Extended Audio Sample

Download Henry VIII Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Henry VIII, by William Shakespeare
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,087 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Shakespeare Narrator: Sybil Thorndike Publisher: Saland Publishing Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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This abridged performance of the last of Shakespeare's plays founded on English history was recorded in 1952. Henry VIII was first published in the 1623 folio edition of Shakespeare's plays.

This performance stars Dame Sybil Thorndike, Sir Lewis Casson & Ralph Truman (as King Henry VIII). Download and start listening now!


Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Alex | 2/13/2014

    " Read this as a companion piece after I finished Wolf Hall. I didn't even know he wrote a play about Henry VIII, and now I know why: it pretty much sucks. And a total whitewash, which makes sense in retrospect. Where's the fucking beheadings, Will? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Michael | 2/12/2014

    " Not the best o' the the Bard, but fits in well with the histories. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Moira Russell | 2/8/2014

    " Chewed through this mainly because I badly sprained my ankle and am stuck in bed, and saw the BBC production of it but could barely follow it and felt vaguely guilty, like I'd slighted Will or something. After reading it and viewing it once again and focusing on the long, detailed critical introduction by Jay L. Halio (which was quite good and hardly at all stiff), what strikes me is not how it's about Henry VIII -- because it isn't, really, just as King John isn't really about that king and Henry VI is a sort of marginal figure in the three plays which bear his name.....and come to think of it Henry IV isn't really the full focus of the two-parter with his name on it, either. (The two kings who seem to command their respective plays are Richards II and III. The effects of being named Dick rather than Harry are left as an exercise for the reader.) Halio emphasizes the linked way Buckingham, Katherine and Wolsey all foreshadow each other's downfalls, one worst than the next, and the tragic flaw causing it all isn't even really overweening ambition (as Wolsey's fate is presented) but rather the way Henry becomes an increasingly powerful juggernaut who can rid himself of troublesome nobles, his wife, and even the second most powerful man in England. But he remains a shadowy and contradictory figure, motivated not so much by lust (although Shakespeare explicitly makes desire for Anne, rather than worry over succession, his main motive) but the realization that whatever he wants -- Anne, a divorce, telling the Pope to piss up a rope -- he can just take. This exercise of absolute power casts a bit of a shadow over the celebratory joy at Elizabeth's birth which ends the play (IIRC, the Beeb just whacked the Epilogue, not even allowing it to be a VO, as happened to the Prologue). Personally, I went into the play detesting Wolsey and expecting some major fireworks from Anne Boleyn/Bullen, who is one of my favourite figures of that period, but wound up sympathetic to the Cardinal (well, with those fantastic final speeches Will gives him, can you blame me -- "he falls like Lucifer, Never to hope again") and v impressed by Shakespeare's portrayal of Katherine, one of his strongest and most dignified women. However, I just absolutely cannot STAND Henry VIII and this play did nothing to counteract that. People who think that this play glorifies Elizabeth's father are about as clueless as the ones who say that Henry V is a piece of pro-war jingoistic propaganda. I didn't enjoy reading this, exactly, but I'm glad I made the effort and dug into it and especially read the critical matter, which was very helpful. Shakespeare almost always rewards really engaging with the text -- doesn't Woolf call his influence 'fertilizing'? (No no, not like that. Smartasses.) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by April Hochstrasser | 1/15/2014

    " I listened on CD to Shakespeare's play. I'm glad the CD included scene descriptions and synopsis of what was happening. Very great writing, duh! "

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