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Jane Austen Today, April 2009

Juliet Stevenson: Jane Austen Reader

Of seven Naxos audio books in my possession, five are read by Juliet Stevenson, the actress who so brilliantly portrayed Mrs. Elton in 1996’s Emma and whose comical performance as Keira Knightley’s cleavage loving mother in Bend it Like Beckham is my favorite character in the film.

Juliet’s vocal readings of Emma, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility are outstanding. You can hear an 8-minute interview with her about the process at this link:

In the interview, she mentions that her favorite Jane Austen novel is Sense and Sensibility and her least favorite is Pride and Prejudice (read by Emilia Fox, the actress who played Georgianna Darcy in the 1995 film adaptation of P&P). Juliet also enjoyed reading Emma, which she describes as delicious. “The structure is miraculous,” she adds. “[Emma’s] snobbery is completely unforgivable, but miraculously you are on her side.”

Narrating lengthy text requires excellent story telling ability. Juliet Stevenson has it…In her interview Juliet reveals why she likes reading for audio book: “You can play anything—an old man, a girl of seventeen. It is really liberating but it is also difficult.” Being able to take liberties with characterizations also attracts her to the medium. In order to be an effective reader she must know the heart and soul of the book, an experience Juliet found enriching.

Jane Austen Today, February 2009

Need your Jane Austen fix? Too busy driving the kids to their functions, or taking long commutes back and forth to work to read Pride and Prejudice? Too exhausted at night to tackle anything more than light reading? Have no fear. Naxos Audio Books provides a solution. You can purchase Jane's books two ways: in digital format or as an audio CD. Beautifully packaged and read by the incomparable Juliet Stevenson and Emilia Fox, you will receive hours of listening pleasure. I've discovered that Jane's novels translate beautifully into the spoken word. For those who have difficulty with her writing style, you might prefer to "read" her books in this manner.

NAX20212 The Jane Austen Collection Vol 1 (abridged)
NAX39412 AUSTEN: Emma (Unabridged)
NA309512 AUSTEN: Emma (Abridged)
NA222812 AUSTEN: Lady Susan (Unabridged)
NAX46712 AUSTEN: Mansfield Park (Unabridged)
NA306712 AUSTEN: Mansfield Park (Abridged)
NA742712 AUSTEN: Northanger Abbey (Unabridged)
NA207612 AUSTEN: Northanger Abbey (Abridged)
NA743612 AUSTEN: Persuasion (Unabridged)
NA310712 AUSTEN: Persuasion (Abridged)
NAX35612 AUSTEN: Pride and Prejudice (Unabridged)
NA310412 AUSTEN: Pride and Prejudice (Abridged)
NAX36112 AUSTEN: Sense and Sensibility (Unabridged)

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