Naxos AudioBooks Narrator Juliet Stevenson Chats with Austenprose

Juliet Stevenson head shot 2I have had the pleasure of listening to and reviewing many of the Naxos AudioBooks classic recordings narrated by a variety of talented British actors, but collectively my favorite readings are those by award winning actress Juliet Stevenson—whose five interpretations of Jane Austen’s novels remain paramount in my personal audio collection.

Awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1992 and the C.B.E. (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1999, Ms. Stevenson’s vocal talent is deeply rooted in her classical training at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) and her time with Royal Shakespeare Company. While a friend boasts of seeing her stage performance of Hedda Gabler in London in 1989, beyond her audio recordings I have only had the pleasure of her film and television career—and that alone could sustain any lover of finely measured and intimate interpretations of human nature. Some of my favorite Stevenson performances are her tormented, grieving Nina in Truly Madly Deeply (1990), a part tailored for her by screenwriter/director Anthony Minghella, her outrageously pompous Mrs. Elton in Emma (1996), Evie in Being Julia (2004), and the Oracle in Atlantis (2013-2015). Everything she touches turns to gold. Continue reading

Shamela (Naxos AudioBooks) , by Henry Fielding, read by Clare Corbett  – A Review

Shamela, by Henry Fielding Naxos AudioBooks (2013)From the desk of Br. Paul Byrd, OP:

“In my last [letter] I left off at our sitting down to Supper on our Wedding Night, where I behaved with as much Bashfulness as the purest Virgin in the World could have done. The most difficult Task for me was to blush; however, by holding my Breath, and squeezing my Cheeks with my Handkerchief, I did pretty well” (297).

Reading Samuel Richardson’s novel Pamela, Or, Virtue Rewarded, as I recounted in my previous review of it, is not for the faint of heart; but I am happy to say that it was all made worthwhile just this past week as I listened to a Naxos AudioBooks recording of Henry Fielding’s masterful parody fittingly entitled Shamela. Many know Fielding for Tom Jones, but his satirical powers are at full and outrageous height in Shamela. In a quarter of the number of pages found in the original story, Fielding highlights and lampoons all of Richardson’s characteristic tropes, transforming Miss Pamela Andrews from a paragon of female virtue into an archetypical scheming hussy. The great irony is that, as shamefully vicious as Shamela maybe, she is a great deal more fun to listen to than her saintly prototype. Continue reading

Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (Naxos AudioBooks), by Samuel Richardson, read by Clare Corbett – A Review

Pamela, by Samuel Richardson, Naxos AudioBooks (2013)From the desk of Br. Paul Byrd, OP:

Her knowledge of Richardson’s works was such as no one is likely again to acquire, now that the multitude and the merits of our light literature have called off the attention of readers from that great master.” – J.E. Austen-Leigh, Memoir of Jane Austen, ch. 5

Listed among Jane Austen’s most beloved authors is the rebellious printer-turned-novelist Samuel Richardson, creator of such potboilers as Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740). The novel opens at the death of Pamela Andrew’s employer, the woman who has educated her to be as accomplished as any young woman could hope to be, by eighteenth century standards. And from there commences a rather strange and disturbing plot in which Pamela must fend off the unwanted advances of her new male employer—and I’m not simply talking about sexual harassment, which would have been bad enough; I’m talking about outright attempted rape. Indeed, the main dramatic question of the novel is whether Pamela will forfeit her honor (read “her virginity”) for the sake of wealth and safety, or will she display a heroic level of Christian virtue, and risk the possibility of public disgrace. Spoiler Alert: the novel’s subtitle gives the answer away from the start. Continue reading

Giveaway Winners Announced for the Naxos Pride and Prejudice Alert Tone

Pride and Prejudice (Naxos AudioBooks), by Jane Austen, read by Emilia Fox (2005)23 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of six alert tones available from Pride and Prejudice by Naxos AudioBooks. The winners drawn at random are:

  • Danielle Sales who left a comment on February 08, 2013
  • Christina B. who left a comment on February 07, 2013
  • crindalyn who left a comment on February 07, 2013
  • Virginia Claire who left a message on February 13, 2013
  • kfield2 who left a comment on February 07, 2013
  • Felicia who left a comment on February 07, 2013

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by February 20, 2013. I have several giveaways running, so please state which item you won. Shipment is by digital download.

Thanks to Naxos AudioBooks for the great idea of an alert tone for our cell phones and iPad’s and for the generous giveaway copies. I hope they will take our advice for other new alert tones from P&P!

© 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Naxos AudioBooks Offers Giveaway of New Pride and Prejudice Alert Tone

Naxos AudioBooks Pride and Prejudice Ringtone (2013)

Last month I reviewed the Naxos Audiobooks edition of Pride and Prejudice, read by Emilia Fox. It is my favorite audio edition of Jane Austen’s classic novel. I was thrilled to learn that they have also created in honor of this year’s bicentenary of publication a clever alert tone for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch of a select section of the recording.

Wouldn’t it be totally cool and so chic to have actress Emilia Fox as Elizabeth Bennet saying, “It is your turn to say something now, Mr. Darcy.” when you receive a new email or text message on your electronic device? Well, now you can.

It is only accessible within the iTunes store on your iOS device. Once it is downloaded, you can set your new tone as your default tone or assign it to a Contact. Why not try it?

Gentle readers, please bear with this Luddite who does not own a cell phone, iPod or iPad. If I make a mistake in the description or process to purchase, please forgive me. My computer and NOOK are as a techie as I get.

Here are the instructions:

Available from:

Apple Mobile App Store (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)

Tones

You cannot purchase ringtones and alert tones from your computer, but you can purchase them using your iOS device with iOS 5 or later. You can purchase tones on iPad, iPhone (3GS or later), and iPod touch (4th generation or later).

To locate tones in iTunes on an iOS device:

  1. Tap the iTunes app.
  2. Tap Tones. If Tones is not visible, tap More > Tones.
  3. Browse for tones. Once you purchase a tone, a dialog is displayed. The dialog gives you an option to set your new tone as your default tone or assign it to a Contact.   If you don’t want to do anything with the tone just yet, simply tap Done.
  4. Tones purchased using your iOS devices are synced to your iTunes library when you connect your device to your computer. On an iPod touch or iPhone, you can find tones in Settings > Sounds. On an iPad, you can find tones in Settings > General > Sounds.

A Grand Giveaway

Naxos AudioBooks graphicNaxos Audiobooks has generously offered 6 alert tones of Elizabeth Bennet saying, “It’s your turn to say something now, Mr. Darcy.” available to Austenprose readers. You must have iOS device. Just leave a comment stating what quote from P&P you would like them to create next! It must be one sentence. The contest ends at 11:59 pm on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. Winners will be announced on Thursday, February 14, 2013. They will receive an iTunes card to purchase their new Pride and Prejudice alert tone. Good luck!

2013 Naxos Audiobook, Austenprose

Giveaway Winner Announced for the Naxos Audiobooks edition of Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, read by Emilia Fox (Naxos Audiobooks) 200568 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one copy of Pride and Prejudice (Naxos Audiobooks), by Jane Austen, read by Emilia Fox. The winner drawn at random is:

  • Tricia who left a comment on January 12, 2013

Congratulations Tricia! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by Wednesday, January 23, 2013.  Please state which item you have won in the subject line of your email and let me know if you want CD’s or a digital download. Shipment is to US addresses or digital download internationally.

Many thanks to Naxos Audiobooks for the giveaway copy. Happy listening to the winner!

© 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, read by Emilia Fox (Naxos Audiobooks) – A Review & Giveaway

The Pride Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge (2013)Today marks the official opening of The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013, our year-long event honoring Jane Austen’s second published novel. *throws confetti* Please follow the link above to read all the details of this reading and viewing challenge. Sign up’s are open until July 1, 2013.

Considering the origins of this celebration how could I possibly not start with the inspiration of it all, Pride and Prejudice? It is really no burden considering that it is one of my favorite novels. No, I correct myself.  It is my favorite novel, bar none.

I first read Pride and Prejudice over thirty years ago and have re-read it every year since. For years I worshiped in silence, but now thanks to the Internet I can sing its praises to the skies by openly admitting that it far surpasses any other novel of my acquaintance in wit, vivacity, and romance. As Kathleen Kelly states in the movie You’ve Got Mail, “I get lost in the language.” And so I do…every time.

I will tell you another secret. I own over fifty different editions of Pride and Prejudice! Hardcover, softcover, audio, illustrated, collectible, vintage, movies, mini-series, graphic novels, quote books, greeting cards, board games—you name it. I have a whole section in my library devoted to it—my shrine of homage. There. It’s now out in the open. I am truly a Pride and Prejudice addict.

One is humbled to review a book considered a classic of world literature. What could I possibly say about Pride and Prejudice that has not been scrutinized by scholars, exalted by enthusiasts, or bemoaned by students who have been forced to read it and just don’t get what all the fuss is about? Plenty—and that is one of its enduring charms. It is so many things to different people. After repeated readings I still laugh out loud at Austen’s dry wit, wily social commentary and satisfying love story. It often tops international polls as the “the most loved” or “favorite book” of all time; numerous stage and screen adaptations continue to remind us of its incredible draw to the modern audience; and its hero and heroine, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, may be the most famous romantic couple short of Romeo and Juliet. High praise, indeed, for a novel written almost two hundred years ago by a country clergyman’s daughter, home schooled by her father, and un-exalted in her lifetime.

Set in the early nineteenth-century country village of Longbourn in Hertfordshire, the story revolves around the Bennet family and their five unmarried daughters. They are the first family of consequence in the village. Unfortunately, the Bennet estate is entailed to a male heir, a cousin, Mr. William Collins. This is distressful to Mrs. Bennet who knows that she must find husbands for her daughters or they shall all be destitute if her husband should die. Mr. Bennet is not as concerned and spends his time in his library away from his wife’s idle chatter and social maneuvering. Elizabeth, the spirited and confident second daughter is determined to only to marry for love. She teases her beautiful and kind elder sister Jane that she must be the one to catch a wealthy husband to support them all. The three younger sisters: Mary, Catherine and Lydia, hinder their elder sisters chance for a good match by inappropriate and unguarded behavior.

When Mr. Bingley, a single man of large fortune, moves into the neighborhood with his fashionable sisters he attends the local assembly ball and is immediately taken with the angelic Jane Bennet. His friend Mr. Darcy is even richer with a great estate in Derbyshire, but he is proud and arrogant giving offense to all, including Elizabeth when he refuses to dance with her. She overhears him tell Bingley that she was only tolerable and not handsome enough to tempt him. This amuses and annoys her enough to repeat it to her friends and family. The whole community declares him the most disagreeable man, eaten up with pride.

And thus the famous love story begins. How Mr. Darcy’s pride will be humbled and Elizabeth’s prejudices dissolved is one of the greatest stories of all time. Austen’s astute characterizations and clever plotting never cease to amaze. Society has changed in two hundred years, but human nature—foibles and all—remain constant, much to our amusement and delight.

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, read by Emilia Fox (Naxos Audiobooks) 2005Naxos Audiobooks presents us with a professionally produced and finely crafted jewel in this audio recording of Pride and Prejudice. Narrated by British actress Emilia Fox, viewers of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle will remember her fine performance as shy Georgiana Darcy and be pleasantly surprised by her vocal range and emotional depth in characterization. I particularly appreciated her interpretation of Mrs. Bennet’s frazzled anxiety and Lady Catherine de Bourgh imperious resolve. Listeners will enjoy all thirteen hours of this unabridged recording honoring one of the greatest novels ever written and want to seek out the other six Austen novels that they have also recorded in audio format.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, read by Emilia Fox
Naxos Audiobooks USA, (2005)
Unabridged, 11 CD’s (13 h 02 m)
ISBN: 978-9626343562

A GRAND GIVEAWAY

Enter a chance to win one CD or digital copy of Pride and Prejudice (Naxos Audiobooks) by leaving a comment by 11:59 pm, Wednesday, January 16, 2013 stating which character in the novel is your favorite, and which is NOT. The winner will be announced on Thursday, January 17, 2013.  Shipment of CD to US addresses only please and digital download internationally. Good luck!

© 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose