The Classic Tales Podcast

B.J. Harrison

Arts, Literature, Education

Chart Positions

Literature 29
Arts 126

Every week, join award-winning narrator B.J. Harrison as he narrates the greatest stories the world has ever known. From the jungles of South America to the Mississippi Delta, from Victorian England to the sands of the Arabian desert, join us on a fantastic journey through the words of the world's greatest authors. Critically-acclaimed and highly recommended for anyone who loves a good story with plenty of substance.


Episode 432, The Mechanical Butterfly, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

August 21st, 2015

Episode 82 of 184 episodes

Owen Warland is a misunderstood genius. He may have been a world-renowned sculptor or painter, but he has set his sights on something different. He wants place spirit and life into a mechanical creation. Nathaniel Hawthorne, today on The Classic Tales Podcast. Welcome to The Classic Tales Podcast. Thank you for listening. APP USERS: Check your special features to hear another short story from Nathaniel Hawthorne: Rappacini's Daughter (Originally released over 400 episodes ago). The Last of the Mohicans is now available! The year is 1757: The fate of North America is in the hands of the French, the British and the Native Americans. Each party weaves their warlike paths in this tapestry of adventure. Meet Hawkeye, Uncas and Chingatchgook – each a stealthy iron-browed incarnation of the incomprehensible forest. Discover the unscrupulous and sinister Magua, banished and determined to become the leader of his people, and have his revenge on the British. The Last of the Mohicans is delivered in Normal, HD and mp3 formats, meeting or exceeding the quality of anything available at iTunes or Audible. Go now to www.thebestaudiobooks.com and get your copy of the James Fennimore Cooper Classic. http://store.thebestaudiobooks.com/the-last-of-the-mohicans-by-james-fenimoore-cooper-audiobook-download-p215.aspx Today’s story is from one of the great pioneers of the short story, Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was originally entitled The Artist of the Beautiful, or The Mechanical Butterfly. I’ve chosen to use the lesser-known title. This is the first robotic insect science fiction short story as well as the first non-humanoid sci-fi short story. It is also one of the first Clockmech stories. Clockmech is a subgenre in which clocks play a central role in the storyline. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo is a clockmech story, as is A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. But mostly this is a story about an artist and his pursuit of creating that which is beautiful. The protagonist’s name, Owen Warland, is a play on words. The artist himself is considered a War-land. Nobody ever attacks the blacksmith, because he follows a trade that everybody understands and accepts. But Owen Warland does things that people don’t understand, and fills his days doing things that are backward to them. They laugh at him for this, and take it upon themselves to straiten him out. His life is a War-land. If you are an artist, or a creator, or producer of any kind, I hope you identify with this story as much as I did. And now, The Artist of the Beautiful, or The Mechanical Butterfly, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Featured Podcast