Tales of the Alhambra: A Series of Tales and Sketches of the Moors and Spaniards

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Press: Blackstone Audiobooks; MP3 Una edition (November 1, 2004)
Publication Date:2004-10
Author Name:Irving, Washington
Edition:MP3 Una Edition


Written in 1831, Washington Irving's dreamlike description of the Alhambra, the beautiful Moorish castle that defined the height of Moorish civilization, and of the surrounding territory of Granada remains one of the most romantic and entertaining travelogues ever written of this region in Spain. 
Enhanced here with exquisite Spanish guitar music, the narrative is a heady mix of historical fact, medieval myth and mystery, sensual descriptions, and an appreciation for a civilization that valued beauty, philosophy, literature, science, and the arts on an equal level with warrior skills.
Secret chambers, desperate battles, imprisoned princesses, palace ghosts, and fragrant gardens, described in a wistful and dreamlike eloquence, will transport listeners to a paradise of their own.

From AudioFile

Written in 1831, this classic weaves timeless tales of intrigue, romance, greed, and hidden treasure amid the grandeur of the Alhambra. 
The listener's ear must become attuned to the historical language and setting, but this adjustment proves worthwhile.
The ancient tales describe palace gardens, towers, subterranean prisons, and escape routes across mountains.
Interestingly, the characters give present-day listeners a fresh perspective of the tensions between the Christian and Islamic traditions, and the ties to modern-day events are dramatic.
Ralph Cosham gives an excellent even-toned reading with inflections of Spanish and Arabic that add to the stories.
Spanish guitar music provides both transitional moments and ambience.
© AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine


Books on CD,Nonfiction,Literature & Fiction,Unabridged,General

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Comment List (Total:17)

  •     "Tales of the Alhambra" was penned by American author Washington Irving ("Rip Van Winkle," "Sleepy Hollow") during a stay at the legendary Alhambra in Granada, Spain. I bought this book after my visit to the Alhambra, and found it to be a fantastic companion to what I had seen and experienced.The Alhambra (and Generalife) is a combination fort/palace/gardens dating from the 13th century, filled with fantastic Arabic architecture (ornate plasterwork, ceramic tiles, sculpted marble fountains and archways), and lots of room for imagining the days of its former greatness, which Irving brings to life most memorably. The book is illustrated with charming and detailed watercolour engravings dating from the same period when the book was written.Irving seamlessly winds legend, history, and a Spanish travelogue of sorts together, and even though the book is over 170 years old, it seems as if it was written yesterday. There are tales of princes, genies, lost and found loves, enchanted treasures, battles, hellish headless horses (does the inspiration seem familiar?), and commentary on the Spanish landscape and nature of the Spaniards that he lives with. Full of bewitching music, the smell of roses and exotic perfumes, firey sunsets, and the ghosts of the past, the book is a sensory treat as well. If you plan on visiting the Alhambra, read this first--it will definitely enhance your experience. If you've already visited, this makes a priceless souvenir, bringing to life once more the stately halls and fragrant gardens.
  •     It's a good collection of stories, but like many books from that time period it moves a bit slowly by today's standards.
  •     IT was smelly and dirty- not in good condition!!!
  •     Includes some very unique old stories that the author learned about while staying in the Alhambra over 100 years ago!
  •     Such a treasure! LOVE IT,LOVE IT.
  •     This historic and romantic collection of experiences and legends in 19th century Granada is a delightful escape that also illustrates a time and place where Christians and Muslims...
  •     Outstanding g
  •     Having recently travelled Andalusia, we visited the Alhambra, interesting to read Irving's account of his time spent there back early 19th Century.
  •     LOVE the book, though NOT this edition!! I have read this book before and excitedly looked for some of my favorites, which are not included in this edition. Terrible edition.
  •     Washington Irving is credited with bringing the glorious history and unbelievable beauty of the Alhambra, in the city of Granada, (the last stronghold of the Moors in the South of Spain) to Western conciousness.After spending a day at the Alhambra last Summer, and passing by the closed apartments that he occupied, I decided to listen to his book while driving one hour each way to work. (any short trips won't work because all of the 'tales' are lengthy)My title says it all. If you are a student of dry history this book is not for you. Only about 20-30 minutes will satisfy your curiosity for the facts. If you enjoy legend and lore this book is it. The bulk of the book tells numerous stories of princes and princeses, kings and soldiers, common laborers such as mule drivers and water carriers, loves found and loves lost, and especially the perrenial human lust for long lost and buried treasure, etc., all told with a wonderous style and feel for southern Spain of the 13-th to 15-th centuries.The factual account of how Columbus finally came to agreement with Isabella and Ferdinand to sign the contract for the three ships, almost by chance in 1492, while the two sovereigns were outside Granada laying the final siege of the Alhambra fortress, is mind blowing. History came 'that close' to having Columbus sail three French ships instead of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.If you want just the facts, look elsewhere. But if you are planning a trip to Granada and the Alhambra, definitely pick up this book, along with a second, more fact based, and give a read or listen. I wish I had done that before my trip. It would have given much more life and enjoyment to the place as I walked through the various rooms and towers and gardens that Irving so lovingly describes.
  •     Everybody ought to read Washington Irwing's collection of stories he heard in Granada almost 200 years ago. As I understand it...
  •     I am fascinated with the many stories about the inhabitants of the Alhambra in Granada. I knew the overview history, have toured the site, and find Irving's experience there and...
  •     I visited Spain in Nov 2002 and was absolutely enchanted by the Nasrid Alhambra palace in Granada. Built in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, it casts a watchful eye over the inhabitants of the city below.From the exterior, palace is surrounded by an imposing fort structure built of reddish brown stone - clearly meant to give the vision of martial strength to the outsiders. At night from the Albaycin (Old Arab Quarter), the palace is hauntingly beautiful-floodlights on the fort giving it a ghostly appearance. Upon entering the deceptively unassuming palace, a world of breathtakingly beautiful art and architecture slowly overwhelms you.I simply couldn't get enough of this palace and often found myself trying to absorb as much of it's ambiance as possible. I was introduced to Washington Irving's work when I had bought an audioguide at the entrance of the palace. This guide was essentially oral excerpts from his book detailing the history and legends of each room as I walked through them.Upon completing the tour, I then was compelled to buy the book. Reading it, I could see the Alhambra in front of my eyes again. In addition to that, I could imagine its former royal inhabitants as the legends of chivalry, romance and ghosts were told.Washington Irving had the opportunity to live for several months in the Alhambra palace. Back then it was a forgotten Moorish fort in a terrible state of disrepair. His style is very soft and dreamlike, thus one is drawn into his writing as he discovers the legends from the 'guardians' who have taken residence in the palace.This book was truly a delight to read, I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn about the Alhambra or as a memoir of one's own visit to the palace.
  •     On returning from Spain this spring with fresh memories of The Alhambra of Grenada, I downloaded Washington Irving's work. I wish I had read it before visiting The Alhambra. In these not so dusty pages one views the political and social background of The Alhambra, and hence, all of Spain. The halls, terraces, fountains are richly discussed in this work, mixed in with the Ghostly visions and stories there associated that Irving relates. The stories alone are as fresh as modern television, rich fodder for the imagination.He also describes Spain as it was in the early 19th century, allowing the traveler to compares his own sojourn there.Well worth the reading.
  •     Insight into a number of people I know very little about.
  •     Fascinating , I wish I had read the book before visiting the Alhambra and was directed to the book due to a page reference on the wall of the Alhambrae, now having read the book I...
  •     Electronic preview was 2nd version, but printed version is 1st version. However, a very interesting read.

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