Book Review

REVIEW: The History of English Literature (Audiobook) Narrated by Perry Keenlyside

Title: The History of English Literature (audiobook)
Narrator: Perry Keenlyside

Goodreads Synopsis: The remarkable story of the world’s richest literary resource, the story telling, poetry, the growth of the novel and the greatest histories and essays, which have informed the language and the imagination wherever English is spoken.

As I briefly mentioned in my last post, I saw a review on this book by Mandy over at Adventures in Borkdom.  I had given up on the idea of audiobooks after my first failed attempt (also quickly recapped in that last post).  I decided that this book, being a non-fiction history book, might be a good idea to try audiobooks again.  I was able to borrow it from my local library and put it on my iPod. (Score)  Since I work in an office and my job does not require me to answer phones, I am able to listen to my iPod at any point during the day.  I was able to listen to this over the course of 2 days.  I would have finished it in one (since it’s roughly 5 hours long and I tend to work around 9 hours) but my battery was low on my iPod when I started and pretty much crapped out on me when I was about a quarter of the way through Part III.

While listening I took little notes here in a draft form of this post so I would remember what I wanted to write.  Most of it are tidbits that I didn’t know or found interesting or just observations I made while listening.  I will tell you up front though that there were times where I zoned out and didn’t even pay attention to what I was listening.  This may have been due to the fact that some of my tasks require more attention than others or the fact that I prefer prose (and novels) to poetry…

So without further ado…

Interesting Tidbits/I Had No Idea!

-Chaucer wasn’t a writer the way we know them today

-Milton was blind when he wrote Paradise Lost.  This is on my To Read queue.

-John Bunyan spent more than 10 years in jail and that’s when he started writing Pilgrim’s Progress

-Daniel Dafoe, first novelist (as we know them today), invented modern journalism

-John Dryden, first literary critic … cousins with Jonathan Swift

-I didn’t realize Keats was so young when he died (mid-20’s)

-I didn’t know Dickens was an actor (and accomplished at that)…I don’t really know much about him, actually

-I didn’t know George Eliot was a pseudonym for a woman (Mary Ann Evans)!


-I’m surprised more wasn’t said about Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes

-I should have realized Tolkein would have been mentioned!

-Women weren’t really mentioned as writers/authors until the 18th Century.

-I like that more than one person narrated this.  It broke it up and didn’t feel monotonous.

-He says “controversy” funny

-I won’t lie, I did zone out on some parts…

-I still like novels (prose), better than  poetry

Books I Added to My Goodreads Queue
I actually added a few books to my Goodreads queue as I was listening to this because some of these sounded pretty good.  Sometimes this had to do with the excerpts that were read by others. 

-made Shakespeare’s work sound interesting enough that I want to read the plays…I bought “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” for my kindle from amazon for only $1.99!

Paradise Lost, John Milton

Moll Flanders, Daniel Dafoe

Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Dafoe

The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, Tobias Smollett

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Kubla Kahn, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

-Faust, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Decline and Fall, Evelyn Waugh

There were also others that were already on my To Read queue or I had already read (though not many).


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