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The History of Emily Montague Vol. II, by Frances Moore Brooke

As I rehearsed for this recording, I was inspired by characters from Jane Austen books, movies, and audiobooks, especially Lydia Bennet (Pride and Prejudice), Emma Woodhouse (Emma), Lucy Steele (Sense and Sensibility), and Mary Musgrove (Persuasion). The History of Emily Montague is a novel about courtship during the mid 1700s between silly young girls and awkward gentlemen. Frances Moore Brooke probably influenced Jane Austen’s work, as their lifelines overlapped, and they were both from England, and their writing styles are similar (e.g., characters, issues).

Volume 1 describes the predicament of Emily Montague as she discovers that marrying Sir George Clayton, the man whom her uncle chose for her, might not be in her best interest as she finds herself attracted to Colonel Rivers. Her decision to spend the winter with her friend Arabella Fermor increases her opportunities to distance herself from Sir George and align with Colonel Rivers.

I recorded the letters that Arabella wrote in Volume 2 from the 4-volume set. Most of her correspondence is to her and Emily’s dear friend back in London (Lucy Rivers) who happens to be Colonel Rivers’s sister, and who has her own romantic story to tell. Here are the first two letters from Volume 2.

I am delighted by this story’s turn from Arabella’s immersion in flirting to her describing the Canadian landscape at some length. What an interesting choice of character to do such a job for the author as she was the first European to publish a novel in and about Canada. I am familiar with “one of the noblest works of nature,” which Arabella describes, and am saddened as I think about how it has changed as a result of development, especially in the U.S., particularly from the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Listen to the entire first volume of this book.
Listen to the entire second volume of this book.
Read the entire book.
Listen to all the work that I’ve done for LIbriVox.

This is a LibriVox recording. All LibriVox recordings are in the public domain. For more information, or to volunteer, please visit: librivox.org.

The Great Stone Face, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

I resisted my dear one’s urging me to record Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Great Stone Face as long as I could. After all, Basil Rathbone mastered the job of telling the story, but our home-made cassette tape copy is wearing out, and we haven’t found a replacement after years of searching. So, I acknowledge and thank Mr. Rathbone, may he rest in peace, for his inspiration during my recording.

Basil Rathbone was confined to the 20-minute length of a vinyl 33 1/3 LP record in 1960, so his version was edited, but I spoke the entire 1897 text.

A favorite line:
“behold a man who might have fulfilled the prophecy, and had not willed to do so.”

Are YOU pursuing your grandest dreams? I see that we are each a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. The picture is best when we each contribute our piece.

Read the story.
Listen to all the work that I’ve done for LIbriVox.

This is a LibriVox recording. All LibriVox recordings are in the public domain. For more information, or to volunteer, please visit librivox.org.

Image credit:
“NH Franconia NH RPPC Rocky Outcrop Old Man of the Mountain also known as Great Stone Face or The Profile on Cannon Mountain in White Mountains Photographer Unknown Postmarked”

by UpNorth Memories – Donald (Don) Harrison is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Leave It To Psmith, by P.G. Wodehouse

I have little patience for slapstick and vulgur English humor, but savor the restrained clowniness of certain British actors. John Reid of D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, and Edward Petherbridge of the Dorothy L. Sayers Mystery Series inspired me as I recorded Chapter 4 of Leave It To Psmith by P. G. Wodehouse, Painful Scene At The Drones Club.

You can read the entire novel at Gutenberg.

Listen to all the work that I’ve done for LIbriVox.

This is a LibriVox recording. All LibriVox recordings are in the public domain. For more information, or to volunteer, please visit librivox.org.
The story, cover image, and recording are in the Public Domain.

Of Seneca’s Writings

When my son asked me to find and record something by the philospher Lucius Annaeus Seneca, I found his extant writings to be too interesting and specific to record just one; but this introductory article gave me a satisfying overview of his popular quotes from his books that are lost.

I had great fun untangling translator’s Sir Roger L’Estrange’s convoluted language, the way that I learned to with Shakespeare and poetry. I recorded his article true to his wording, and hoped that my phrasing illuminated the meaning for you. Let me know?

I was amused by the list of criticisms against Seneca, including his “tinkling” sentences; but even his critics commended him for his moralizing.

My favorite quick quotes from this article:
“They worship the images of the God…and yet…they have no regard at all to the workman that made it.”
“Philosophers… make me think of gallipots in an apothecary’s shop, that have remedies without and poison within.”
“There is no escaping from our keeper…There is no dividing us from ourselves…He that has a conscience gives evidence against himself.”
“Once in a year people may be allowed to be mad.”

The author of this article was the translator for the book titled, “Seneca’s Morals of a Happy Life, Benefits, Anger and Clemency”. This article was included in that book. You can listen to the article as part of a short nonfiction collection at LibriVox or find the entire book at Gutenberg.

Listen to all the work that I’ve done for LIbriVox.

This is a LibriVox recording. All LibriVox recordings are in the public domain. For more information, or to volunteer, please visit: librivox.org.

The cover image, text, and recording are in the Public Domain.