Free Podcasts of Classic American and British Thrillers


Drjekyllandmrhyde_2Among the grow­ing col­lec­tions of free audio book pod­casts, you’ll find a large num­ber of “thrillers”
that grew out of the Amer­i­can and British lit­er­ary tra­di­tions. It’s per­haps safe to say that the vol­un­teers who record these books like a good, fear-induc­ing read. But who does­n’t?

The list of sus­pense­ful nov­els avail­able as free pod­casts starts with the “mon­ster nov­els” of 19th cen­tu­ry Britain. These nov­els, which fre­quent­ly offered a round­about com­men­tary on the anx­i­eties pro­duced by a soci­ety in the midst of rapid indus­tri­al­iza­tion and wide­spread colo­nial involve­ment, include Mary Shel­ley’s Franken­stein (1818), Robert Louis Steven­son’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1886), and Bram Stok­er’s Drac­u­la (1897). Mean­while, across the pond, Amer­i­ca was pro­duc­ing its own dis­tinc­tive thrillers. In the trove of free audio books, you get Wash­ing­ton Irv­ing’s clas­sic 1820 short sto­ry, The Leg­end of Sleepy Hol­low (lis­ten here or here) as well as Edgar Allan Poe’s great short tales: The Tell Tale Heart (1843), The Raven from 1845 (lis­ten here or here), and The Cask of Amon­til­la­do (1846). (Amaz­ing that he wrote all of these before he died at 40.) Last­ly, we’d also point you to the famous ghost sto­ry, The Turn of the Screw (lis­ten here and here), writ­ten by one of Amer­i­ca’s greats, Hen­ry James.

You’ll note that some of these pod­casts come from Lib­rivox, and that’s because Lib­rivox, with the help of vol­un­teers, has quick­ly put togeth­er a strong col­lec­tion of audio texts from the pub­lic domain. If you like audio ver­sions of the clas­sics, then you’ll want to spend some time review­ing their cat­a­logue, and, in the mean­time, enjoy these sus­pense­ful tales.

P.S. If you haven’t seen it before, check out our recent favorite: The War of the Worlds on Pod­cast: How H.G. Wells and Orson Welles Riv­et­ed A Nation

See Open Cul­ture’s Pod­cast Col­lec­tions:

Arts & Cul­tureAudio BooksFor­eign Lan­guage LessonsNews & Infor­ma­tionSci­enceTech­nol­o­gyUni­ver­si­ty (Gen­er­al)Uni­ver­si­ty (B‑School)

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.