Reading Classic Literature: A Visual and Auditory Exercise in Truth

A Profile of George Guidall.

American GodsGeorge Guidall is an audiobook narrator who has crafted a legacy unlike any other performer in history. He stakes claim to over nine hundred novels as the recorded voice in audiobook format. His is the voice of Les Miserables, Crime and Punishment, The Iliad and many other classic novels. His work has earned him two Audie Awards, the audiobook equivalent to the Grammys, for the books, A Widow for One Year and I Know This Much is True. He has also been recognized as a best narrator for War of the Rats, American Gods and Don Quixote.

Listeners to Guidall’s work have raved, crediting him with bringing books to life, making seemingly inaccessible works of literature warm and welcoming. Over the course of twenty years, Guidall has delighted several generations of audiobook listeners, and his work continues to impact new listeners today. Those hoping to encounter Guidall at his best would be encouraged to look into several classic works read and performed by him such as: Gilgamesh: A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell and The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo.

Gilgamesh is often considered the first great work of literature, some saying it is the first novel ever written. The story follows the adventures of the fifth king of Uruk. Gilgamesh, the title character, is considered to be two-thirds god, one-third man. Gilgamesh travels with a companion Enkidu to defeat the monster Humbaba. He later overcomes the Bull of Heaven but loses his companion Enkidu, by sentence of death. The remaining portion of the tale records Gilgamesh’s search for immortality.

Readers may find the Epic of Gilgamesh to be a difficult read, and so those who wish to interact with the work may enjoy listening to Stephen Mitchell’s exacting translation read by the golden voice of George Guidall. The book is found at Audible.com and can be purchased in digital audiobook format.

George Guidall also read and recorded the classic novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Victor Hugo’s prolific use of the French language gives life to his protagonist heroine, Esmeralda. She is a towering character, a gypsy, who attracts much attention from her fellow Parisians. At once beloved and feared, Esmeralda encounters the Hunchback, Quasimodo, who rings the bells of the Notre Dame Cathedral. She is the only person who shows the Hunchback kindness, and for that he falls in love with her. She never returns his affections but instead shuns him as too ugly to even kiss her hand in gratitude. Translated by Catherine Lui, Guidall’s reading invites readers into the poetic prosody of Hugo’s original writing.

Guidall also narrates Crime and Punishment, a scathing, and grand novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky about Raskolnikov, a murderer whose own conscience leads him to confess the crime. Guidall’s voice as the torn criminal deepens a novel that many have read and fallen in love with.

Possibly most challenging of all, Les Miserables, also by Vicor Hugo, is made intimate by Guidall’s clear reading. Jean Valjean, the novels main character strives against corruption, and as his exquisite pain is detailed, Guidall’s voice brings the emotion to a head. As with Crime and Punishment, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Gilgamesh, Les Miserables may be found at Audible.com for purchase.

Audible.com is the Internet’s leading provider of digital audiobooks featuring more than 100,000 titles available for download, including books, magazines, radio shows, podcasts, stand-up comedy, and speeches. Listeners can download audiobooks to their iPod, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Kindle, and 500 other devices. With Audible’s new apps for iPhone™, Android™, Windows Phone, and Kindle Fire listeners can browse and download audiobooks wirelessly directly on their mobile device.

Now you can join Audible.com for Just $7.49 and receive a credit good toward any of the audiobooks mentioned in this article or another audiobook of your choice. This introductory rate of $7.49/month is available for the first three months of your membership and then you can choose to continue at $14.95 per month.  In addition, your subscription includes the following member benefits:

•    Get 1 audiobook each month
•    Save 30% on all audio every day
•    Receive advance notice of exclusive sales and promotions
•    Enjoy a complimentary weekday audio subscription to the New York Times or The Wall Street Journal


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