The Classic Tales Podcast

The Classic Tales Podcast

United States

Every week, join award-winning narrator B.J. Harrison as he narrates the greatest stories the world has ever known. From the jungles of South America to the Mississippi Delta, from Victorian England to the Gothic castles of Eastern Europe, join us on a fantastic journey through the words of the world's greatest authors. Critically-acclaimed and highly recommended for anyone who loves a good story with plenty of substance.

Episodes

Ep. 505, Pride and Prejudice, Part 2of14, by Jane Austen  

Elizabeth tends to her suffering sister, Jane, at Netherfield. But as the days drag on, she feels increasingly the claws of the supercilious Bingley sisters. Jane Austen, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Today’s show is made possible by those of you who are Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. If you enjoy The Classic Tales Podcast, please become a supporting member at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. Thank you very, very much!

Your support ensures that we can continue producing professional audio productions of these treasured classics, so that everybody can enjoy them – especially those who otherwise would never be exposed to classic literature.

And now, Pride and Prejudice, Part 2 of 14, by Jane Austen

Ep. 504, Pride and Prejudice, Part 1of14, by Jane Austen  

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife… Jane Austen, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Today’s show is made possible by those of you who are Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. If you enjoy The Classic Tales Podcast, please become a supporting member at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. Thank you very, very much!

Your support ensures that we can continue producing professional audio productions of these treasured classics, so that everybody can enjoy them – especially those who otherwise would never be exposed to classic literature.

I wanted to do something special as we begin Season 11 of The Classic Tales Podcast. And so, I’ve decided to do an unabridged episodic production of Jane Austen’s seminal work: Pride and Prejudice. I have had several requests for Austen’s novels over the years, and I really cannot put her work aside any longer. While she is not the absolute epitome of high classical fiction, (and I’m not completely sure if anyone is), her work holds a distinctive place in the canon of what is typically understood as classic literature. Her characters are sparkling, her prose style is rich and musical, and the plots, though largely character driven, move like gangbusters.

And so, while there are many, many wonderful audiobook productions of this work, I wanted to see what I could make of Austen’s remarkable and sumptuous text. I hope you enjoy it.

And now, Pride and Prejudice, Part 1 of 14, by Jane Austen

Ep. 503, The Coin of Dionysius, by Ernest Bramah  

Mr. Carlyle, a private detective, desperately needs to discover if a suspicious coin is a forgery, and receives a recommendation from an experienced coin dealer to look up an amateur expert. There is one thing the old coin dealer failed to mention, however, - the amateur expert is blind. Ernest Bramah, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Today’s show is made possible by those of you who are Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. If you enjoy The Classic Tales Podcast, please become a supporting member at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. Thank you very, very much!

Your support ensures that we can continue producing professional audio productions of these treasured classics, so that everybody can enjoy them – especially those who otherwise would never be exposed to classic literature.

What could me more outlandish than a blind detective? Max Carrados is the creation of Ernest Bramah, and appeared alongside Sherlock Holmes in the Strand magazine when Carrados was first brought to life in 1914.

George Orwell wrote that, together with those of Conan Doyle and R. Austin Freeman, Max Carrados and The Eyes of Max Carrados "are the only detective stories since Poe that are worth re-reading."

So, how is it that someone can be blind and yet be an amazing detective? Bramah sets the groundwork for his blind detective in this, the first Max Carrados mystery.

And now, The Coin of Dionysius, by Ernest Bramah

Ep. 502, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, by L. Frank Baum, Part 4of4  

Santa Claus gains the Mantle of Immortality, and the great story of the jolly old elf is concluded. L. Frank Baum, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Today’s show is made possible by those of you who are Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. If you enjoy The Classic Tales Podcast, please become a supporting member at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. Thank you very, very much!

Your support ensures that we can continue producing professional audio productions of these treasured classics, so that everybody can enjoy them – especially those who otherwise would never be exposed to classic literature.

“In all this world, there is nothing so beautiful as a happy child.” This quote from Santa Claus is my favorite from the whole book. And I wholeheartedly agree. Let us all create beauty all around us, by taking care of the little ones in our lives – for when they are happy, all the world is beautiful.

And now, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, part 4 of 4, by L. Frank Baum

Ep. 501, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, by L. Frank Baum, Part 3of4  

The evil Awgwas hatch a dastardly plan to destroy Claus, and all the immortals gather for an epic battle. L. Frank Baum, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Today’s show is made possible by those of you who are Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. If you enjoy The Classic Tales Podcast, please become a supporting member at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. Thank you very, very much!

Your support ensures that we can continue producing professional audio productions of these treasured classics, so that everybody can enjoy them – especially those who otherwise would never be exposed to classic literature.

And now, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, part 3 of 4, by L. Frank Baum

Ep. 500, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, by L. Frank Baum, Part 2of4  

With the help of the immortals, Claus settles into human life in the Laughing Valley. And as he enters into manhood, he creates one of his most famous inventions: toys.  L. Frank Baum, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

This marks the 500th episode of The Classic Tales Podcast. Since we began back in 2007, we have visited the worlds of Tom Sawyer, Frankenstein, Edgar Allan Poe, The Arabian Nights, and many others. We have also delved into the wonders of the short story with O. Henry, Guy de Maupassant, H.G. Wells and more. But some of my favorite episodes are the ones that are, to me at least, the lesser-known tales. We’ve been able to explore the ancient roman world of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, the complex fantasy of Ambrose Bierce’s The Monk and the Hangmans’ Daughter, and the dashing adventures of Arséne Lupin just to name a few. So here’s to 500 episodes, and here’s to 500 more.

If you have enjoyed The Classic Tales Podcast over the years, please consider becoming a supporting member at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. Your support ensures that we can continue producing professional audio productions of these treasured classics, so that everybody can enjoy them – especially those who otherwise would never be exposed to classic literature.

And now, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, part 2 of 4, by L. Frank Baum

Ep. 499, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, by L. Frank Baum, Part 1of4  

The history, origin and adventures of Santa Claus are brought to life by the great L. Frank Baum. Santa Claus, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Today’s show is made possible by those of you who are Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. If you enjoy The Classic Tales Podcast, please become a supporting member at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. Thank you very, very much!

Season Four of The Classic Tales Podcast is now available at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. It contains 29 audiobooks, and is over 39 hours long. The range of titles in this collection is just incredible. So put it on your iPhone, and listen to it in your car on your way to work. Every story is a new surprise. Season Four of The Classic Tales Podcast is only $18.99, and it’s only available at www.thebestaudiobooks.com.

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus was first published in 1908. In it, Baum creates a mythological world in which the magical forest of Burzee , created at the beginning of time, is the main source of all other worldly magical power. Ak, the Master Woodsman rules the forests; Kern, the Master Husbandman of the World, rules the food crops; Bo, the Master Mariner of the World, rules the seas. All other immortals are subject to these three. Baum also created Ryls as guardians of the flowers and Knooks as guardians of the animals of the world. He first introduced Ryls and Knooks in his collection of short stories, American Fairy Tales. In The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, his mythology is more fleshed out, comprising a rich enchanted world, which also includes the more traditional nymphs, guardians of the trees and fairies, guardians of humans.

Later, when Baum’s creation of Oz became his main focus, he placed all of his fantastical realms around Oz, yet designated that the forest of Burzee was the source of the magic of Oz itself.

And now, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, part 1 of 4, by L. Frank Baum

Ep. 498, Bill the Bloodhound, by P.G. Wodehouse  

Henry Pifield Rice is a detective, technically. He prides himself in his disguises, which are, in truth, pretty deplorable. So when he’s detailed to follow a touring theatrical romantic comedy, his life is absolutely transformed. P.G. Wodehouse, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Today’s show is made possible by those of you who are Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. If you enjoy The Classic Tales Podcast, please become a supporting member at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. This doesn’t just happen! Thank you very, very much!

If you haven’t already, check out our Most Popular category at www.thebestaudiobooks.com.

All of these titles are 30% off. What does that mean if you are a subscribing member? Once your coupon is applied and 30% is deducted, you can get any $9.99 title for 99 cents. Check it out today at www.thebestaudiobooks.com.

And now, Bill the Bloodhound, by P.G. Wodehouse.

Ep. 497, The Man With Two Left Feet, by P.G. Wodehouse  

When Henry Wallace Mills realizes that his inability to dance may cause his wife feelings of cloudy despondency, he decides to take the matter in hand. Or should we say, feet. P.G. Wodehouse, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Today’s show is made possible by those of you who are Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. If you enjoy The Classic Tales Podcast, please become a supporting member at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. This doesn’t just happen!

Season Four of The Classic Tales Podcast is now available at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. It contains 29 audiobooks, and is over 39 hours long. The range of titles in this collection is just incredible. So put it on your iPhone, and listen to it in your car on your way to work. Every story is a new surprise.

This 39-hour compilation is only $18.99, and it’s only available at www.thebestaudiobooks.com.

Now, I know that the definition of autism has been evolving since 1908 until what it is today, but I think that the hero of today’s story is on what is now considered the autism spectrum. My reasons for saying this? 1) His method of study is unorthodox, and requires an incredible amount of tenacity, even fixation. Most people couldn’t do this. This is what I term the autism super power. 2) His unwillingness to vary his study schedule of the Encyclopedia (He won’t skip a volume). 3) He imagines a fantasy scheme where his problems are all solved, and works diligently to accomplish this impossible task. 4) He is rather socially awkward, bless him.

This is no way official, and I can’t back it up with anything other than my own observations, but when I read this story, it struck me how my autistic son has many of these same character traits. He also demonstrates the autism super power, and is a truly amazing boy. I find it encouraging that P.G. Wodehouse saw how characters of this temperament could find happiness and love in a world that largely misunderstands them.

And now, The Man With Two Left Feet, by P.G. Wodehouse.

Ep. 496, Afterward, Part2of2, by Edith Wharton  

Ned has disappeared. And as the horrifying details come to the light, the subtle ghost that haunts the manor shows itself – but not until afterward. Edith Wharton, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Many, many thanks to all of our Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. If you enjoy The Classic Tales Podcast, please become a supporting member at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. This doesn’t just happen!

Season Four of The Classic Tales Podcast is now available at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. It contains 29 audiobooks, and is over 39 hours long. The range of titles in this collection is just incredible. You have mystery with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and G.K. Chesterton; Humor from P.G. Wodehouse and Mark Twain; Children’s stories from Oscar Wilde and L. Frank Baum; Classic Horror from H.P. Lovecraft and Henry James; you have Adventure with the entire novel of The Scarlet Pimpernel and Science Fiction from Jules Verne. So put it on your iPhone, and listen to it in your car on your way to work. Every story is a new surprise.

This 39 hour compilation is only $18.99 , and it’s only available at www.thebestaudiobooks.com.

And now, Afterward, Part 1 of 2, by Edith Wharton.

Ep. 495, Afterward, Part1of2, by Edith Wharton  

An American couple rent a house in a sequestered English village. Apparently the house is haunted, only you don’t realize it until after the phantasm has diabolically meddled in your life. Edith Wharton, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Many, many thanks to all of our Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. If you enjoy The Classic Tales Podcast, please become a supporting member at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. This doesn’t just happen!

Season Four of The Classic Tales Podcast is now available at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. It contains 29 audiobooks, and is over 39 hours long. The range of titles in this collection is just incredible. You have mystery with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and G.K. Chesterton; Humor from P.G. Wodehouse and Mark Twain; Children’s stories from Oscar Wilde and L. Frank Baum; Classic Horror from H.P. Lovecraft and Henry James; you have Adventure with the entire novel of The Scarlet Pimpernel and Science Fiction from Jules Verne. So put it on your iPhone, and listen to it in your car on your way to work. Every story is a new surprise.

This 39 hour compilation is only $18.99 , and it’s only available at www.thebestaudiobooks.com.

 

App users can hear another story by Edith Wharton – The Eyes. Check it out in your special features.

And now, The Afterward, Part 1 of 2, by Edith Wharton.

Ep. 494, The Leather Funnel, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  

Are dreams a window into another world? When people sleep with a certain medieval leather funnel near their head, they each have the same dream – and it’s horrifying. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Many, many thanks to all of our Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. If you enjoy The Classic Tales Podcast, please become a supporting member at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. This doesn’t just happen!

Season Four of The Classic Tales Podcast is now available at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. It contains 29 audiobooks, and is over 39 hours long. The range of titles in this collection is just incredible. You have mystery with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and G.K. Chesterton; Humor from P.G. Wodehouse and Mark Twain; Children’s stories from Oscar Wilde and L. Frank Baum; Classic Horror from H.P. Lovecraft and Henry James; you have Adventure with the entire novel of The Scarlet Pimpernel and Science Fiction from Jules Verne. So put it on your iPhone, and listen to it in your car on your way to work. Every story is a new surprise.

This 39 hour compilation is only $18.99 – less than fifty cents per hour. And these are stories you can listen to again and again. Only available at www.thebestaudiobooks.com.

Today’s story is a great example of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work in the realm of horror. Though best known as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Doyle has written some very effective horror stories. Most notable are Lot No. 249, in which the reanimated mummy theme is masterfully executed; and The Horror of the Heights, dealing with the flying monsters visible when one pierces the atmosphere. The Horror of the Heights is one of the titles in The Classic Tales Podcast, Season Four.

And now, The Leather Funnel, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Ep. 493, The Death of Halpin Frayser, by Ambrose Bierce  

We’ve heard tales of disembodied spirits haunting the living. But what happens when a person is haunted by a disenspirited body? Ambrose Bierce, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Many, many thanks to all of our Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. If you enjoy The Classic Tales Podcast, please become a supporting member at www.thebestaudiobooks.com.

We are going through the final steps to release Season Four of The Classic Tales Podcast. Three of the stories had to be recorded again. I don’t know what I was thinking, recording on the road using a netbook. That was a long time ago. I’ll send out an email as soon as it’s available!

In the meantime, be sure to pick up your copies of The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde and Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne at www.thebestaudiobooks.com.

Now, I know that we just had a fantastic novella from Ambrose Bierce, but today’s story is considered one of his best horror stories. The craft of this story is so good, I just couldn’t resist.

And now, The Death of Halpin Frayser, by Ambrose Bierce

APP USERS can access another story by Ambrose Bierce, A Vine on a House, in their special features area! 

Ep. 492, The Burned House, by Vincent O'Sullivan  

A lost traveler discovers a desolate, deserted house in the middle of nowhere. What mysteries haunt the large, abandoned building, and why does it suddenly burst into flames? Vincent O’Sullivan, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Many, many thanks to all of our Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t have this podcast. It’s that simple. Thank you.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde is now available at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. You can download the standard audiobook, an HD version, or mp3s of the chapters – whatever works for you! Around the World in 80 Days is also available now. Financial supporters can use their monthly coupon codes and save 6 dollars off whatever they like.

The author of today’s tale, Vincent O’Sullivan, is most likely unfamiliar to you, though he attended Oxford and moved in opulent literary circles. He was born to a wealthy family in New York City, and moved to England to complete his education. He was beginning to create a name for himself as a significant writer of supernatural fiction, and was a member of the Aesthetic Movement, a progressive literary circle composed of many literary luminaries among which was one Oscar Wilde. O’Sullivan used his fortune to help friends, most notably Wilde after his release from prison. His means were eventually completely dissipated. There was a strong negative response to O’Sullivan’s aiding Wilde in his need, resulting in a largely closed market for O’Sullivan’s writings. He was reduced to dire poverty late in life, and died in a pauper’s ward in Paris in 1940.

Of his friend, Oscar Wilde wrote that he is, “really very pleasant, for one who treats life from the standpoint of the tomb.”

And now, The Burned House, by Vincent O’Sullivan

Ep. 491, The Blood Is The Life, by F. Marion Crawford  

A ghostly apparition haunts a moonlit grave near an Italian castle. Obviously the ghost is filled with unrest, but it is also undead? F. Marion Crawford, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Many, many thanks to all of our Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t have this podcast. It’s that simple. Thank you.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde is now available at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. You can download the standard audiobook, an HD version, or mp3s of the chapters – whatever works for you! Around the World in 80 Days is also available now. Financial supporters can use their monthly coupon codes and save 6 dollars off whatever they like.

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year. I figured we had to start October with a vampire tale. Here is a story that was a stand out to H.P. Lovecraft, and written by the same author of last week’s tale, The Screaming Skull: F. Marion Crawford. With an Italian castle, gypsies, plunder, murder and vampires, what’s not to love?

And now, The Blood Is The Life, by F. Marion Crawford

Ep. 490, The Screaming Skull, by F. Marion Crawford  

A screaming skull haunts the house in which it is closeted in a sealed hatbox. F. Marion Crawford, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Many, many thanks to all of our Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. We couldn’t do this without you.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde is now available at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. You can download the standard audiobook, an HD version, or mp3s of the chapters – whatever works for you! The Classic Tales Podcast: Season Four is available to preorder, and will be released in a few days. Financial supporters can use their monthly coupon codes and save 6 dollars off whatever they like.

Today’s story is by Francis Marion Crawford, who was an American expatriate known during his lifetime as a writer of historical romances. However, he occasionally dabbled in supernatural fiction. His horror stories drew the attention of one H.P. Lovecraft, who was an admirer of Crawford’s more effective weird fiction. Who knows? Before October is out, we may hear from Mr. Crawford again.

Ep. 489, The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter, Part 3of3, by Ambrose Bierce  

Ambrosius continues to wrestle with his emotions for the hangman’s daughter, and finally comes to a terrifying solution. Ambrose Bierce, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Many, many thanks to all of our Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. We couldn’t do this without you.

Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne is now available at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. You can download the standard audiobook, an HD version, or mp3s of the chapters – whatever works for you! The Portrait of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, is also available to preorder, and will be released in a few days. Financial supporters can use their monthly coupon codes and save 6 dollars off the sale price of $9.99 each.

Today we conclude our story of The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter, by Ambrose Bierce. Ambrosius concludes his quest to reconcile his forbidden romantic feelings for the hangman’s daughter.

I am particularly enjoying the Alpine setting of this story, and the way that the mountains can alternate between being haunted by demons and phantoms, and at other times show traces of a gentle, divine Creator. Of course, because we see the mountains through the mind of Ambrosius, the nature of the wilderness fluctuates according to how he is feeling.

As our story comes to its tragic conclusion, let us consider where we fit in to the narrative. Do we see ourselves as Ambrosius, confused and tormented by things we don’t understand, yet driven to somehow find harmony in the chaos?

Or are we Benedicta, the hangman’s daughter? Destined to live the life of an outcast. Perpetually marginalized and shunned because of her station in life – a station she earned by simply being born.

Or are we the clergy, or governing rulers of the tale?

Or are we those who just fit in?

I feel as though the author may be saying that when anyone, but especially a governing body, holds a prejudiced conviction that some of their people are to be vilified and shunned, it is divisive and destructive.

But only to the shunned.

So I guess the real question is, why should those who are not shunned care?

And now, The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter, Part 3 of 3, by Ambrose Bierce

Ep. 488, The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter, Part 2of3, by Ambrose Bierce  

Ambrosius again stands against those who calumniate the hangman’s daughter. His reward is not what he expected. Ambrose Bierce, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Many, many thanks to all of our Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. We couldn’t do this without you.

Preorder your copy now of Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne at www.thebestaudiobooks.com. This title will be released within just a few more days! You can download the standard audiobook, an HD version, or mp3s of the chapters – whatever works for you! Financial supporters can use their monthly coupon code and save 6 dollars off the sale price of $9.99.

Let’s talk about our monk, Ambrosius. Ambrosius is experiencing something called cognitive dissonance. Leon Festinger introduced this theory in 1957. He suggested that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid disharmony, or dissonance.

For example, when people smoke, and they know that smoking causes cancer and disease. Their behavior (smoking) clashes with their cognition, or what they know to be true (the fact that smoking is harmful to them). The discomfort caused by the cognition, or belief, motivates behavior to be brought into greater harmony with the cognition. (I know this is bad for me- I should stop).

When Ambrosius sees how his superiors shamefully mistreat Benedicta in today’s episode, he experiences cognitive dissonance. All of his experiences as a youth and a monk have given him many evidences of the goodness of his high-demand religion. He loves it. But when he sees Benedicta suffer at the hands of his superiors, he is motivated to somehow find mental harmony.

Would this conflict occur if young Ambrosius were not in love with Benedicta? Who knows? But his feelings certainly make the dissonance stronger. He’s been trying to reconcile his feelings for her all along, considering them a divine mission, a holy sign and token to protect her, etc.. They have to be anything but romantic love, for that is forbidden, and he is very, very devout. He shouldn’t have these feelings. But he does. It is this process of his quest for harmony that leads him to eventually resolve the cognitive dissonance by going to a very dark place, indeed.

And now, The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter, Part 2 of 3, by Ambrose Bierce

Ep. 487, The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter, Part 1of3, by Ambrose Bierce  

A knot of monks happens upon a gallows in the middle of a dark forest. Hanging from the gallows is a fresh corpse, and underneath the dangling wretch a young woman performs a haunting dance. Ambrose Bierce, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Many, many thanks to all of our Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. We couldn’t do this without you.

After our long and exciting summer run of Tarzan, I wanted to do something a bit more subtle and literary before we jump into the horrors of October. Ambrose Bierce is most famous for his story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. However, many consider The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter to be his real masterpiece. First published serially in 1891, it has an atmospheric fairy tale feel like many popular stories of the time. The subtle transformation of the monk Ambrosius from innocent monk to violent zealot is where Bierce really shines. When an innocent monk falls in love, his efforts to suppress his natural feelings result in a gradual descent toward calamity.

From the introduction to the 1967 edition, copyright by The George Macy Companies, scholar Maurice Valency writes:

“… his spiritual discomfort is enhanced by his heroic efforts to transcend the normal appetites of a young and healthy body. The consequence is a special sort of erotic frenzy, and a series of rationalizations which end in madness. Insofar as such a story is said to have a moral, it is plain: Nature is not to be denied. If we try to shut it out, it presents itself in another guise, and it becomes terrible…. Love comes to the monk Ambrosius with terrible urgency. Because his heart is pure, his passion is transformed into zeal; his jealousy becomes sacred; his revenge a vocation, and in death he finds his priesthood…. [He is]… the victim of an excess of goodness.”

And now, The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter, Part 1 of 3, by Ambrose Bierce

Ep. 486, After Twenty Years and Mammon and the Archer, by O. Henry  

Two classic stories from one of America’s greatest short story writers. O. Henry, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening.

Many, many thanks to all of our Classic Tales Podcast Financial Supporters. We couldn’t do this without you.

Today’s stories comes from O. Henry’s seminal collection of short stories about New York City: The Four Million. Both of these stories, Twenty Years Later, and Mammon and the Archer are widely anthologized. Today they are placed together, because I felt that they demonstrate the same truth: It’s great to be in the right. But the true test of greatness is in the use of prudence.

And now, Twenty Years Later, and Mammon and the Archer, by O. Henry

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