ITV1 and Classic FM is offering an audio book series on Jane Austen titled, Jane Austen Season Audio Books. They can be listened to for free through iTunes. If you’re a Jane Austen fan and like audio books then you have to check it out.
Each abridged audio book is divided into five sections. I downloaded previous selections, Persuasion and Northanger Abby, all at once but typically one section is released a week, with an episode once a day. There is no listing on what is coming next but I hope they update it soon.
Northanger Abby is one of Jane Austen’s earliest novels but it wasn’t published until after her death. It is considered one of her most “literary” works. In traditional Austen style she pokes fun at 18th century societal standards and expectations; specifically, in how it relates to finding a suitable lifelong partner.
The comedic flair is felt immediately in the opening when the main character, Catherine Morland is described as the most disagreeable of children with somewhat boyish tendencies. “no one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine.” This is probably why when she grows up to be “presentable” she is such a likable character for most readers.
Northanger Abby is read by Classic FM’s youngest DJ, Lisa Duncombe. Lisa’s British accent provides the necessary atmosphere for this classic novel. Her voice is full of feeling and excitement to stave off boredom. Musical interludes break up scenes. The readings are divided into five parts of approximately 30 minutes each for a total of 139.46 minutes.
Persuasion is Jane Austen’s last novel and was also published after her death. It follows the loves and woes of Anne Elliot who is talked out of loving a poor naval officer. Years later when he returns she’s still unattached and regretful. Again Austen deals with the harsh realities of socialites with station and their decisions about love and money.
Persuasion is read by Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall. Like Duncombe, her British accent lends to the atmosphere of this classic novel’s reading. Her voice is deeper and older than the previous reader and doesn’t contain the excitement. It has a serious tone but still enjoyable. The readings are divided into five parts of approximately 30 minutes each for a total of 134.51 minutes.
I quite enjoyed listening to these audio books and look forward to further podcasts.
If you have iTunes you can subscribe to the podcasts for free with the following link or use it to download the iTunes player, also free.
This piece was originally published 4/23/2007 at Literary Fiction, BellaOnline.