The Classic Tales Podcast
Designed to make classic literature less intimidating, The Classic Tales Podcast has been showcasing the greatest literary authors for years. Narrating with gusto, BJ Harrison performs each word of the classic texts, elevating them with character voices, sharp accents and bridled emotion. Adventure, Mystery, Horror, Humor and more - The Classic Tales Podcast has something for everybody. It really is The Cure for the Common Commute. Winner - Outstanding Podcast Host: Arts and Entertainment , Society of Voice Arts and Sciences- 2022 Winner of w3 Silver Award by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts-2022 Winner of w3 Gold Award by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts-2021 Winner of Independent Audiobook Award for "Scaramouche", by Raphael Sabatini - 2021

Have 30 years dimmed the memory of music in Clark’s aunt? What will happen if it’s awakened? Willa Cather, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

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

The Vintage Episodes of The Classic Tales Podcast just keep coming. How did you like them? Are you looking for more? Please let us know by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com. Pick up an audiobook, become a supporter, leave a review, or send us an email. Let us know if you’d like more. 

Monday we’ll have Theodore Dreiser’s incredible story The Lost Phoebe, and on Wednesday, Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum. Believe it or not, when this episode of The Pit and the Pendulum was originally released, The Classic Tales Podcast was the #3 podcast in all of iTunes (Apple Podcasts) not just fiction, but in ALL podcasts, in between This American Life and Car Talk. Times have changed, and I’m glad we’ve kept up, to some extent. If you’d like more Vintage Episodes, head on over to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com and let us know one way or another. And thanks for your support! 

Today’s story is about a gifted musician who fell in love, and eloped to the frontier, forsaking her promising career as a professional musician. It’s interesting to think of this time when her life was wholly unconnected. Talk about off the grid. No internet, television, movies, or even a band concert. Hymns in church – that’s entertainment. 

Beautifully written by the great Willa Cather, A Wagner Matinee takes us to a simpler time, while still capturing much of the darker complexities we don’t want to talk about. 

And now, A Wagner Matinee, by Willa Cather.

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Direct download: CT_864_AWagnerMatinee.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Does a mummified monkey’s paw have supernatural powers? What happens when a careless wish puts it to the test? W. W. Jacobs, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to this Vintage Episode of The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening. 

Two Vintage Episodes are released each week, so be sure to check your feed regularly. New episodes will be available every Friday. If you like the Vintage Episodes, please let us know by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com. Become a supporter, tell your friends, order an audiobook, or send us an email. You can also leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. We’d love to hear if you like the older episodes, or even if you don’t.

William Wymark Jacobs’ remarkable story of The Monkey’s Paw was originally published in 1902 in Harper’s Monthly. It was reprinted the same year in his third collection of short stories, entitled The Lady of the Barge.

It’s been celebrated on stage, screen, radio, television, comics, and even opera since 1903. Something about the unintended consequences connected with having your wish granted really strikes a chord. Let’s strike it again. 

And now, The Monkey’s Paw, W.W. Jacobs. 

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Direct download: CT_863_TheMonkeysPawVINTAGE.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

It’s the most glorious flower garden the world has ever known. But when a young student falls in love with the mysterious Eve who tends the garden, he learns that this Paradise is anything but a Garden of Eden. Nathaniel Hawthorne, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to this Vintage Episode of The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening. 

Two Vintage Episodes are released each week, so be sure to check your feed regularly. New episodes will be available every Friday. If you like the Vintage Episodes, please let us know by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com. Become a supporter, tell your friends, order an audiobook, or send us an email. You can also give us a review on Apple Podcasts. We’d love to hear if you like the older episodes.

Today we continue the Gothic vein with a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Most of us are familiar with The Scarlet Letter. But Hawthorne really shines in the medium of the short story, and this story is an excellent example. 

Gothic elements abound – Beatrice is socially and physically isolated from the rest of the world. There is a supernatural and scientific element to the garden, the romance of the two lovers, and the Faustian/diabolical figure of Dr. Rappaccini. 

All in all, it’s a solid piece of literature, if you can overlook the green narrator.  

And now, Rappaccini’s Daughter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. 

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Direct download: CT_862_RappaccinisDaughterVINTAGE.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Why does the rose bush tremble, when there isn’t a hint of wind? Mary Wilkins Freeman, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

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

How are we liking the Vintage Episodes? Are they brightening up your week? Are you looking for more? Please let us know by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com. Pick up an audiobook, become a supporter, leave a review, or send us an email. Let us know if you’d like more. 

When I first started the show, we did a lot of ghost stories. So, this week, you’ll hear Rappaccini’s Daughter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and The Monkey’s Paw, by W. W. Jacobs. Keep an eye on your podcast feed for two Vintage Episodes – one on Monday, another on Wednesday. If you like them, head on over to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com and let us know one way or another. And thanks for your support! 

Today’s story is riddled with secrets, and but the main theme is deception. Each woman handles the truth differently in this story, and it’s interesting to see who does what with the information they have. 

Puritanism is rampant in the story, from the characters’ style of speaking, their way of life, the attitude toward teenage boys, and the unspoken understanding of how to handle the truth. Good people don’t tell lies, right? Well, let’s see. 

And now, The Wind in the Rose Bush, by Mary Wilkins Freeman.

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Direct download: CT_861_TheWindintheRoseBush.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

How does Barbara cope with the loss of her handsome Edmond? Can Lord Uplandtowers use this to exact a cruel revenge? Thomas Hardy, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to this Vintage Episode of The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening. 

We’ll be releasing two Vintage Episodes each week, so be sure to check your feed regularly. New episodes will be available every Friday. If you like the Vintage Episodes, please let us know by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com. Become a supporter, tell your friends, order an audiobook, or send us an email. We’d love to hear if you like the older episodes. 

T.S. Eliot said that Barbara of the House of Grebe “would seem to have been written solely to provide a satisfaction for some morbid emotion”. Looking back on this production, I’m rather inclined to agree. When you think about why this story was written, or what message it’s trying to convey, it may be simply to scratch some dark and murky itch. See how far you can go, kind of thing. 

In short, the ending of this story is pretty dark. Just a heads up. 

And now, Barbara of the House of Grebe, Part 2 of 2, by Thomas Hardy.  

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Direct download: CT_860_BarbaraoftheHouseofGrebe2of2VINTAGE.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

When Barbara elopes with her penniless lover, it sets in motion a series of events culminating in tragedy. Thomas Hardy, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to this Vintage Episode of The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening. 

We’ll be releasing two Vintage Episodes each week, so be sure to check your feed regularly. New episodes will be available every Friday. If you like the Vintage Episodes, please let us know by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com. Become a supporter, tell your friends, order an audiobook, or send us an email. You can also give us a review on Apple Podcasts. We’d love to hear if you like the older episodes. 

This episode of The Classic Tales Podcast was originally released on June 22, 2007, along with The Cask of Amontillado, by Edgar Allan Poe, and The Speckled Band, by Arthur Conan Doyle.

I ran across this story in a collection of short stories called The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales, edited by Chris Baldick, which I’d highly recommend. Of course, you’ll run into most of the stories if you listen to the Vintage Episodes of the podcast. 

Barbara of the House of Grebe was originally published in the periodical The Graphic in 1890, and later collected with nine other stories in A Group of Noble Dames, and published in book form in 1891. 

It’s a pretty gothic story. You’ve got the dark atmosphere, romance, tragedy, and a dark villain. So buckle up. It’s about to get real. 

And now, Barbara of the House of Grebe, Part 1 of 2, by Thomas Hardy. 

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Direct download: CT_859_BarbaraoftheHouseofGrebe1of2VINTAGEA.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Why is Bryden’s doppelgänger curiously disfigured? Henry James, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

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

This marks the first week of Vintage Episodes released alongside the new episodes of The Classic Tales Podcast. How did you like them? Are you looking for more? Please let us know by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com. Pick up an audiobook, become a supporter, leave a review, or send us an email. Let us know if you’d like more. 

The Vintage Episodes include not only a remastered version of the original release, starting in 2007, but also new introductory material, story and author background, notes on why the story was chosen, and any performance choices that may or may not have worked. We’ll continue the Vintage Episodes for a month. At that point, we’ll see if this is something we can continue. This week we’ll be releasing both parts of Thomas Hardy’s Barbara of the House of Grebe. Classic Tales app users can hear the first episode now in the special features for today’s episode. 

So keep an eye on your podcast feed, and you’ll see two Vintage Episodes appear – one on Monday, another on Wednesday. If you like it, head on over to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com and let us know one way or another. And thanks for your support! 

Today we finish Brydon’s story, and he meets his doppelgänger – the darker man he could have been. This desperate need to reconnect with his lost chances, lost friendships, lost opportunities, etc. has its roots in the writings of Emmanuel Swedenborg, who influenced James greatly. One of Swedenborg’s theories was that of “vastation”, in which a supernatural encounter with your darker alter-ego occurred, which must be defeated and overcome to progress in the spiritual plane.

Emmanuel Swedenborg influenced many great thinkers, including Fjodor Dostoyevsky, Robert Louis Stevenson, George Bernard Shaw, Sheridan LeFanu,  Abraham Lincoln, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and many others. 

And now, The Jolly Corner, Part 2 of 2, by Henry James.

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Direct download: CT_858_TheJollyCorner_2of2.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:41am MST

Helen Stoner is terrified. Two years ago, her sister died after hearing strange noises in her room. Now after moving into her sister’s room, Helen is hearing the noises again! Arthur Conan Doyle, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

Welcome to this Vintage Episode of The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

 We’ll be releasing two Vintage Episodes each week, so be sure to check your feed regularly. New episodes will be available every Friday. If you like the Vintage Episodes, please let us know by going to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com. Become a supporter, tell your friends, order an audiobook, or send us an email. We’d love to hear if you like the older episodes. 

This episode of The Classic Tales Podcast was originally released on June 22, 2007, along with The Cask of Amontillado, by Edgar Allan Poe, and Part One of Barbara of the House of Grebe, by Thomas Hardy. 

The Adventure of the Speckled Band is one of 12 Sherlock Holmes stories comprising The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It is one of the 56 short stories in the Sherlock Holmes canon, and hosts many tell-tale signs of the classic detective genre. Doyle himself called it his “best story”. It was originally published in the Strand Magazine in February 1892. 

And now, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, by Arthur Conan Doyle. 

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Direct download: CT_857_TheSpeckledBandVINTAGE.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

The bloody-minded Montresor leads the pompous Fortunato deep into the wine vaults and catacombs, crowning in a climax that is delightfully sinister. Edgar Allan Poe, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

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

This is our first Vintage Episode of The Classic Tales Podcast. We’ll be releasing two Vintage Episodes each week, so be sure to check your feed regularly. New episodes will be available every Friday. 

We’ve got a special treat for you. Head on over to Nancy Peterson’s TikTok channel @nancy_peterson_narrates, and you can see her recording an episode or two of The Classic Tales Podcast LIVE. In October, she and I will be doing a duet narration of The Closed Cabinet. You can watch her record her portion live on her TikTok channel, and even chime in! Nancy is an Audie Award-Winning narrator, a world class individual, and great friend. Check out her TikTok channel, and you’ll have a ball. A link is in the show description.

This episode of The Classic Tales Podcast was originally released on June 22, 2007, along with The Speckled Band, by Arthur Conan Doyle, and Part One of Barbara of the House of Grebe, by Thomas Hardy. 

The recording of Basil Rathbone recording The Cask of Amontillado changed my life. It really did. Up until that time, I couldn’t understand the heavier language of the classics. I never really understood Poe until I had an actor help me with it. But when I heard this recording, the world opened up for me. I listened to it over and over again, until I practically memorized it. Then I discovered other audiobooks, and learned how to really read. I could understand these amazing stories that were up until that time, hidden from me. I can’t emphasize how deeply this impacted my life. We named our first-born son Basil. 

So, after I listened to a few hundreds of audiobooks over a dozen years or so, I heard about podcasting, and I had an idea for one. The Cask of Amontillado had to be the first episode. I cobbled together an old computer, borrowed some recording equipment, and threw three episodes together. 

Now, 17 years later, I record audiobooks as my full-time job. 

Let’s start the journey again. 

And now, The Cask of Amontillado, by Edgar Allan Poe. 

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Direct download: CT_856_TheCaskofAmontilladoVINTAGE.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Is the spectral presence in Bryden’s home the ghost of his alter ego, or is he just seeing what he wants to see? Henry James, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

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

If you’d like to hear more Classic Tales, then buckle up. Starting this week, for every one episode of new content, we will be releasing two Vintage Episodes of The Classic Tales Podcast. You may have noticed that there are only 250+ episodes available through the podcast, but the episode numbers are 850+. That means there are around 600 episodes currently not on the feed. Well, we’re going to change that. 

Not only will we continue to create new content every Friday, but on Mondays and Wednesdays we be releasing Vintage Episodes of The Classic Tales Podcast. We’re going to start at the very beginning, with the very first episode, and release two Vintage Episodes every week. If we release two Vintage Episodes for every new episode, we’ll be caught up in around five and a half years. 

So if you want more, you got it. But this is a trial program. We’re going to try this for a while, and if you like it, please become a supporter, or tell your friends, or drop us a line and let us know. We’ll see how it goes. As for me, I’m excited to revisit some of my old friends, and I’d like to hear from you.

Keep an eye on your podcast feed, and you’ll see two new episodes in addition to our regular show on Friday. If you like it, head on over to http://classictalesaudiobooks.com and let us know one way or another. And thanks for your support! 

Today’s story is incredibly autobiographical, and is considered one of Henry James’ best ghost stories. He wrote it six years before his death, and thirty-three years after he settled in Europe after leaving America. 

It’s the story of a wealthy young man who leaves America in his youth, follows a life of dissipation for 33 years in Europe, and returns to his ancestral home in New York. He is struck by the changes he sees, of course. But upon realizing he has a certain knack for real estate development, he is haunted by his alter ego – the man he could have been. 

And now, The Jolly Corner, Part 1 of 2, by Henry James. 

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Direct download: CT_855_TheJollyCorner_1of2.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Why is a spectre haunting a lonely signal man in the small hours of the night? Charles Dickens, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. 

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

If you’re like me, when it comes to choosing audiobooks, I have two problems:

I don’t know if I’ll like the writing, and I don’t know whether I’ll like the narrator.

Being a supporter of The Classic Tales solves this problem perfectly.

You can listen to the podcast for free, go to the Classic Tales store, and try downloading some of our free offerings. You can totally try before you buy, and we’ve recently updated our free titles, so check it out!

Whatever title you choose, you know it’s going to be carefully curated, so the writing is on point, and you know the narrator! 

Become a monthly supporter, and you can support the show, and get more audiobooks! 

It’s a great way to listen to high quality audiobooks you know you’ll love! We got you covered! 

After the show, go to classictalesaudiobooks.com and become a supporter. Thanks for helping out.

Oliver Twist. Great Expectations. David Copperfield. A Christmas Carol. Nicholas Nickleby. The list goes on. When it comes to classic literature, Charles Dickens has it covered. He’s written some of the most iconic characters in our canon of classic literature. 

He used his power to point out some of the worst parts of the Industrial Revolution in Victorian England. And he also showed us the heights of humanity by detailing the lives of the poor and lower classes. Now, let’s hear a ghost story. 

And now, The Signal Man, by Charles Dickens. 

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Direct download: CT_854_TheSignalMan.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 12:30am MST