Audio Books Podcasts

Librivox: Discours sur les sciences et les arts by Rousseau, Jean-Jacques show

Librivox: Discours sur les sciences et les arts by Rousseau, Jean-JacquesJoin Now to Follow

Le Discours sur les sciences et les arts est un texte de Jean-Jacques Rousseau écrit dans le cadre du concours de l’Académe de Dijon de 1750. Lauréat du concours, Rousseau voit son essai fort commenté et lui doit sa célébrité, bien avant son opus magnum Du contrat social. Comme le veut le concours, le discours répond à une question : il s’agissait alors de déterminer « Si le rétablissement des sciences et des arts a contribué à épurer les mœurs ». Farouche critique des pratiques de son temps, l’auteur présente en deux parties une diatribe contre les sciences et les arts, qui bien loin d’épurer les mœurs éloignent les hommes de la vertu. (Résumé par Wikipedia)

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Librivox: Poèmes et Poésies by Leconte de Lisle, Charles Marie René show

Librivox: Poèmes et Poésies by Leconte de Lisle, Charles Marie RenéJoin Now to Follow

Leconte de Lisle est né à l'Île de Bourbon. C'est là que ses yeux d'enfant se sont emplis des couleurs et des formes des paysages prestigieux de l'Orient. Une nature sans tendresse, à la lumière implacable, aux faces énormes et aveugles, éveilla dans son âme cette idée obsédante de la fatalité, qu'il devait retrouver au long de l'histoire. Tout ce que l'Orient dans sa lourde immobilité traîne depuis des siècles de renoncement à l'impossible bonheur et de goût de la mort s'ajouta par ailleurs en lui à son pessimisme natif. (Extrait de la notice de l'édition de 1920) Leconte de Lisle was born on the island of Réunion. His verse is clear, sonorous, dignified, deliberate in movement, classically correct in rhythm, full of exotic local colour, of savage names, of realistic rhetoric. Coldness cultivated as a kind of artistic distinction seems to turn all his poetry to marble, in spite of the fire at its heart. They have the lofty monotony of a single conception of life and of the universe. He sees the world as what Byron called it, "a glorious blunder," and desires only to stand a little apart from the throng, meditating scornfully. He listens and watches, throughout the world, for echoes and glimpses of great tragic passions. The burning emptiness of the desert attracts him, the inexplicable melancholy of the dogs that bark at the moon; he would interpret the jaguar's dreams, the sleep of the condor. He sees nature with the same wrathful impatience as man, praising it for its destructive energies, its haste to crush out human life before the stars fall into chaos, and the world with them, as one of the least of stars. (From Wikipedia)

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Librivox: Listening by Lawrence, D. H. show

Librivox: Listening by Lawrence, D. H.Join Now to Follow

LibriVox volunteers bring you 15 recordings of Listening by D.H. Lawrence. This was the weekly poetry project for December 28th, 2008.

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Librivox: House of a Thousand Candles, The by Nicholson, Meredith show

Librivox: House of a Thousand Candles, The by Nicholson, MeredithJoin Now to Follow

A top ten bestseller of 1906, The House of a Thousand Candles is part adventure/mystery and part romance. The book begins with young Jack Glenarm returning from various exploits in Europe and Africa for the reading of his grandfather’s will. In it, he stands to inherit his grandfather’s estate, but only if he can remain for one year in residence at the old man’s unfinished “House of a Thousand Candles” in Annandale, Indiana, with only his grandfather’s mysterious valet for company. If he violates the terms of the will, the house will go to a young woman, heretofore unknown to him, whom the will also forbids Jack to marry if he wants to retain his inheritance. This all sounds very mundane to Jack and he fully expects to be quite bored in very short order. Soon after Jack’s arrival at Glenarm House, however, various strange occurrences ensue, and he soon finds himself absorbed in the most lively adventure of his life! (summary by J. M. Smallheer)

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Librivox: Folk Tales from Many Lands by Gask, Lilian show

Librivox: Folk Tales from Many Lands by Gask, LilianJoin Now to Follow

A collection of poetic folk talkes from all over the world.

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Librivox: His Dog by Terhune, Albert Payson show

Librivox: His Dog by Terhune, Albert PaysonJoin Now to Follow

Albert Payson Terhune, perhaps best known for his book Lad, a Dog (later turned into a popular movie), was also a breeder of collies and a journalist. Some of his collie lines survive to this day. His Dog is a story about Link Ferris who finds an injured dog on his way home one evening. Knowing nothing about dogs, Link nurses the dog back to health and the two form a bond such as only can be formed between human and canine. Unable to locate the collie's owner, Link christens his dog 'Chum' who becomes invaluable in tending to the daily needs of his meager farm. Unknown to Ferris however, Chum's original owners have been looking for their lost collie, and the story finds Link torn between that which he knows is morally right and his love for what he believes has become his dog . (Summary by Roger Melin)

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Librivox: What Diantha Did by Gilman, Charlotte Perkins show

Librivox: What Diantha Did by Gilman, Charlotte PerkinsJoin Now to Follow

Charlotte Perkins Gilman opens a window of history through which we can see a small part of the determined efforts made by women to elevate the circumstances of women in the early 20th century. Diantha Bell is a normal young woman desiring marriage and a home, but also a challenging career in a new territory which raises many eyebrows and sets malicious tongues wagging. Her effort to elevate housework and cooking to a regulated and even scientific business, for the relief of homemakers, is a depiction of the late 19th century movement to promote Domestic Science, or Home Economics, as a means of providing more healthful home life, as well as career paths for women. Diantha's business prospers as she shows her excellent gifts of administration, organization and homemaking. She grows an empire, and brings happiness and wholesomeness to every area of endeavor which she carefully attempts. The improvements in women's opportunities have not been available very long, indeed. This is a good reminder.

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Librivox: Fables de La Fontaine, livre 06 (ver 3) by La Fontaine, Jean de show

Librivox: Fables de La Fontaine, livre 06 (ver 3) by La Fontaine, Jean deJoin Now to Follow

« Il arrivera possible que mon travail fera naître à d’autres personnes l’envie de porter la chose plus loin » affirmait La Fontaine dans la préface de son premier recueil des fables. Effectivement, l'ensemble des fables du moraliste est si vaste et d'une telle richesse qu'il a fait naître en moi l'envie de vous proposer ma lecture du livre 6. Fut-elle parcellaire, modeste, j'espère du moins qu'elle vous apportera autant de joie que j'ai eu à la réaliser. (par Sylvie)

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Librivox: First Love by Turgenev, Ivan show

Librivox: First Love by Turgenev, IvanJoin Now to Follow

The title of the novella is almost an adequate summary in itself. The "boy-meets-girl-then-loses-her" story is universal but not, I think, banal - despite a surprise ending which notoriously turns out to be very little of a surprise. "First Love" is given its originality and poignancy by Turgenev's mastery of the piercing turning-point (akin to Joyce's "epiphanies") that transforms the character's whole being, making a tragic outcome inevitable. Even the nature symbolism is rescued from triteness by lovely poetic similes - e.g. "but at that point my attention was arrested by the appearance of a speckled woodpecker who busily climbed up the slender stem of a birch-tree and peeped out uneasily from behind it, first to the right, then to the left, like a musician behind the bass-viol." (Summary by Martin Geeson)

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Librivox: Cecilia: Memoirs of an Heiress by Burney, Fanny show

Librivox: Cecilia: Memoirs of an Heiress by Burney, FannyJoin Now to Follow

The plot of Cecilia revolves around the heroine, Cecilia Beverley, whose inheritance from her uncle comes with the stipulation that she find a husband who will accept her name. This proves impossible, and she gives up her fortune to marry for love. Jane Austen referred to Cecilia and other novels in her novel, Northanger Abbey: “'And what are you reading, Miss — ?' 'Oh! It is only a novel!' replies the young lady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. 'It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda'; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best–chosen language. The title of Austen's Pride and Prejudice may have been inspired by a passage at the end of Cecilia: “remember: if to pride and prejudice you owe your miseries, so wonderfully is good and evil balanced, that to pride and prejudice you will also owe their termination.” (Summary adapted from Wikipedia by Karen Merline)

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