The Short Stories Of The British Isles - A Chronological History - 151 Authors, 161 Stories In This Comprehensive Collection Spanning Over 90 Hours (Audiobook)
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Read by David Shaw-Parker, Ghizela Rowe & Richard Mitchley (Unabridged: 93 hours 12mins)

These British Isles, moored across from mainland Europe, are more often seen as a world unto themselves.  Restless and creative, they often warred amongst themselves until they began a global push to forge a World Empire of territory, of trade and of language.

Here our ambitions are only of the literary kind.  These shores have mustered many masters of literature. So this anthology’s boundaries includes only those authors who were born in the British Isles - which as a geographical definition is the UK mainland and the island of Ireland - and wrote in a familiar form of English.

Whilst Daniel Defoe is the normal starting point we begin a little earlier with Aphra Behn, an equally colourful character as well as an astonishing playwright and poet.  And this is how we begin to differentiate our offering; both in scope, in breadth and in depth.  These islands have raised and nurtured female authors of the highest order and rank and more often than not they have been sidelined or ignored in favour of that other gender which usually gets the plaudits and the royalties.

Way back when it was almost immoral that a woman should write.  A few pages of verse might be tolerated but anything else brought ridicule and shame.  That seems unfathomable now but centuries ago women really were chattel, with marriage being, as the Victorian author Charlotte Smith boldly stated ‘legal prostitution’.  Some of course did find a way through - Jane Austen, the Brontes and Virginia Woolf but for many others only by changing their names to that of men was it possible to get their book to publication and into a readers hands.  Here we include George Eliot and other examples.

We add further depth with many stories by authors who were famed and fawned over in their day.  Some wrote only a hidden gem or two before succumbing to poverty and death. There was no second career as a game show guest, reality TV contestant or youtuber. They remain almost forgotten outposts of talent who never prospered despite devoted hours of pen and brain.

Keeping to a chronological order helps us to highlight how authors through the ages played around with characters and narrative to achieve distinctive results across many scenarios, many styles and many genres. The short story became a sort of literary laboratory, an early disruptor, of how to present and how to appeal to a growing audience as a reflection of social and societal changes.  Was this bound to happen or did a growing population that could read begin to influence rather than just accept?

Moving through the centuries we gather a groundswell of authors as we hit the Victorian Age - an age of physical mass communication albeit only on an actual printed page.  An audience was offered a multitude of forms: novels (both whole and in serialised form) essays, short stories, poems all in weekly, monthly and quarterly form.  Many of these periodicals were founded or edited by literary behemoths from Dickens and Thackeray through to Jerome K Jerome and, even some female editors including Ethel Colburn Mayne, Alice Meynell and Ella D’Arcy.

Now authors began to offer a wider, more diverse choice from social activism and justice – and injustice to cutting stories of manners and principles.  From many forms of comedy to mental meltdowns, from science fiction to unrequited heartache.  If you can imagine it an author probably wrote it.

At the end of the 19th Century bestseller lists and then prizes, such as the Nobel and Pulitzer, helped focus an audience’s attention to a books literary merit and sales worth. Previously coffeehouses, Imperial trade, unscrupulous overseas printers ignoring copyright restrictions, publishers with their book lists as an appendix and the gossip and interchange of polite society had been the main avenues to secure sales and profits. 

Within these volumes are 151 authors and 161 miniature masterpieces of a few pages that contain story arcs, narratives, characters and happenings that pull you one way and push you another.  Literature for the ears, the heart, the very soul.  As the world changed and reshaped itself our species continued to generate words, phrases and stories in testament of the human condition. 

This collection has a broad sweep and an inclusive nature and whilst you will find gems by D H Lawrence, G K Chesterton, Anthony Trollope, Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker and many, many others you’ll also find oddballs such as Lewis Carroll and W S Gilbert.  Take time to discover the black humour of Violet Hunt, the short story craft of Edith Nesbit and Amy Levy, and ask why you haven’t read enough of Ella D’Arcy, Mary Butts and Dorothy Edwards. 

In this compilation - 

01 - The Short Stories of the British Isles. A Chronological History. An Introduction (Complete)
02 - The Unfortunate Bride or The Blind Lady a Beauty by Aphra Behn
03 - The History of the Pirates by Daniel Defoe
04 - Directions to Servants by Jonathan Swift
05 - The Female Husband by Henry Fielding
06 - Betty Brown, the St Giles Orange Girl by Hannah More
07 - The Changeling by Mary Lamb
08 - The White Pigeon by Maria Edgeworth
09 - The Tapestried Chamber by Walter Scott
10 - The Sea Voyage by Charles Lamb
11 - The Metropolitian Emigrant by John Galt
12 - The Spectre of Tappington by Richard Harris Barham
13 - The Mourner by Mary Shelley
14 - The Prediction by Mary Diana Dods writing as David Lyndsey
15 - South West and by West Three-Quarters West by Frederick Marryat
16 - The Vampyre. A Tale by John Willaim Polidori
17 - The Indian Orphan. A Tale by Letitia Elizabeth Landon
18 - The First Evening by Catherine Crowe
19 - The Botathen Ghost from Footprints of Former Men in Far Cornwall by the Reverend R S Hawker
20 - The Sexton's Hero by Elizabeth Gaskell
21 - A Little Dinner At Timmin's by William Makepeace Thackeray
22 - The Trial for Murder by Charles Dickens
23 - The Baron of Grogzwig by Charles Dickens
24 - The Lake Pipple Popple by Edward Lear
25 - Reality or Delusion by Mrs Ellen Wood
26 - Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter by Sheridan Le Fanu
27 - Malachi's Cove by Anthony Trollope
28 - Napoleon and the Spectre by Charlotte Bronte
29 - The Knitted Collar by Mary Anne Hoare
30 - The Lifted Veil by George Eliot
31 - The Dream Woman by Wilkie Collins
32 - Stephen Archer by George MacDonald
33 - Frida, or The Lover's Leap, A Legend of the West Country by R D Blackmore
34 - The Last House in C Street by Mrs Craik
35 - A Story of a Wedding Tour by Margaret Oliphant
36 - The Gospel of Content by Frederick Greenwood
37 - The Phantom Coach by Amelia Edwards
38 - The Blank Cheque by Lewis Carroll
39 - Photography Extraordinary by Lewis Carroll
40 - The Ghost in the Clock Room by Hesba Stretton
41 - The Last of Squire Ennismore by Charlotte Riddell
42 - Alexander the Ratcatcher by Richard Garnett
43 - The Face in the Glass by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
44 - The Astounding Adventure of Wheeler J Calamity, Related by Himslef by W S Gilbert
45 - The Story of the RipplingTrain by Mary Louisa Molesworth
46 - The Fiddler of the Reels by Thomas Hardy
47 - Mr Sprouts, His Opinions. A Night in Belgrave Square by Richard Whiteing
48 - The Ghost at the Wrath by Rosa Mulholland
49 - The Papers of Basil Fillimer by H D Traill
50 - Many Waters Cannot Quench Love by Louisa Baldwin
51 - An Unexpected Fare by Mary Tuttiett writing as Maxwell Gray
52 - The Burial of the Rats by Bram Stoker
53 - A Queer Business by William Edward Norris
54 - A Rainy Day by Mary Elizabeth Hawker writing as Lanoe Faulkenery
55 - The Body Snatcher by Robert Louis Stevenson
56 - Cuchulain of Muirthemne. The Only Son of Aoife by Lady Augusta Gregory
57 - A Novel in a Nutshell by George Moore
58 - The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
59 - The Hired Baby, A Romance of the London Streets by Mary Mackay writing as Marie Corelli
60 - The Runaway by Marion Hepworth-Dixon
61 - Long Odds by H Rider Haggard
62 - Shut Out by F Anstey
63 - St George of Rochester by Henry W Nevinson
64 - Amour Dure by Violet Paget writing as Vernon Lee
65 - My Flirtations by Ella Hepworth Dixon writing as Margaret Wynham
66 - Irremediable by Ella D'Arcy
67 - A Capitalist by George Gissing
68 - The Informer by Joseph Conrad
69 - An Edited Story by Morley Roberts
70 - An Irish Problem by Somerville and Ross
71 - From The Dead by Edith Nesbit
72 - A Rich Woman by Katharine Tynan
73 - A Saga of the Seas by Kenneth Grahame
74 - Mutabile Semper by Kenneth Grahame
75 - Freckles by William Pett Ridge
76 - The Lesson by Jerome K Jerome
77 - The Cabman's Story. The Mysteries of a London Growler by Arthur Conan Doyle
78 - The Striped Chest by Arthur Conan Doyle
79 - Her Murderer by Mary Cholmonderly
80 - The Dust of Death by Fred M White
81 - Lucy Wren by Ada Radford
82 - A Lost Masterpiece by Mary Chavelita Dunne Bright writing as George Egerton
83 - The Inconsiderate Waiter by J M Barrie
84 - The Christ of Toro by Gabriela Cunninghame Graham
85 - Cohen of Trinity by Amy Levy
86 - The Mezzotint by M R James
87 - Rats by M R James
88 - The Coach by Violet Hunt
89 - Suggestion by Mrs Ernest Leverson
90 - Young Alf by Clarence Rook. Being a Chapter from the book Hooligan Nights
91 - Foreordained by Anthony Hope
92 - A Sucessful Rehearsal by Anthony Hope
93 - How They Stopped the 'Run' by Anthony Hope
94 - The Bowmen by Arthur Machen
95 - Red Tape by Mary Sinclair
96 - The Monkey's Paw by W W Jacobs
97 - Tales of Mean Streets. Lizerunt by Arthur Morrison
98 - The Omnibus by Arthur Quiller-Couch
99 - A Resurrection by H B Marriott Watson
100 - Cheating The Gallows by Israel Zangwill
101 - An Idyl of London by Beatrice Harraden
102 - The Diary of a God by Barry Pain
103 - The Love Germ by Constance Cotterell
104 - An Immortal by Sidney Benson Thorp
105 - A Pen and Ink Effect by Frances E Huntley
106 - Far Above Rubies by Netta Syrett
107 - A Melodrama - The Union by T Baron Russell
108 - Dhoya by W B Yeats
109 - My Honoured Master by Catherine Anne Dawson Scott
110 - The Mysterious Death on the Underground Railroad by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
111 - The Phantom Rickshaw by Rudyard Kipling
112 - Second Thoughts by Arthur Moore
113 - The Haunted Orchard by Richard Le Gallienne
114 - The Lizard by C J Cutcliffe Hyne
115 - The Ides of March by E W Hornung
116 - All Souls Eve by Dora Sigerson Shorter
117 - The Crystal Egg by H G Wells
118 - Jezebel of Valley Farm by E Philips Oppenhein
119 - Two or Three Witnesses by C E Montague
120 - The Crimson Weaver by R Murray Gilchrist
121 - The Matador of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett
122 - Caterpillars by E F Benson
123 - Apple Blossom in Brittany by Ernest Dowson
124 - The Salvation of a Forsythe by John Galsworthy
125 - The Coin of Dionysius by Ernest Bramah
126 - Scarlet Runners by James S Pyke-Nott
127 - The Kit Bag by Algernon Blackwood
128 - Thurnley Abbey by Perceval Landon
129 - Puppies and Otherwise by Evelyn Sharp
130 - Passed by Charlotte Mew
131 - Modern Melodrama by Hugo Crackanthorpe
132 - The Cobweb by Saki
133 - The Hounds of Fate by Saki
134 - A Little Holiday by Oswald Sickert
135 - Chopin Op 47 by Stanley Victor Makower
136 - Fear by Catherine Wells
137 - The Scaremonger by Ford Maddox Ford
138 - Pink Flannel by Ford Maddox Ford
139 - As the Crow Flies by John Davys Beresford
140 - The Miracle by John Davys Beresford
141 - The Resurrection of Father Brown by G K Chesterton
142 - Contrairy Mary by Edwin Pugh
143 - The Death Room by Edgar Wallace
144 - The Loathly Opposite by John Buchan
145 - Where Was Wych Street by Stacy Aumonier
146 - Carnacki, The Ghost Finder - No 1 - The Gateway of the Monster by William Hope Hodgson
147 - The Connoisseur by Perceval Gibbon
148 - The Blind Man by James Stephens
149 - Miss Ogilivy Finds Herself by Radclyffe Hall
150 - Blessed Are the Meek by Mary Webb
151 - Solid Objects by Virginia Woolf
152 - Araby by James Joyce
153 - Major Wilbraham by Hugh Walpole
154 - August Heat by W F Harvey
155 - A Modern Lover by D H Lawrence
156 - Limehouse Nights. Gracie Goodnight by Thomas Burke
157 - Private Merrick, Company Idiot by Sapper
158 - The Waxworks by A M Burrage
159 - After the Funeral by Mary Butts
160 - Sophy Mason Comes Back by E M Delafield
161 - The Casualty List by Winifred Holtby
162 - Rhapsody by Dorothy Edwards