Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4, Jeremy Irons' perceptive reading illuminates the poetry of T. S. Eliot in all its complexity. Major poems range from 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' through the post-war desolation of 'The Waste Land' and the spiritual struggle of 'Ash-Wednesday', to the enduring charm of 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats'.
The Spectator praised Jeremy Irons' interpretation as 'so accessible, reading Eliot as if finding his words for the first time, grappling with them, relishing them, using them to express feelings that we all share as we struggle to accept, to recognise or relinquish'. Dame Eileen Atkins also appears alongside Jeremy Irons in the reading of 'The Waste Land'.
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No track list
How can something as simple as the contents, not to mention a track list, be missing from this? How does one navigate 74 numbered tracks?
Thank you to the other reviewer for mentioning that this audiobook includes The Four Quartets. Made me buy it. For the record, it begins at track 39. Irons’ opening of it is so enchanting. I’ve been entranced by his voice since Brideshead Revisited.
Love Jeremy Irons reading
Since I already own TS Eliot reading The Waste Land and Four Quartets, I almost did not buy this, but I am so glad I did. Jeremy Irons is a gifted reader (already proven by his unsurpassed read of "Lolita"). Plus this contains more poems than I was expecting. (There is no track list, not even on Faber's website--at least that I could find). This recording includes 44 poems. All the major poems from Eliot's "Collected Poems: 1909-1962" are here (which means the minor, occasional, foreign language, unfinished, and excerpts from his play are not included) The Waste Land, Ash Wednesday, and Four Quartets are divided across multiple tracks. "The Old Possum Books of Practical Cats" finishes up the last set of tracks 59-73. This recording really could have used a downloadable PDF with a track list but since none is included, I typed up my own. Eileen Atkins shares the reading of "The Waste Land." In my opinion, the best reading of "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock" is by an unknown female reader on the Jan 2008 episode of the Intro to Poetry podcast (LearnOutLoud). She captures the satirical tone in a delightful way. Jeremy Irons reads that poem somewhat like TS Eliot himself read it, which is also fine, but I especially love her rendition. Otherwise, would highly recommend this great collection read by Irons, the master! Love his dramatic voice that helps me to discover new elements and rhythms in the poems that I missed before. Have no doubt that I will treasure this.