Each season we explore a new book. Welcome to the Classics Out Loud library!
If you have a book you'd like us to read, drop us a line at email [at] classicsoutloud.com
The Picture of Dorian Gray
By Oscar Wilde
The legendary wordsmith, Oscar Wilde, first introduced his immortal creation in the winding pathways of 19th century London. 'The Picture of Dorian Gray', a story draped in the splendour of aestheticism and the morbid hues of intrinsic degradation, was his one and only novel. A novel that dared to question society and its values, reshaping the canvas of literature forever.
Today, across the centuries, we invite you to step into the enigmatic world of Dorian Gray. Immerse yourself in the intoxicating scent of timeless art, shameless hedonism, and the menacing portrait that bears the weight of one man’s sins and vanity. Let us traverse through the smoky parlours and rich tapestries of Victorian England, unveiling the threads of vanity, desire, and the eerie consequences of a life spent chasing eternal youth and beauty.
In this labyrinth of words, your senses will meet with the vibrant characters – artist Basil Hallward, hedonist Lord Henry Wotton, and our protagonist, the tragic and beautiful Dorian Gray. Each episode will delve deeper into the mysterious folds of Wilde's masterpiece, guided by the soft, whispered promises of prose and sinister allure of immortality.
Close your eyes, open your minds, and dive into the vividly painted saga of Dorian Gray. Perhaps, within its richly textured narrative, you might find fragments of yourself, mirrored in Dorian's oscillating portrait of beauty and decay. Into our labyrinth of sound and storytelling, welcome to the episodic podcast of 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'.
The Secret Garden
By Frances Hodgson Burnett
This heart-warming tale has stolen hearts and sparked imaginations since it was first published in 1911, and it continues to be cherished by those who discover its charms. You will be transported to an enchanting tale that explores themes of love, resilience, and the extraordinary power of nature's simple beauty.
As we embark on this literary adventure, discover the story of Mary Lennox, a lonely and neglected young girl, who is sent to live with her mysterious uncle in the windswept and dark surroundings of Misselthwaite Manor on the Yorkshire moors. Through her journey of self-discovery and newfound friendships, watch Mary transform and learn the true value of hope and love as she breathes new life into a secret garden, a place of enchantment and wonder hidden behind walls of thorny vines and locked doors.
The Secret Garden podcast is perfect for readers young and old alike. Whether you're rediscovering this timeless classic or experiencing its magic for the first time, our podcast series is designed to inspire and entertain, leaving every one of our listeners eager to dive into the next episode. As a listener, you'll find yourself fully immersed in the world of Mary, Colin, and Dickon, exploring the magic that lies just beyond a hidden door in a secluded English garden. This is more than just a story; it's an emotional journey and a touching reminder that even the bleakest of circumstances can give way to joy and growth.
The Turn Of The Screw
By Henry James
As one of literature's most enigmatic and captivating masterpieces, this gripping story will surely captivate your senses and indulge your curiosity, leaving you eager for more.
Originally published in 1898, The Turn of the Screw has remained a lasting fixture in the literary world for its chilling atmosphere, layered characters, and intricate narrative, leaving readers divided on their interpretations even after all these years. The tale revolves around a young governess who accepts a position at the isolated Bly Manor, where she becomes responsible for the education and care of a boy named Miles and a girl named Flora, who are under the care of their distant uncle.
As the story unfolds and the eerie atmosphere thickens, the governess finds herself haunted by inexplicable apparitions that threaten to crumble her sanity, raising questions about the nature of evil and innocence. James's iconic story drives home the power of ambiguity, and as we navigate through his signature evocative prose, we are left questioning the reality of the events transpiring within Bly Manor.
A Room With A View
By EM Forster
Set in the beautiful landscapes of Italy, A Room With A View follows the story of Lucy Honeychurch, a young woman who is struggling to find her place in the world. She is torn between the expectations of her traditional upbringing and the freedom of the modern world around her.
After a chance encounter with the unconventional George Emerson and his father, Lucy is torn between the two worlds. With the help of the charming and romantic Cecil Vyse, she must decide which world she belongs in. In this audio podcast version of the classic novel, listeners will be taken on a journey through the beautiful settings and picturesque landscapes of Italy, and will follow Lucy’s story of self discovery.
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
If you're a fan of mysteries and thrillers, you won't want to miss this podcast episode from Robert Louis Stephenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
It's a gripping book that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end, and is completely unlike the movie adaptions.
Many stories and films have their genesis in this classic novel, from Fight Club to Mr Robot, but the original story is just as fresh and exciting as ever.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
By Lewis Carroll
We're so familiar with the children's version of the story, there's plenty for adults in this story too. While Alice is really just trying to understand the dreamworld around her, the author is also commentating on Victorian society using satire and humour.
The Time Machine
Welcome to H.G. Wells' classic time-travelling adventure tale.
Written in 1895, and Wells' first full-length work, it is widely credited with introducing the idea of time travel, but is also fascinating due to its predictions of the future of humankind, and Wells' own political and social opinions of the time.
Join us for an incredible journey and find out what the future holds for our planet. Finally you can finally understand all those references in Terry and Andy's Treehouse books!
The Blue Castle
We are delighted to tackle L.M. Montgomery's classic tale, one of her few adult books. Published in 1926, we are pleased to present The Blue Castle.
Best known for Anne of Green Gables, Montgomery sets the scene in chapter one of our protagonist Valency. Considered an old maid at nearly 29 and unwed, her life is dull and uneventful, living with her mother and cousin who direct her every move. In order to cope with this existence, in her free moments she retreats in her mind to a fantasy castle, where she is loved and wanted.
The Blue Castle is a story about mortality, the impermanence of life, and ultimately, overcoming fear. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed recording it for you.
Strikingly different to the Disney version in our memories, J.M. Barrie's novel, rich in allegories and metaphors, is as much for adults as it is for children.
The novel opens by introducing us to the Darling family. Exploring the what it means to be young and free to imagine your own world, we see already that the Darling children's view of the real world is translucent. It is Mrs Darling that first meets Peter Pan in our story, as she wakes from dreams of her own childhood.
In Franz Kafka's classic story of alienation, we open to Gregor Samsa, travelling salesman, who upon waking realises that he has been transformed into an insect.
Since that family has been complete dependant on Gregor to pay for their lifestyle, including paying off debts his father owes, it's clear they'll need to change to cope with their new situation. We follow the family as they respond and undergo their own transformation, while Gregor, in his own way, is still trying to please them.
First published in 1915, this absurd novella reads reads like a surprisingly modern commentary on dependence, change and "otherness".