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Barnaby Rudge [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Charles Dickens
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
RRP: 20.41
Price: 18.08 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

2 Mar 2009
"Barnaby Rudge", one of only two historical novels by Dickens, deals with the 'Popery' riots of 1780. Read here by one of Britain's most popular readers, Sean Barrett, (his reading of "Bleak House" was widely praised) in a useful 6 CD abridgement. The recording is part of the extended Dickens collection offered in both abridged and unabridged form by Naxos AudioBooks.

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Barnaby Rudge + Dickens: Hard Times (UNABRIDGED): 1-2 (Naxos Complete Classics) + The Pickwick Papers (Unabridged) (Naxos Complete Classics)
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Product details

  • Audio CD: 6 pages
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks (2 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626349085
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626349083
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.3 x 12.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 801,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Barnaby, the vulnerable man-child, prompts some of Dickens's finest writing. Overall, however, it's not one of his best novels, although Sean Barrett's magical voice somehow persuades you that it is. --Rachel Redford, The Observer

Book Description

With an exclusive introduction by Peter Ackroyd, these out of print editions are brought back to life with a fresh and timeless new look. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly Dickens's least-known work. 29 Nov 2003
By S. Hapgood VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Barnaby Rudge" was the first commercial failure Dickens had. There were a number of reasons for this, mainly I suspect that it was published during a recession, but also because Dickens had by then made a big name for himself as an observer of his own times. That is very much the image he still has today, Dickens is synonymous with the mid-19th century, so going back to the end of the 18th century wasn't perhaps commercially a good move. These days "Barnaby Rudge" has become overshadowed completely by Dickens's other historical novel, "A Tale Of Two Cities", not helped by the fact that both books cover more or less the same themes: the horrors of mob rule, a city plunged into anarchy, the storming of a prison, and what happens when innocent people get dragged into a cause that is being manipulated by people with dubious axes to grind, plus of course the perennial theme of love triumphing in the face of evil.

Having said all that, "Barnaby Rudge" holds up strongly as a book in its own right. The anti-Catholic Gordon Riots are virtually unknown to us these days (I have to admit, somewhat shamefully, I had never heard of them before, it was quite an eye-opener to find that such a devestating thing had happened in London!), but its central core theme of people becoming divided and wrecking havoc and hatred on each other is as relevant now as ever. Barnaby himself is a mentally-handicapped young man, and it is heartbreaking to see him allowing himself to be adopted by the cause in the belief that he will make his mother proud of him. It is also a delightful portrait of someone totally pure at heart caught up in a cynical, hate-filled world.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dickens as a master of mayhem and destruction 19 April 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Barnaby Rudge is not currently one of Dickens's favourite books, although in its time it was a wild success. The heroine, Dolly Varden, gave name to a type of hat and to a trout, among other things. But for several reasons (among which one can surely count the difficulty of enacting the riots for film or TV, which is nowadays the way in which most people seem to get to know Dickens) it is seen as far less successful than his other experiment in historical fiction ("A Tale of Two Cities", placed during the French Revolution and the Terror). It deals with a little-remembered episode from the Georgian era: the "No-Popery" riots led by MP George Gordon in 1780 to repeal the Catholic Relief Act of 1778 (the riots succeeded in delaying Catholic Emancipation in the United Kingdom by half a century and tarnished the reputation of the greatest parlamentarian and cripto-catholic Irishman of the age, Edmund Burke). Dickens's portrayal of the riots is masterful and his grim sense of humour unleashes itself on the many likely subjects that such a situation naturally affords.
Among the weaknesses of the book one must count its chief heroes and villains. The eponymous Mr Rudge is not one of the most appealing of Dickens's heroes, since he is merely a simpleton, and the evil Lord Chester and Mr Gashford do not attain the magnificence of an Uriah Heep or a Seth Pecksniff. Willet the elder is an appealing character, although the son seems too generic. Some of the other characters are brilliant, particularly Mr. Dennis the Hangman, who voices some of the most lugubriously funny sentiments Dickens has ever allowed himself to vent. This is a flawed work, but it comes from a master novelist, and it is a masterwork.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten gem! 12 Jun 2001
By A Customer
The neccessity of the Higher English "Specialist Study" caused me to be drawn to this novel. I could not have hoped for better material.
Underrated and almost forgotten, I had no pre-conceived ideas about "Barnaby Rudge", and was therefore pleasently surprised by how enjoyable I found it. The mentally impared title character is a charming one - the very personification of the purity Dickens attempted to capture in many of his novles. The plot, inspired by the Gordon riots of 1780, is a patchwork of inter-twining and enthralling adventures, sufficiently mysterious so as to both confound and delight the reader. The formidible stock of characters are all delightfully and vividly brought to life, and one cannot help but share in their joy and pain - I for one found myself cheering, weeping and smiling rediculously in the course of the book.
If there is one annoyance it is the lack of a substantial villian - in this novel, Dickens presents not one or two wholly evil creatures, but instead a handful of "baddies", each causing turmoil in their own way. Although all are thourghly detestably, none command the raw hatred felt for some of Dickens's more famous bad guys, such as Bill Sikes or Uriah Heep.
Nonetheless, "Barnaby Rudge" is still a brilliantly conceived novel and, flowing as it does from the pen of the master story-teller, cannot help but captivate the reader.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not hesitate! 16 Feb 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
As I approach retirement, disappointed by decades of appalling Christmas presents, and haunted by the golden memories of childhood gifts, I have decided to buy myself each year an unabridged Dickens audio book for the Christmas tree. This year it's Barnaby Rudge, and I have been listening to it while commuting to work for most of January and February. The book is in two parts - the first recognizable Dickens, the second something else altogether - a fiery historical narrative of the Gordon Riots, centring on characters set up in the first half of the book. The novel feels very up to date and the reader is so wonderful that I should prostrate myself before him. Thank you, God, for creating and developing Naxos audiobooks.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars This Book Is a Riot
Has anyone else noticed how some of the characters mirror each other? Dolly and Emma, obviously. But Simon Tappertit is a more grotesque downmarket version of Sir John Chester, and... Read more
Published 3 days ago by L. R. Fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hard-hitting, Expansive Dickens
Charles Dickens is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest of all comic writers and in Barnaby Rudge there are many hilarious moments (the sort that actually make me burst... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Keith M
5.0 out of 5 stars Dickens' historical novel
A lesser-known but underated work of Dickens, 'Barnaby Rudge' nevertheless has its fair share of intriguing and convincing characters set against an interesting and somewhat... Read more
Published 1 month ago by NinaC
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 1 month ago by NMac
5.0 out of 5 stars Well presented
Paperback to replace hard back.
Published 1 month ago by Anne
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
A classic to be read by all of any age, any sex at any time in any mood: try it
Published 2 months ago by cookey3971
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Long read
Harsh. Absorbing. Told with affection. Anti-catholic riots of 1780. (London. Reign of George lll.) Motivations? Read more
Published 2 months ago by Esther Montgomery
4.0 out of 5 stars Earlier Dickens and Not His Normal Style
One of the few Dickens novels I haven't come to by way of a TV serialisation. Barnaby Rudge is his first historical novel, written some 50 years after the rabble-rousing Gordon... Read more
Published 4 months ago by R. Newbold
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
When I saw what this was about I wasn't sure about it, but despite being a dark story, I have really enjoyed this book and found it quite compelling.
Published 4 months ago by Lorna Vince
5.0 out of 5 stars a good read
A good story with loads of inter plots a fine descriptive writing. I usually have trouble reading Dickens, but I couldn't put this book down.
Published 5 months ago by richard
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