Realms of Gold

The life of John Keats the man: his family, his friends, and his contemporaries.

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Realms of Gold

Postby Aquarius » Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:33 am

I've been desperately looking for decent audio books of Keat's poems and letters, and came across this wonderful unabridged audio book called Realms of Gold that includes some of his letters and major poems. It is narrated by Samuel West (he played Leonard Bast in the Merchant/Ivory film of Howards End) and Matthew Marsh, and is about 2.5 hours long.

I have found that many audio versions of Keat's works are terribly narrated, making Keats sound like a 70 year old pompous and pretentious man. I've only begun listening to "Realms of Gold", and I find that the reading of his letters and poems here is more natural, honest and unaffected. Samuel West in particular has a great voice and cadence. If any of you are looking for audio books of Keats, I recommend "Realms of Gold". There is another audio book read by Samuel West and Michael Sheen called, "The Great Poets: John Keats" that includes most of his major poems.
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Re: Realms of Gold

Postby BrokenLyre » Wed Sep 09, 2009 1:58 am

Thanks! I agree with you Aquarius. The other tapes are just lousy (I think). I enjoy the enthusiasm of West's reading of Keats's letters as well. He really brings them to life at times. I feel I understand Keats better as a result of listening. Certainly worth hearing if you find the CD in your local library.
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Re: Realms of Gold

Postby Saturn » Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:33 pm

I have this one:


Which is the poetry only. Samuel West again and Michael Sheen on some readings, it includes an excellent complete reading of The Eve Of St. Agnes. A very good selection and very well read.

Both this and Realms Of Gold were available in Keats House when I was there. Well worth buying either, or both!
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Re: Realms of Gold

Postby Malia » Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:19 pm

I recently purchased Realms of Gold on Amazon and both last night and the night before I spent some time listening to both CD's (I got the unabridged version that contains both letters and poetry). I thought it was excellently compiled. While sometimes West spoke so fast I couldn't quite catch all his words, I thought his reading of the letters was varied and passionate. He acted out the letters rather than just recited them. I enjoyed the way letters and poems were woven together to give us a sense of Keats's personality. For example, right after a dramatic recitation of La Belle Dame, West goes straight into the middle of a letter to George where he explains why he chose "kisses four" rather than, say, "kisses seven". Hilarious! Nice blending of the light and shade that is the hallmark of Keats's work and poetical philosophy.

I've put the whole 2+ hours of Realms of Gold on my iPod and I plan to take it with me on my trip to Britain next month :)
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