curated and easily accessible format. Go to classictalesaudiobooks.com today, and become a financial supporter. Thank you so much.

App users can hear the poem “London”, by William Blake, in the special features portion for this week’s episode.

Today’s story is written by Kenneth Grahame, who also wrote The Wind in the Willows. The Reluctant Dragon first appeared as a chapter in his book Dream Days. The story takes place in the Berkshire Downs in Oxfordshire, where the author lived and where, according to legend, St. George did fight a dragon.  

And now, The Reluctant Dragon, by Kenneth Grahame.

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Direct download: CT_712_TheReluctantDragon.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST