Aspern Papers, The [Reading]

Episodes

EpisodeFirst
Broadcast
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0120100426

Henry James took as his inspiration for his tale The Aspern Papers the story of a mistress of Byron's who outlived the poet into lonely old age.

He transposed the setting to Venice and cast the city he loved as a character in a taut narrative of literary theft and deception.

Episode 1

The lure of previously unseen papers relating to the long-dead poet Jeffrey Aspern brings one of his editors to Venice in the grip of an obsession.

He must see them, he must have them; and he will lie and betray in order to do so.

Read by Samuel West.

Abridged and produced by Christine Hall.

An editor travels to Venice in the grip of an obsession.

0220100427

Episode 2 of The Aspern Papers by Henry James, read by Samuel West.

Jeffrey Aspern's devoted literary editor has broached the palazzo of Aspern's ancient and discarded lover, Miss Juliana Bordereau.

He has deceived the fluttering middle-aged niece, Miss Tina, into believing he wants to lodge with them in order to cultivate the garden.

Now he has to convince the old lady herself and with great emotion he comes before the Juliana who inspired some of the dead poet's most exquisite lyrics.

Abridged and produced by Christine Hall.

Jeffrey Aspern's devoted literary editor believes he can charm his way into the house.

0320100428

Episode 3 of The Aspern Papers by Henry James, read by Samuel West.

The collector of memorabilia belonging to the long-dead poet Jeffrey Aspern has secured rooms in the house of Aspern's ancient and withered ex-lover.

He has met the old lady and has been startled by her unromatic keenness to relieve him of his money, but he feels any outlay would be worth making to secure the letters and papers he wants.

Accordingly, he embarks on a campaign of charming Miss Bordereau's middle-aged niece in order to get her co-operation.

Abridged and Produced by Christine Hall.

Jeffrey Aspern's literary editor embarks on a campaign of charming Miss Bordereau's niece.

0420100429

Samuel West reads from the novella by Henry James, set against the decaying grandeur of Venice.

Samuel West reads from the novella by Henry James, set in Venice.

0520100430

Episode 5 of The Aspern Papers by Henry James, read by Samuel West.

Aspern's literary editor, having laid out a good deal of money and time in the quest for previously unpublished papers connected with the poet, is growing restless at his lack of results.

He has now recruited the pathetic niece Miss Tina to the cause of preserving Aspern's letters from destruction by her aunt; at the same time, he becomes convinced that Miss Bordereau herself has guessed what he's about.

Abridged and produced by Christine Hall.

Miss Bordereau interviews her lodger and he and Miss Tina make an excursion.

0620100503

Episode 6 of The Aspern Papers by Henry James, read by Samuel West.

Jeffrey Aspern's obsessive devotee has become more desperate to obtain the elusive letters held by Miss Bordereau.

Fearing that the old lady will destroy the papers he has put pressure on her niece to rescue them, but he begins to realise that neither of them is a match for the calculating Juliana herself.

Abridged and produced by Christine Hall.

The collector has done all he can to secure the letters but Miss Bordereau mistrusts him.

07 LAST20100504

The final episode of The Aspern Papers by Henry James, read by Samuel West.

After all his scheming to obtain Jeffrey Aspern's letters to Juliana Bordereau, the obsessive collector is tantalizingly close to them but cannot feel confident of possessing them.

He knows where they are in the house, he knows that Juliana has not long to live.

It has now become a matter of ensuring the old lady doesn't destroy the papers before she dies.

His one hope is the co-operation of the loveless Miss Tina.

Abridged and produced by Christine Hall.

Aspern's editor has confrontation with Ms Bordereau just as he seemed close to the papers.