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by | Read by Derek Jacobi and Cast

History • 5.25 hrs. • Unabridged • © 2001

It takes some hubris to suppose that you can even sweep through 600 years of British poetry and prose in a 5.3-hour cassette volume. The attempt has yielded a listenable and informative production. Yet, it is not up to the high standard of the publisher's other "History Of..." recordings. The narrative is inelegant and occasionally off the mark. There are lapses, as when the narrator mentions that a particular author admired a now obscure Italian, but neither tells us who this Italian is nor explains why he brought him up. Or when he says Jane Austen is the first woman author mentioned on the tape when Mary Shelley is. Speaking of Shelley, author of FRANKENSTEIN, one plus of this treatment is that science fiction is given its due, whereas it is frequently dismissed or not acknowledged at all. Excerpts from works cited are delivered with varying degrees of skill by several artists. But it is Derek Jacobi's amiable, precise, and lyrical narration, always fresh and committed, that gives the exercise distinction and renders it pleasurable. Y.R. © AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine [Published: OCT/ NOV 01]

Book pak • Naxos AudioBooks • 2001

CS ISBN 962634721X $22.98 • Four cassettes

CD ISBN 9626342218 $26.98 • Four CDs

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Book pak • Naxos AudioBooks • 2001

CS ISBN 962634721X $22.98 • Four cassettes

CD ISBN 9626342218 $26.98 • Four CDs

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