Tried and true (well, at least tried)
Audio books (on tape and CD)
available in the NTU Audio-Visual Library
with occasional notes
by Karen Chung
Simplified novels and stories for ESL learners and children's literature
Short stories, collections
Essays, diaries, humour
Drama/plays and one-person performances
Discussions on authors, works and genres
Communication skills, vocabulary, pronunciation
History, music, art, philosophy lectures
Radio and TV
Books on tape suitable for English listening practice
German radio drama
Other German tapes
Miscellaneous (including Latin and EFL)
Works downloaded from the Internet
Jane Austen. Emma. Female, RP. Cover-to-cover classics. Outstanding reading,
as is true of all the recordings in the cover-to-cover series. Of all of Austen's
heroines, this is certainly the one most like the author herself. (AC) PR4034
E4 1984 12 tapes (80 min. each).
2. Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice. Read by Irene Sutcliffe. Cover-to-cover classics. Female, RP.Beautifully read. (AC PR4034 P7 1983 10 tapes (69 min. each).
3. Jane Austen. Sense and Sensibility. Cover-to-cover classics. Read by Ann Badel. Female, RP. (AC) PR4034 S4 1986 9 tapes (70 min. each).
4. Charlotte Brontë. Jane Eyre. Cover-to-cover classics. Read by Maureen O'Brien. Female, RP. Very good characterizations. A truly wonderful novel. (AC) PR4167 J36 1984 15 tapes (87 min. each).
5. Emily Brontë. Wuthering Heights. Cover-to-cover classics. Female, RP. Reader: Patricia Routledge. Wonderful reading in RP and sometimes difficult-to-understand dialect (e.g. when Old Joseph talks). A masterpiece. (AC) PR4172 W87 10 tapes (85 min. each).
6. Wilkie Collins. The Woman in White. Spellbinding mystery and drama. (AC) PR4494 W6 1985 18 tapes (83 min. each).
7. Charles Dickens. Great Expectations. Read by Martin Jarvis. Male, RP. Excellent reading; good characterizations. (AC) PR4560 J37 1984 13 tapes (81 min. each).
8. Charles Dickens. Hard Times. Read by Stephen Thorne. Cover-to-cover classics. Male, RP. Great reading with clever characterizations and dialect. (AC) PR4561 A1 1985 9 tapes (70 min. each).
9. Stella Gibbons. Cold Comfort Farm, read by Prunella Scales. RP. Argo. Entertaining satire of stereotyped gothic novel. (AC) PZ7 G522 2 tapes (126 min.).
10. George Eliot. Silas Marner. This long and dense novel goes down much more easily listening to it on tape than trying to wade through the book.
11. George Eliot. The Mill on the Floss. A silly, incredible ending mars this otherwise engaging novel. (AC) PR4664 A84 1984 14 tapes.
12. F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby, read by Alexander Scourby. 3 cassettes; outstanding reading of a great novel. (AC) PS3511.I9 G74z 1985 3 tapes (4 hrs., 30 min.).
13. Thomas Hardy. Return of the Native. Cover-to-cover classics. Read by Alan Richman. Male, RP. If you choose just one Hardy novel, I'd recommend this one. (AC) PR4747 A1 1985 12 tapes.
14. Thomas Hardy. Far from the Madding Crowd. Read by Stephen Thorne. Male, RP. Cover-to-cover classics. I'd avoided this set for a long time, much as I like the Cover-to-cover series, because I'd seen the movie, and I sometimes OD on Hardy, since we've got so much of him in the AV library. But this reading is a delight. I was reminded of Hardy's minute attention to detail, which sometimes is a bit wordy, but usually has an identifiable purpose, and his little brutally honest observations (e.g. about things people do when they think they aren't being observed, and how they react when confronted with knowledge that they have in fact been seen) tends to hit one with renewed force at odd times. (AC) PR4745 T476 11 tapes (ca. 78 min. each)
15. Henry Rider Haggard. King Solomon's Mines. Exotic fun. (AC) PR4731 A4 1985 2 tapes (174 min.).
16. Ernest Hemingway. The Old Man and the Sea. 2 cassettes. Read by Charlton Heston. Male, US. Excellent reading of a man's struggle with a fish and himself. (AC) PS3515.E37 O4 1987 2 tapes.
17. Aldous Huxley. Brave New World. Audio Partners; read by Michael York; 6 cassettes. Good RP reading; reader is clever at imitating accents, perhaps too clever; he uses it to distinguish characters in the book; the anti-hero Bernard Marx is Scottish, and he also does northern England (?), Cockney, and a very convincing American accent; but I found the accents distracting and that they sometimes added an extraneous element of humor where it wasn't necessarily intended. This set is a great way to reread or refresh your memory of the book, in any case. (AC) PR6015.U9 B655z 1998 6 tapes (8 hrs.20 min.).
18. Franz Kafka. The Trial. 6 cassettes, with intro, etc. Blackwell audio. Kafka is an expert at building horror while the characters go about trying to live more or less normal lives in an abnormal situation; good reading, rendered in an offhand-sounding style; with notes and discussion on the translation and various editions. (AC) PT2621.A26 P75z 1998 6 tapes (9 hrs.).
19. Daphne du Maurier. Frenchman's Creek. The quintessential romance novel, with a seductive French-accented pirate as the anti-hero. (AC) PR6007.U47 F7 6 tapes (88 min. each).
20. John Steinbeck. The Grapes of Wrath. 12 tapes; male, US, slight southern accent; good interpretation, creation of appropriate milieu. (AC) PS3537.T3234 G81z 1998.
21. Anthony Trollope. Barchester Towers. Trollope is entertaining but superficial. (AC) PR5684 B372 1983 2 tapes (176 min.).
22. Robert Louis Stevenson. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Read by Tom Baker. Male, RP. I think this is one of my favorite books. This story goes far beyond the popular stereotype of the 'split personality' the book is known for to examine the dark side of humans, and ways to deal with and come to terms with it. The lesson of this book is that if somehow we could find a way to indulge this dark side, it would destroy the rest of us, though our good side may have started out as the much stronger and more dominant side. Excellent reading with dialect and convincing characterizations. (AC) PR5485 A35/1982. 2 tapes
23. Evelyn Waugh. Scoop; humorous, farcical in parts. (AC) PR6045.A97 S36 6 tapes
Jane Austen. Mansfield Park. BBC study tapes. Female, RP. If only this
were the whole novel. Lovely reading in rather old-fashioned sounding
RP and fun charactersizations; the reader is especially good at catty females.
The youngest of three sisters ends up destitute and with ten children on her hands.
The eldest sister, Lady Bertram, takes in the second eldest child, Fanny Price,
at the second sister's urging. She is not given as much love or attention as her
cousins, but her cousin Edmund is kind to her. Fanny always insists on doing the
right thing, those who don't are duly punished, and Fanny eventually she ends
up marrying Edmund, the only other really upright one of his generation in the
story. (AC) PR4034.M3 F80 5 tapes (49 min. each).
2. Jane Austen. Persuasion. BBC study tapes. Female, RP. Too bad it's abridged. (AC ) PR4034 P4 1985 6 tapes.
3. John Bunyan. Pilgrim's Progress. Read by John Gielgud. Hear the highlights of the famous allegory. It's interesting, but the Bible language does get a little tiring. Hear first about Christian's journey, with all its challenges and pitfalls, to his final reward, then that of his wife Christiana and his kids who he left behind. (AC) PR3330 A22 1984 2 tapes (139 min.).
4. Alan Burgess. The Small Woman, filmed as The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, read by Ingrid Bergman. 2 cassettes; Argo. Corny story line and ridiculous idealizations, but engaging. (AC) PZ7 B873 1979 2 tapes.
5. Anthony Burgess. Reading Selections from: A Clockwork Orange. A gory and violent story, but excellent reading by the author in Mancunian (Manchester)-accented English, laced with Russian words. (AC) PR6052.U638 C5 1987 1 tape. (60 min.)
6. Kate Chopin. The Awakening. CD. Naxos. Abridged. Female. Southernish accent ¡V supposedly Louisianan. Well worth listening to.
7. Charles Dickens. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. (AC) PR4565 A35 1982 2 tapes. (175 min.)
8. Charles Dickens. The Pickwick Papers. Selections.
9. Charles Dickens. Bleak House. BBC; selections; 2 cassettes; too fragmentary to know what's really going on in this novel.
10. Kaye Gibbons. A Virtuous Woman. This is my second time to listen to this; I don't seem to have added it to this list the first time. But it was worth relistening to. A wife, now dead of cancer, and her second husband narrate by turns their own stories of their pasts, how they met, and how they interacted. Good juxtapositions of differing views of the same facts, e.g. the husband talks proudly about his target practice and membership in the NRA; the wife says 'he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn', and that every time he fired his gun she would have flashbacks of a traumatic incident with her first husband, and she would get the second husband to stop in some wily feminine way. The couple was mismatched in some ways, but seemed basically happy together, based on their mutual need. Both readers, the author and Terry Beaver, have interesting Southern accents with a different distribution of glottal stops compared to General American. (AC) PN3557.I322 V5z/1997 2 tapes
11. William Golding. Lord of the Flies: Dramatized excerpts from the novel, adapted by John B. Wilson, 60 min. Carefully chosen bits of dialogue and narration take you through the whole novel. Except side B is defective! Hopefully the library will have fixed this by now ¡V check. Mr. (Ole) Peterson sometimes teaches this novel in his fiction class.
12. Thomas Hardy. The Mayor of Casterbridge. A man sells his wife, then eventually takes her back ¡V or she takes him back. Many twists of fate in this rather sad but quite implausible story. Listen to it as an allegory. (AC) PR4750 M25z 1995 4 tapes (6 hrs.15 min.)
13. D. H. Lawrence. Lady Chatterley's Lover (abridged). This story did nothing for me.
14. D. H. Lawrence. Sons and Lovers. Abridged. 2 cassettes; read by Ian McKellen; male, RP. London: Decca. I don't much care for Lawrence, but this was engaging and listenable, maybe because it's said to be the most biographical of Lawrence's novels, and thus more true to life. Paul's mother, trapped in a miserable marriage, essentially commits emotional incest with her son. Because of the intense closeness the mother has developed with Paul, he ends up unable to form a healthy relationship with a woman. (AC) PR6023.A93 A6 1982 2 tapes (171 min.)
15. D. H. Lawrence. Women in Love. Adapted in six parts by Roy Spencer; produced by Trevor Hill. Dramatization, abridged; RP; good acting, perhaps a bit too glib in parts; but I don't care for Lawrence so the whole thing rubs me the wrong way. BBC. 6 cassettes. (AC) PR6023 A93 6 tapes (52 min. each)
16. Scenes from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. (2 tapes; excerpts), read by Glenda Jackson (RP) Well-chosen highlights of the novel. (AC) PS1017 L57 1984 2 tapes (167 min.)
17. Hermann Melville. Moby Dick (2-cassette radio play version) Get a good feeling for the story if you're not up to reading this 900+ page novel. (AC) PS2384.M6 M45z 1980 2 tapes
18. Edna O'Brien. Reads from her novel The Country Girls. 2 cassettes. A good listen; description of prisonlike convent school life, sexual awakening. (AC) PZ7 O274 2 tapes (134 min.)
19. Mary Shelley. Frankenstein. Audiobooks. CD. 160 minutes, abridged by Duncan Steen. (AC) PR5397 F73z 1994 2 tapes (AC) PR5397 F731z 1994 2 CDs (2 hrs.37 min.)
20. Laurence Stern. Sentimental Journey. Read by Donald Sinden. Stern is eccentric, and although this work is supposed to be considerably less eccentric than his Tristram Shandy, it is still a bit weird. You'll hear excerpts from the travel experiences of a man who by his own description can be rude, stingy, and lascivious. It would seem his main redeeming virtues are his honesty and articulateness. Good reading, but tape 1 side A squeaks badly. (AC) PR3714 S46 2 tapes (109 min.)
21. Bram Stoker. Dracula, Hear the main storyline on one 60-minute cassette. Male, RP. The plot is the same very, very familiar one from the Dracula movies: the wooden stake, the garlic blossoms, the cross, and mirrors. Are vampires sexy? I don't think so, and this tape certainly didn't change my mind. If you want a somewhat longer abridgment, choose the 2-cassette version; this is also well read. (AC) PR6037.T617 D7 1 tape (60 min.)
22. William Makepeace Thackeray. Vanity Fair. Good abridgment of this long novel. (AC) PR5618.A2 R42 1996 4 tapes (8 hrs.)
Simplified novels and stories for ESL learners and children's literature
The Reverend W. Awdry. The Railway Stories, read by William Rushton.
There's a whole series of these, and they are indeed meant for a young audience;
two of these were more than enough for me. They are fun, though ¡V personified
trains, trucks, helicopters and such interact and play out their inner desires
and conflicts. (AC) PZ8.9 A927 2 tapes (134 min.).
2. Richmal Crompton. The William Stories. Read by Kenneth Williams. If hearing articulate narrations of the misadventures of a naughty boy and his friends is your kind of thing, this is for you. Tape 1, side A: William succeeds where his father failed in getting rid of a visiting aunt who long ago wore out her welcome. The same theme from 1A is repeated in a story on 1B in which William gets rid of an unwanted tenant from a friend's home through suggestions of witchcraft. (AC) PZ8.9 C766 2 tapes (152 min.).
3. Richmal Crompton. More William Stories. Read by Kenneth Williams. There is a great deal of structural similarity between the William stories, and many impossible coincidences, but they do not fail to entertain. I really liked the one on side 1A where William learns to carve whistles out of reeds from an old man, who he rewards in a very meaningful way for his kindness; and a twist of fate saves the day when William discovers he forgot to perform the errand he was sent out on in the first place. Side B has a happy ending in a similar kind of way; this one involves staging a historical pageant and competition with another group of kids, also friendship with the opposite sex, and finding there is satisfaction in dealing with some otherwise irritating people. Tape 2: A: William inadvertently helps two groups of people with their problems. B: William plans to take a hostage, and nearly succeeds, but things, as always, come out differently than expected. (AC) PZ8.9 C765 1983 2 tapes (136 min.).
4. Alexandre Dumas. The Count of Monte Cristo. Penguin readers, level 3. 2 cassettes. Male, RP. A clear, slow reading of a very short, very simplified abridgment of the book. (AC) PQ2223 H6z 2000 2 tapes.
5. Henry Fielding. Tom Jones. Penguin Readers, Level 6; 2 cassettes. Male, RP. This is my favorite so far of all the simplified novels on tape. It is read in beautiful RP with lively and convincing characterizations. Although it is read at a somewhat slower pace than regular audio books, it is the only one of its type so far that didn't keep reminding me as I was listening that it was meant for non-native speakers (maybe because it's level 6). So much happens in this story that it will hold your interest all the way through. Great fun! (AC) PR3454 H5z 1999
6. Thomas Hardy. Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Oxford Bookworms, Level 6. Female, RP. Beautiful reading with good characterizations and dialect readings. This version does not sound overly slow or artificial, though in places the simpler language does make itself felt. Knowing beforehand where things were heading in the story i.e. towards tragedy made it a bit hard to persist and listen through to the end. But as a recording it is impeccable. (AC) PR4748 W4z 2000 3 tapes
7. Anthony Hope. The Prisoner of Zenda. Oxford Bookworms series, stage 3. 2 cassettes. In simplified English. A man with dark red hair and blue eyes in England stemming from an illicit relationship in the family long ago looks just like the king of an Austrian kingdom with a shared ancestor. He visits the place and ends up being called on to impersonate the king when the king is drugged by his half-brother and nemesis Black Michael just before his coronation. The storyline isn't totally predictable, but it's very fairytale-ish. The story is read very slowly for intermediate readers, which is uncomfortable for a native speaker; but the story is so intricate and engaging (though totally unbelievable) that you get used to it. The reading is in impeccable RP, and features good voice characterizations, including of female characters. (AC) PN1997 P77z 2000 2 tapes.
8. Henry James. Washington Square. 2 cassettes. Oxford Bookworm series, stage 4. Retold by Kirin McGovern; read by Nonie Kent. Simplified and read slowly; US English. This seems to be a reasonably good adaptation of the original, but the slow pace will drive you crazy if your English is really good. (AC) PQ2223 H6z 2000 2 tapes.
9. Rudyard Kipling. The Jungle Books. (AC) PR4854 J8 2 tapes.
10. Rudyard Kipling. Just So Stories. (AC) PR4852 J87 2 tapes (92 min.).
11. Howard Sage. Fictional Flights. Heinle and Heinle. This is a collection of simplified stories for ESL learners with accompanying thought questions. The first is "Jack and the Beanstalk", and I didn't really like the writing style that much; the second, "Feast" by Eric Larsen, was much more interesting; "A Bag of Oranges" by Spiro Athanas was OK; "Gerald's Song" by Phillip O'Connor I found maddeningly oversimplified, repetitive, and pointless; "Sunday in the Park" by Bel Kaufman was mildly entertaining, with a cutesy ending. Accompanying book available. (AC) PE1128 S2155.1993. 1 tape.
12. Anna Sewell. Black Beauty. Abridged into 2 cassettes. Read in impeccable RP by Angela Rippon. Angela Rippon has one of the sweetest reading voices you can imagine. A joy to listen to. Hear about a horse's trials and triumphs from a horse's point of view. (AC) PZ10.3 S481 2 tapes (115 min.).
13. Johanna Spyri. Heidi, read by Judi Dench. A delightful reading of the classic children's novel, abridged into 2 cassettes. Heidi much prefers staying with her grandfather on the mountain to life with a wealthy family in Frankfurt; and she always looks after the welfare of her elders. And wheelchair-bound Klara learns to walk after Peter the naughty goatherd pushes her wheelchair down the mountain, thus destroying it. (AC) PZ7 S697 2 tapes (113 min.).
14. Noel Streatfeild. Ballet Shoes. Read by Moira Shearer. Decca; 2 tapes. Mainly a children's story; how three orphans find their place in the world. (AC) PZ7 S773 2 tapes (154 min.).
15. Mark Twain. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. (AC) PS1306 A1 1995 5 tapes (7 hrs., 42min.).
16. Mark Twain. Huckleberry Finn. 3-cassette radio play version. Silly guitar songs, but reasonably good dramatization. (AC) PS1305.A2 L585 3 tapes (192 min.).
17. Jules Verne. Journey to the Center of the Earth. Male, RP. This cliffhanger offers pure entertainment and pure delight. A young man gets dragged along by his obsessed uncle on a quest to reach the center of the earth, the possibility of which they learned of in a coded message stuck in an ancient manuscript. They descend into the passageways of an extinct volcano in Iceland and experience a long series of challenges and close calls, discovering new places, like a subterranean sea, and very old creatures and plants along the way. They get out of their mess in a thoroughly fantastic way, but then you have to suspend reason and disbelief for the whole book anyway so it doesn't much matter! Tape 2 squeaks in parts. (AC) PR2469 A6J68 1982 2 tapes
18. Tales from cultures far and near. Read by Jim Weiss. These are fun; you can hear an English version of ½Ñ¸¯«G in ªÅ«°p; though the reader has one foreign accent for all nationalities; it seems to work best in the Spanish story about the flea's hide tambourine. (AC) PZ8.1 T34z 1990 1 tape (60 min.).
19. Henry Williamson.Tarka the Otter. Read by Peter Ustinov; The Reluctant Dragon, by Kenneth Grahame, read by Michael Hordern; 2 cassettes. There are only two copies of the first tape of this set, so you won't hear the whole thing; Tarka the Otter is a lot of moderately engaging music, with harmonica in the forefront, and very little narration,. The story is very simple and without many surprises, but it is after all intended for kids. (AC) PR6045.I55 A6 1982 2 tapes (47 min.).
20. Johann Wyss. The Swiss Family Robinson. Penguin Readers, level 3; 1 cassette. The story is greatly simplified and shortened, and read slowly and clearly in RP. The storyline follows Robinson Crusoe very closely. A fun, light listen. (AC) PZ7.Q996 S84z 2000 1 tape.
Jeffery Archer. A Quiver Full of Arrows: "The Perfect Gentleman",
"One Night Stand", "Broken Routine", "Henry's Hiccup";
this former MP's a real wheeler-dealer; now serving a prison sentence for fraud;
there are technical glitches in some of the stories, such as repeated sections;
and most stories don't have much of an ending; yet "One Night Stand"
was reasonably interesting. (AC) PR6051.R28 Q5 1987 2 tapes (124 min.).
2. Chesterton, G. K. The Napoleon of Notting Hill. Read by Paul Scofield. Male, RP. Excellent reading and characterizations, some in dialect, of a very contrived and tedious story. I take the point of this piece to be that patriotism gets wrong-mindedly taken seriously by many of those who truly believe in it and fight for it, when it is used only 'as a joke' by the politicians who trot it out to attain their personal ends. My personal opinion: although there is lots of cleverness to be found in this piece, it is way too long; it took me weeks to finish listening to two tapes! (AC) PR4553 C4A6/1983 2 tapes
3. Joseph Conrad. Youth. (AC) PR6005.O4 Y6 1 tape (66 min.).
4. Joseph Conrad. Heart of Darkness. (AC) PR6005.O4 A6 1982 2 tapes (169 min.).
5. Theodor Dostoyevski. The Crocodile. (AC) PR6013.R44 V57 1 tape (42 min.).
6. Graham Greene. "Dream of a Strange Land". Read by Hugh Burden. 1 tape, both sides, 36 minutes; male reader, old-fashioned RP. 1981. London, Talking Tape Co. A retired doctor tells a patient with leprosy that he must get hospital treatment; the doctor cannot continue to treat him privately; it is the law. But then the same doctor reluctantly agrees to a different kind of bending of the letter of the law, which is discovered by the patient, and seriously disorients both doctor and patient. PR6013 R44D73 1 tape.
7. Graham Greene. "Cheap in August". A young woman bored with her marriage seeks adventure during a Caribbean holiday. She does finally find it towards the end of her stay, but it is not quite what she'd imagined. (AC) PR6013.R44 C43 1981 1 tape (60 min.).
8. Graham Greene. "A Visit to Morin". (AC) PR6013.R.44 V57 1 tape (42 min.).
9 . Thomas Hardy."The Fiddler of the Reels". (AC) PR4750 F52 1 tape (47 min.).
10. Thomas Hardy. "An Imaginative Woman". (AC) PR4750 I42 1 tape (57 min.)
11. Thomas Hardy. "Barbara of the House of Grebe". (AC) PR4750 B37 1 tape (77 min.).
12. Thomas Hardy. "The Withered Arm". Read by Paul Rogers. (AC) PR4750 W5ca.1 1 tape (52 min).
13. Thomas Hardy. "Fellow Townsmen", part I. Read by Jack Watling. (AC) PR4750 W5/ ca.2 1 tape (52 min.).
14. Nathaniel Hawthorne's Greatest Short Stories: "Young Goodman Brown", "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment", "Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe". (AC)PS1852 / L585 1 tape (67 min.)
15. Henry James. Daisy Miller, The Turn of the Screw.
16. Katherine Mansfield. The Garden Party; 2 cassettes, cover-to-cover; read by Dame Peggy Ashcroft; RP, female; (1) "The Daughters of the Late Colonel"; excellent, almost too rich to let slip by orally on tape; two sisters, whose mother died when they were very young, and who are now pushing middle age, must come to terms with their father's death, and with the choices they have made in their lives ¡V letting themselves be dominated by and looking after their father, hardly socializing, and not marrying. Side B (2) "Her First Ball" is just what the title suggests; (3) "The Singing Lesson" A music teacher's spirits fall and rise ¡V and she lets it show in her teaching ¡V with the vagaries of her love life. Good. (4) "The Stranger" A man awaits his wife's return by boat from a 10-month visit to their newly-married daughter. He is anxious to have her alone with him, and shows himself to be possessive and unsure of her love for him. The wife, Janey, tells of an incident on the ship that forever changes how the husband feels about Janey. It is hard to know whether the title refers to man on the ship that Janey had something to do with, or with Janey herself, in the eyes of her husband, after she has returned from Europe. Each of these stories is a study of minute emotions, and of the idea of finding fulfillment in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex. (AC) PR6025.A57 G3 2 tapes (83 min.).
17. W. Somerset Maugham. "Gigolo and Gigolette". Unusual subject matter. (AC) PR6025.A86 G5 1 tape (44 min.).
18. W. Somerset Maugham. "The Colonel's Lady". Unexpected twist. (AC) PR6025.A86 C6 1 tape (45 min.)
19. W. Somerset Maugham. "The Facts of Life", (AC) PR6025.A86 F3 1 tape (46 min)
20. W. Somerset Maugham. "Lord Mountdrago" (AC) PR6025.A86 L6 1 tape. (58 min.).
21. The Best of Saki: (1) "The Story Teller", "The Jesting of Arlington Stringham", "Sredni Vashtar", "The Unrest Cure", "Morlvera", "The Reticence of Lady Anne"; (2) "The She Wolf", "The Music on the Hill", "The Open Window", "The Stalled Ox", "The Forbidden Buzzards"; (3) "The Lull", "Gabriel Ernest", "Mrs. Packletide's Tiger", "The Story of St. Vespaluus"; (4) "The Byzantine Omelette", "The Woman Who Always Told the Truth", "The Interlopers", "Tobermory" ¡V about a talking cat ¡V my favorite of the lot (available online); "The Schartz-Metterklume Method"; (5) "The Romancers", "The Hounds of Fate", "The Mouse", "The Secret Sin of Septimus Brope"; (6) "The Brogue", "The Philanthropist and the Happy Cat", "Laura", "The Remoulding of Groby Lington", "The Lumber Room". (AC) PR6025.U675 B4 6 tapes (383 min.).
22. Saki: The Playboy of the Weekend World. Chosen and read by Emlyn Williams. BBC Study Tapes. Male, RP. Listen to this single cassette if you don't have time for the six-tape 'Best of Saki' set. Hear a representative sample of Saki and his mischief. The opening poem won't tell you what the H.H. in his real name stands for (the tape's title card will), but it will give one version, in verse, of why the author changed his name to 'Saki'. Stories included on this tape: "Reginald on House Parties"; "The Disappearance of Chrispina Umberleigh"; "Gabriel Ernest"; "Image of the Lost Soul" ¡V a nice story about outsiders;" The Lumber Room"; "Reginald on Christmas Presents"; "The Open Window"; "Laura"; "Sredni Vashtar"; "Birds on the Western Front" ¡V a scathing and rather moving piece on the devastation of war. (AC) PR6025.U675 M926 1 tape (57 min.).
23. Katherine Anne Porter. The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter. "The Cracked Looking-Glass". (AC) PS648.S5 P677z 1985 2 tapes (170 min.).
24. Anthony Trollope. Christmas Day at Kirkby Cottage. BBC Study Tapes. Female, RP. A trite and stereotypical Trollope love story with no depth, but worth a listen as a seasonal work or just for fun. Or use it to get a feel for Trollope's style. (AC) PN6071 C6T748 1 tape
25. Short Stories of Mark Twain (1835-1910). Humorous and entertaining. (AC) PS1302 Sh55 ca. 1.
26. Mark Twain Stories (1835-1910). Spoken Arts Library for Intermediate Listeners. (AC) PS1302 Sh55 ca.2
27. Ivan Turgenev. First Love. Great story. (AC) PG3421 F5 2 tapes (85 min.).
28. Herbert George Wells. The Time Machine. Mildly interesting science fiction; not really my kind of thing.
29. Edgar Wallace. The Mind of Mr. J. G. Reeder. These are stories of an amateur detective who irritates the police by solving cases they can't. (1) "The Poetical Policeman"; (2) "The Treasure Hunt"; (3) "The Troupe"; (4) "The Stealer of Marble". (AC) PR6045.A327 A6 1984 2 tapes (142 min.).
30. Edgar Wallace. Sheer Melodrama and Other Stories from the Mind of Mr. J. G. Reeder (1) "Sheer Melodrama"; (2) "The Green Mamba"; (3) "The Strange Case"; (4) "The Investors". (AC) PR6045.A327 A61 1984 2 tapes (143 min.).
31. Oscar Wilde. "Lord Arthur Savile's Crime". London Talking Tape, John Standing. Macabre, but enjoyable. (AC) PR5818 L6 1981 1 tape (71 min.).
32. Oscar Wilde. "The Canterville Ghost". London Talking Tape, John Standing. A classic; very entertaining, with fun imitations of US accents by a Brit. Available online (AC) PR5818 C3 1981 1 tape (68 min.).
33. P.G. Wodehouse. "Anselm gets his chance". Read by Timothy Carlton. London: The Talking Tape. Typical Wodehouse: wry British humour in high-flown language. Light and entertaining, though the language is relatively high-level. Decide for yourself after listening whether honesty is really the best policy! (AC) PR6045.O53 A57 1 tape (50 min.).
34. P.G. Wodehouse. "The Clicking of Cuthbert". Read by Timothy Carlton. London: The Talking Tape. 1980. Learn about the true value of golf ¡V and the consequences of following the crowd. (AC) PR6045.O53 C54 1 tape (42 min.).
35. P.G. Wodehouse. "Jeeves and the Yuletide Spirit". Read by Timothy Carlton. London: The Talking Tape. 1980. Jeeves always manages to set things up just as he wants them, including holidays in Monte Carlo. (AC) PR6045.O53 J43 1 tape (52 min.).
36. P.G. Wodehouse. "Mulliner's Buck U Uppo". Read by Timothy Carlton. London: The Talking Tape. 1980. A mousy Brit learns assertiveness, with a little help out of a bottle. (AC) PR6045.O53 M84 1 tape (44 min.).
37. P.G. Wodehouse. "Ukrdige's accident syndicate". Read by Timothy Carlton. London: The Talking Tape. 1980. Fine reading as usual by Timothy Carlton, who you'd swear was at least seven different people. A group of friends hatches a scheme to make some quick quid by having one of them have an accident, then collect on insurance that they bought by subscribing to several newspapers. Not the best of the Wodehouse tapes, but entertaining. (AC) PR6045.O53 U37 1 tape (52 min.).
38. P.G. Wodehouse. "Lord Emsworth and the Girlfriend". Read by Timothy Carlton. London: The Talking Tape. 1980. Another henpecked British aristocrat asserts himself and ends up the happier for it. (AC) PR6045.O53 L67 1 tape (48 min.).
Short stories, collections
American Short Stories in Regular English (VOA): These are locked away
in cabinets in the back of the library, so you will have to make a special request
if you want them. "Thou Art the Man", Edgar Allan Poe; "The Ledge",
Lawrence Sargent Hall; "The Only Rose", Sarah Orne Jewett; "There
Ought to be a Law", Emily Johnson; "Diamond Lens", James O'Brien;
"Tennessee's Partner", Bret Harte; "The Four Guardians of Lagrange",
Bret Harte; "Uncle Jim and Uncle Billy", Bret Harte; "Young Man
Axelbrod", Sinclair Lewis; "The Golden Key", James Street; "The
Legend of Sleepy Hollow", Washington Irving; "Country Doctor",
Don Marquis; "The Split Cherry Tree", Jessy Stuart; "The Devil
and Daniel Webster", Stephen Benet; "The Peach Stone", Paul Hargan;
"All on a Winter's Night", Austen Strong; "The Indian Well",
Walter Van Tiber Clark; "The Blue Hotel", Stephen Crane; "The Tell-Tale
Heart", Edgar Allan Poe; "Summer is Another Country", Christina
Westin; "Miss Tapet's Watchers", Sarah Hotne; "Old Bill",
Jay Frank Boby; "Life and Death of a Western Gladiator", Charles G.
Filley; "Footnote to American History", Roderick Lowell; "The Murders
in Rue Morgue", Edgar Allen Poe; "A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud". Carson
McCullers. This last one is my very favorite of this series ¡V a lovely story about
learning how to love. PS648.S5 Un3v
2. The D'Aulaire's book of Greek myths. By Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire. New York: Airplay, Inc. 1996. 4 cassettes: (1) a. Introduction, the Titans, Zeus and his family, In the gleaming halls, Hera, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Ares, Athena, b. Poseidon, Apollo, Artemis, Orion, Hermes, Hades, Persephone, Demeter; (2) a. Dionysus, Minor gods, Prometheus, Pandora, Deucalion, Eos, Helios & Phaethon, Selene, Pan. b. Echo, Syrinx, the Centaurs, Asclepius, the nine muses, Propheus, the muses, Europa and Cadmus, Tantalus and Pelops. (3) a. Danaus, Perseus and the Gorgon, Clever and vainglorious kings, King Midas, Sisyphus, Bellerophon, Melampus. b. Heracles, Theseus. (4) a. Theseus, Oedipus, the Golden Fleece. b. the Golden Fleece, Calydonian, Boar Hunt, the Apple of Discord, Everything must come to an end. (AC) BL304 D385z 1996 4 tapes (4 hrs.).
3. Bring Me the Head of Anne Boleyn: Historical Mysteries. "No Room at the Inn"; "Busted Blossoms"; "Bring Me the Head of Anne Boleyn"; "The Blackmailer"; "The Poison Peach"; O. Henry: "The Ransom of Red Chief"; "The Sun-Dog Trail" Jack London "The Dancing Bear" "A Black Death" "Tom Chist and the Treasure Box" "The Hudson Chain". (AC) PN3448.D4 B74z 1999 4 tapes (6 hrs.).
4. Great American Stories. (AC) PS648.S5 G743z 1994 4 tapes (330 min.).
5. Great American writers: Side A. I, Voluptuary, by Peter DeVries. The father of a boy caught fooling around with someone's daughter gets him off the hook by a clever reversal of the 'double standard'; Back Home in 1919, by John Dos Pasos; Side B: The Misfits, by Arthur Miller; two wild horse catchers eke out a living at their calling. (AC) PS648.S5 G75z 1988 6 tapes (7 hrs., 20 min.).
6. Heroes, gods and monsters of the Greek myths. Written by Bernard Evslin, read by Julie Harris and Richard Kiley. These tapes cover about the same ground as the D'Aulaire's tapes (above), but you get rather different versions of lots of the stories, so it's worthwhile to listen to both sets ¡V that will help reinforce the stories in your mind, too. Nicely read by noted actors, though Kiley is a bit overdramatic in parts, in my opinion. Tape One, Side One: Zeus, Hera, Hades, Demeter, Birth of the Twins; Side Two: Athene, Poseidon, Hephaestus, Aphrodite. Tape Two, Side One: Artemis, Apollo, Sons of Apollo, Aphrodite; Side Two: The Story of Phaethon. (AC) BL781 Ev78 part 1 (volume 1, 2) 2 tapes.
7. 21 unabridged stories. Langston Hughes, "On the Road"; a homeless black man has trouble finding a place to eat and sleep; F. Scott Fitzgerald, "An Author's Mother"; describes how the mother sees her son, the writer, and her death; Jack Kerouac, "Ronnie on the Mound"; a good pick if you want to learn how to talk and write about baseball; James Jones, "The Tennis Game"; an imaginative and touching reconstruction of a child's fantasy play life.
Essays, diaries, humour
An Informal Hour with J. B. Priestley (1894- ). Spoken Arts Library for
Intermediate Listeners. Selections from Priestley's renowned "Delight"
collection of essays. Personal favorite: delight in hearing a symphony orchestra
tuning up. (AC) GR109 / D653 1 tape (49 min.).
2. Samuel Pepys. People past & present: Samuel Pepys. The diaries. Argo. 1971. Entertaining and illuminating excerpts from Pepys' famous diaries; includes lots of lute songs from Pepys' time. Nice details about the average day in the life of a 17th century English public servant, his marriage, his relationship with his employer, his social life, what he ate and drank. (AC) PR3618.P2 C236 1 tape (34 min.).
3. Mark Twain's library of humor. Chosen by Mark Twain. 3 cassettes. 1996. These tapes offer a selection of humorous essays supposedly chosen by Mark Twain; a couple are by him as well. All are more or less in a Twainian style. I found most entertaining (tape 1) "How We Astonished the Rivermouthians'. Twain's Abelard and Heloise was an interesting take on a love story that has captured imaginations for centuries. (2) I was impatient with more ditzy female stereotypes in Bailey's "The Female Base Ball Nine", which described the total incompetence of a group of women at playing baseball, how they worry more about their hair than anything else, and how they ultimately give up something they obviously hadn't seriously tried to learn well in the first place. What is the point of writing like this? To prove that men are better at sports and take it more seriously? Another ditzy female, a wife this time, is featured in Twain's "The Experience of the McWilliamses with Membranous Croup". "Plumbers" was tedious. Twain's "European Diet" lists a lot of heavy unhealthy food, but it certainly offers a glimpse into what foods were eaten in America in the late 19th/early 20th century, and what hotel service was like in Europe. The Tar Baby (also on (4)) was better, with good dialect readings. My favorite on this tape was Sam Davis' "The First Piano in a Mining Camp" ¡V this is an O. Henry-type story with a surprise ending, and warm descriptions about how music can touch people's souls. (3) The first two pieces on this volume are not humor but a thoughtful and realistic examination of developing romance. Well worth listening to. These are probably my favorite pieces in the whole series, in fact, together with a delightful story of late love, entitled "Captain Ben's Choice". It's read in dialectish speech in parts, but shouldn't be too difficult for an advanced ESL learner to follow. Touching surprise ending. You could just as well skip "Fourth of July Oration", unless you need an example of an inane speech for some reason; and I found "The Parson's Race" and "Wrecked in Port" quite forgettable. Tape (4) is a collection of essays that try very hard to be funny, but in my view fall quite flat. The piece I liked least was Katherine Kent Child Walker's "The Total Depravity of Inanimate Things"; I found it pompous and empty of worthwhile content. The others I feel are pretty much skippable as well. There are other good tapes in the library to choose from. (AC) PS507 M37z 1996 4 tapes (6 hrs.).
4. James Thurber. James Thurber's My world ¡V and welcome to it. 4 cassettes. Read by John Cullum. Audio Partners. Nasal American English, but a good reading. Some of these essays are sure to make you laugh!
(I) 1. What do you mean it "was" brillig? Linguistically interesting piece on modern malapropisms, i.e. phonetically close but wrong words, purportedly used by Thurber's black cook Della, e.g. reeve for wreath, Armitage for armistice. 2. Courtship through the ages. Thurber bemoans the arduous process of courting females that must be conducted and endured by the male of many species. 3. The Whip-poor-will. The strident call of a bird prevents the narrator from sleeping and nearly drives him mad while it doesn't seem to bother anyone else. 4. The Macbeth Murder Mystery. A woman buys a copy of Macbeth by mistake and attempts to explicate it like an Agatha Christie novel. The narrator makes an inconsistent attempt at a British accent; parts sound good. 5. The Preoccupation of Mr. Peffifoss. A silly satire on hard-to-remember changed phone numbers.
(II) 1. Backward and downward with Mr. Punch. Comments on old Punch magazines, i.e. on what used to be considered humorous. Interesting notes on early uses of expressions like 'to be nuts for s.t.' 2. The man who hated Moonbaum. I didn't enjoy this much, even once I was able to follow it. It had to do with developing a story for a movie. 3. Death in the zoo. A polar bear's woman troubles. 4. The secret life of Walter Mitty. Thurber at his best ¡V a favorite of my father's that he introduced me to when I was a kid. A classic on the refuge in fantasy of henpecked husbands, and anyone else.
(III) 1. The gentleman in 916. A satire on the little phantoms we all experience in life. 2. A good man. A revised obituary on a deceased relative with nearly superhuman physical prowess and a hot temper but a purportedly kind heart. 3. The letters of James Thurber. A piece on how boring anybody's collected correspondence is. 4. A friend to Alexander. A wife tries to help and calm her husband when he is tormented by recurring dreams that someone is going to kill him ¡V and it eventually does happen. 5. The vengeance of 3902090. Silliness about government bureaucracy. 6. The story of sailing. Satire on how complicated sailing and its terminology has become.
(IV) 1. Here lies Miss Groby. A complaining remembrance of a high school English teacher more into identifying metaphors and metonymy than getting the sense of the whole novel or poem; 2. A sort of genius. A long story about a murder case, which ends up being about the man who wasn't convicted in the case. It's more interesting if you imagine it as a true story. 3. Helpful hints and the Hoveys. Silliness about advise on how to relax and sleep better and the extremes these 'hints' could be carried to. 4. Memorial. To Thurber's dear departed poodle. (AC) PS3539.H94 M95z 1998 4 tapes (4 hrs., 34 min.).
Drama/plays and one-person performances
Brief Lives. With Roy Dotrice as John Aubrey. Favorite story: "The
forgotten fart". Decca; (AC) PN2598 A937 2 tapes (115 min.).
2. Samuel Beckett. Krapp's Last Tape. Very Beckett, quite repetitive and depressing. (AC) PR6003.E282 K7 1 tape (60 min.).
3. Vinie Burrows in Walk Together Children ¡V the Black Scene in Prose, Poetry and Song. Touching collection of literature and song on the black experience in America. Articulate, informative, moving ¡V good singing, excellent readings of poetry and storytelling, with some black dialect. Speech by Sojourner Truth on women's and black rights; Robert Hayden, "Runagate Runagate"; poem about soul food (including 'possum) and dance by Paul Laurence Dunbar: "The Party"; Carl Wendell Hines: "Jazz Poem"; Dudley Randall, Richard Wright, "Between the World and Me"; Langston Hughes "Let American be America Again". Recommended. (AC) PS310.N4 V76 1 tape (52 min.).
4. Noel Coward. Present Laughter. Very fast-talking, witty, humorous and perhaps quite realistic drama on relationships. (AC) PR6005.O85 P7 1 tape (85 min.).
5. Sir John Gielgud in his greatest roles, introduced by Sir Ralph Richardson. BBC cassettes. Enjoyable history of John Gielgud as an actor, with many examples of his best work. (AC) PN1689 S57 1 tape (56 min).
6. Oliver Goldsmith. She Stoops to Conquer. Classic Restoration drama. (AC) PR3488 A2 2 tapes (98 min.).
7. Henrik Ibsen. A Doll's House. Directed by Hillard Elkins. 2 cassettes. NewYork: Caedmon. 2 hours. 1971. The script sounds very much like a translation and the dialogue feels artificial, but once the play gets to the point, that of deception, self-suppression, morals, and self-realization, it seems to go much more smoothly. The similarity between the final scene of this play and the beginning of the film Kramer vs. Kramer is so uncanny as to suggest that the scriptwriter of Kramer must have been somewhat influenced by Ibsen. Overall I found this performance enjoyable and thought-provoking. (AC) PT8861 E44 2 tapes (117 min.).
8. Christopher Marlowe. Edward II. The Prospect Theatre Company. Directed by Toby Robertson. Ian McKellan, Timothy West, Diane Fletcher, James Laurenson. I can't say I really enjoyed this it contained more violence than I could easily stomach. And the action in the first part moves slowly, centering mainly on how the hopelessly incompetent Edward II (1284-1327) showers love and attention on his homosexual lover, Piers de Gaveston, while ignoring almost everything else. Expressions of the hate nearly everyone harbors for the unworthy favorite get very repetitive. And at the end you will hear a very convincing enactment of a 14th century king being tortured to death, after which his assassin is murdered. The action moves more quickly at this point; the underage and originally timid Edward III resolves to take matters into his own hands by having Mortimer, his mother's lover and plotter against his father, executed, and his mother imprisoned in the Tower of London. The performance is excellent, and after looking up some background information on Edward II, I found the play does seem to follow actual events fairly closely, though the manner of Edward's murder seems to be portrayed a bit differently in the play from what I read elsewhere. But the historical value of the play reconciled me a bit more to it. PR2665 A35 1983 2 tapes
9. Arthur Miller. The Crucible. Performed by The Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center, directed by Jules Irving, directed by John Berry. Caedmon tapes. A powerful performance that may make you squirm. It is the story of a witch hunt in Salem, Massachusetts, but in fact exposes the devastating abuses of the McCarthy era in the US. It is also a story of power struggle in a broader sense. It took me 1-1/2 listenings to get the characters well sorted out. The second time around it sounded more like well-structured literary drama rather than lots of hysterical screaming and ravings, even though I'd read and seen the play performed before. No wonder it's a classic. Old tapes. (AC) PS3525.I5156 C78 4 tapes (141 min.).
10. Arthur Miller. The Death of a Salesman. 2 cassettes. 2 hr., 30 min. Audio Theatre. Directed by Ulu Grosbard. Lee J. Cobb: Willy; Mildred Dunnock: Linda; Michael Tolan: Biff; Gene Williams: Happy; Ralph Bell: Charley; Royal Beal: Uncle Ben; Dustin Hoffman is entertaining as Bernard ¡V he goes from a tattle-tale kid to a successful young man, and does better on the latter. Listening to Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams plays reminds you why they are performed and watched so often ¡V they all play hardball with your emotions. This is a dazzling performance bound to leave you pensive and melancholy for a good while. The music is well chosen. Unfortunately, the sound quality isn't that wonderful ¡V the volume goes up and down quite a bit. But it's something every English major should listen to. (AC) PS3525.I5156 D4 1987 2 tapes (2 hrs., 30 min).
11. Eugene O'Neill. Ah, Wilderness! 3 cassettes. Circle in the Square. If you're bracing yourself for yet another heavy and depressing play from O'Neill, you can breathe a sigh of relief with this one. This is O'Neill's one comedy, albeit one with substance; it's mainly about his own coming of age. Good acting. I enjoyed it. Tommy Miller: Frank Coleman IV; Mildred Miller: Lucy Saroyan; Arthur Miller: Alex Wipf; Essie Miller: Geraldine Fitzgerald; Lily Miller: Laurinda Barrett; Sid Davis: Stefan Gierasch; Richard Miller: Tony Schwab; Muriel McComber: Belle: Peggy Pope; Brenda Currin. (AC) PS3529.N5 A7 3 tapes (132 min.).
12. Eugene O'Neill. The Emperor Jones. A surprising and powerful piece, with James Earl Jones playing a black ex-con who dupes the villagers of a Caribbean island into accepting him as their emperor, but only temporarily. The play concludes on side B and is followed by a discussion between the actors and director regarding the play and its production. (AC) PS3529.N5 A6 2 tapes (93 min.).
13. Eugene O'Neill. Mourning Becomes Electra. 4 cassettes. The American Shakespeare Festival Theatre. Jane Alexander, Lee Richardson, Peter Thompson, Sada Thompson, directed by Michael Kahn. PS3529 N5M6. This is long and heavy, full of deception, adultery, emotional incest, murder, and suicide. There's lots in it, though, for example an examination of some of the dysfunctional ways people go about trying to get love, or even the hope of it. The acting is quite good; I especially liked Peter Thompson's portrayal of Orin. The action did bog down a bit at the end, after so much repetition and the resulting predictability. It is somewhat difficult to really care what happens to members of a family that is so rotten to the core, but O'Neill somehow manages to win audience sympathy, or at least curiosity as to the fate of the characters. (AC) PS3529.N5 M6 4 tapes (168 min.).
14. Terrence Rattigan. The Winslow Boy. Did he do it or not?
15. George Bernard Shaw. Major Barbara. RP. 1972. Barbara is a 'major' in the Salvation Army, and is out to feed the poor and save souls until idealism collides with unpalatable reality, and the latter wins hands down. Interesting plot, witty repartee, good acting. (AC) PR5363 M3 1972 4 tapes.
16. George Bernard Shaw. Saint Joan. 1966, directed by Shirley Butler.
17. George Bernard Shaw. Arms and the Man, a play in three acts. Excellent; highly entertaining, humorous, insightful. (AC) PR5364 A75 1 tape (80 min.).
18. Richard Brinsley Sheridan. The Rivals. 2 cassettes, Caedmon Records, 1960 Directed by Howard Sackler. Cast: Alan Bates (Fag), Vanessa Redgrave (Julia); Dame Edith Evans (Mrs. Malaprop), Pamela Brown (Lydia), Micheal MacLiammoir (Lucias O'Trigger) and (Joe Acres); James Donald (Captain Absolute), Sir Anthony Absolute (John Laurie); Robert Eddison (Faulkland); Laurence Hardy (Thomas); Pauline Jamieson (Judy); Gerald James (David); Alec McCowen (Joe Acres). Exquisite performance, though I didn't find all the accents that convincing. (AC) PR3682 R5 1963 2 tapes (122 min.).
19. Tom Stoppard. Artist Descending a Staircase. (AC) PR6069.T6 St73 1 tape (73 min.) .
20. Tom Stoppard. Professional Foul and Stoppard interviewed and Where are they now? (2 cassettes) The events and dialogue in Professional Foul are the most realistic I've run into among Stoppard plays so far; the story is about philosophical ideals, social and personal morals, and political oppression in East Europe before the fall of Communism there. The interview with Stoppard is revealing ¡V he was Czech, but went to England for his education at a young age. He considers himself more English than most English people, and he is remarkably articulate in English; yet he speaks with a slight Czech accent; tape 2 side B is Where are they now?, a play about a class reunion that brings out the darker side of schoolboy life, how schools can suffocate young people. There's a nice bit on how a French teacher succeeds in making the students too afraid of French to like the subject or to learn it properly. I guess this piece along with Professional Foul are my favorite Stoppard. (AC) PR6069.T6 P7 2 tapes.
21. Tom Stoppard. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. The play that, according to one description, makes the audience members think they are very clever. (AC) PR6069.T6 R6 2 tapes (105 min.).
22. Tom Stoppard. The Dog it was that Died; The Dissolution of Dominic Boot. 1984. Neither of these is up to Rosencrantz; Dog tries to confuse you with the mechanics of being a double agent; this play is full of cynicism about how people treat each other. Boot is about a man who makes one poor decision (taking a taxi in the rain when he doesn't have enough money to pay for it) and how it snowballs and gets totally out of hand. Both are farces I didn't much enjoy. (AC) PR6069 T6 1984 1 tape (79 min.).
23. John Willington Synge. The Playboy of the Western World.
24. Fredd Wayne. Benjamin Franklin, Citizen. A very human and comprehensive look at this remarkable man. (AC) E302.6.F8 W385z 1995 1 tape.
25. John Webster. The Duchess of Malfi. Well done but gruesome. Gratuitous violence. (AC) PR3184 D3 1980 3 tapes (150 min.).
26. Emlyn Williams as Charles Dickens. A solo performance of scenes from the novels and stories by the Welsh writer, director, performer; previously performed on Broadway. Quite enjoyable, but I feel Williams overdramatizes quite a bit; not all his characterizations are equally successful. But this is still good and worth listening to. Selections from The Pickwick Papers, Christmas Stories, A Tale of Two Cities, more. (AC) PR4553 W67 2 tapes
27. Tennessee Williams. The Glass Menagerie. 2 cassettes. Caedmon. Directed by Howard Sackler. Montgomery Clift, Jessica Tandy, Julie Harris, David Wayne. Fine performance of a tender and moving play. Tape is old and badly deteriorated; squeaks and clogs magnetic head. (AC) PS3545.I5365 G5 2 tapes (110 min.).
28. Tennessee Williams. A Streetcar Named Desire. 3 cassettes. Caedmon. Lincoln Center Repertory Theater Production Company. Directed by Ellis Rabb. Produced by Jules Irving. Rosemary Harris, James Farentino. I found Blanche's (Rosemary Harris) accent inconsistent and unconvincing, and her part overacted, and Stella's (Patricia Conolly) interpretation a bit so-so; Stanley (James Farentino) had a totally natural brash New York City accent and manner, but it seemed more modern than the southern characters, who sounded like they were from an earlier age. The collector (Brian Brownlee) was just right, and Harold Mitchell (Mitch; Philip Bosco) was good too. This play is bizarre, powerful, human (if not always realistic especially as regards dialogue) and cuts to the quick. (AC) PS3545.I5365 S7 3 tapes (134 min.).
William Shakespeare. The Tempest. Discussion, readings from Act I, scene
ii. David Daiches, L. D. Knights. (AC) PR2833 D38 1 tape.
2. William Shakespeare. Julius Caesar. Spoken Arts Library for Intermediate Listeners. Dublin Gate Theatre Production with Hilton Edwards and Micheal MacLammoir. Abridged ¡V not simplified ¡V from original. (AC) PR2808.A2 Ed96 1 tape (55 min.).
3. William Shakespeare. Antony and Cleopatra. This is one of the easier plays to follow on tape. (AC) PR2802.A2 W694 4 tapes (185 min.).
Dannie Abse. Canto Modern Poets. Canto Publications. Male, RP. Charming
poems and prose-poems read by Welsh poet and doctor Dannie Abse ['æb
si] (1923- ), apparently live from an actual poetry reading. My favorite
is an allegorical one about 'losing one's face'. Side B ends with an engaging
interview with the poet. (AC) PR6001 C4A17 1 tape
2. Beowulf and Selections from the Canterbury Tales; Spoken Arts; read by Nevil Coghill & Norman Davis. Excellent introduction to Old and Middle English poetry. It covers the sounds of Old and Middle English, explains the rhyme and prosody of the two representative works, and gives very good sample readings of each in the original language. Also worked very well for the high school English lit class I taught 2002-3. (AC) PR1583 C393 1 tape (58 min.).
3. John Betjeman reads John Betjeman (tape damaged, couldn't finish it)
4. John Betjeman. Late Flowering Love. Light, humorous, insightful poems. (AC) PR6003.E77 L37 1 tape (84 min.).
5. George Gordon Noel Byron. Don Juan. BBC study tapes. 3 cassettes; abridged by Martin Remes. Remes does full justice to the poem, bringing out Byron's brilliance and wry wit. Easily understandable; it sounds almost like doggerel. Action-packed and fast-moving, with world-wise asides on human nature and life in this world. Highly recommended. (AC) PR4359 A37 3 tapes (182 min.).
6. Geoffrey Chaucer. "The Franklin's Tale". Read by Karl Schmidt. (AC) PR1868 C366 1 tape (60 min.).
7. Geoffrey Chaucer. The Canterbury Tales: "The Prologue and The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale". Read in Middle English. Decca. This 2-tape set was an excellent reading in Middle English of just the parts of Chaucer's work that I covered in a History of English lit class I taught to high school girls. You actually start to understand Middle English (as rendered by modern readers) after a while. And there are a number of different readers who serve to dramatize the tale nicely. Recommended. (AC) PR1867 C367 2 tapes (163 min.).
8. Geoffrey Chaucer. Troilus and Criseyde. Read in Middle English. Gary Watson, Prunella Scales, Richard Marquand, Derek Brewer, Peter Orr. Argo. This is a beautiful, confident, fluent, and convincing reading in Middle English. I knew the story beforehand, and so was able to follow the reading in a general way, but it was difficult. I mostly found myself understanding snatches here and there rather than a coherent narrative, somewhat how I might understand running spoken Taiwanese! The poem is nicely dramatized by several different, and equally skilled, readers. Their expressiveness moved me in parts even when I couldn't understand all the words. Knowing a few equivalents of modern to Middle English pronunciation helps, e.g. the gh in words like night is pronounced as a velar fricative; ou is [u], and so on. An enjoyable listening experience that can help connect a modern reader with earlier literature and times. (AC) PR1895 T76 2 tapes.
9. Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The Ancient mariner and other poems. Read by Richard Burton. Male, RP. 1982. London: Decca. Magnificent reading by Richard Burton. It's easy to get emotionally caught up in this reading even if you don't follow all the words! If Burton is really the only reader I am amzed at his many voices. The slipcover is missing so there's no list of poems read, but the Amazon site lists these: "Kubla Khan," "Christabel," 20 other sonnets, lyrics, odes: "Sonnet: To a Friend who asked how I felt when the Nurse first presented my Infant to me," "Frost at Midnight," "The Nightingale," "The Pains of Sleep," "To William Wordsworth," "Youth and Age," many more. Additional information on this recording is available here. (AC) PR4478 C275 2 tapes
10. John Dryden, read by William Devlin, Freda Dowie, David King, Richard Pasco. From "Absalom and Achitophel", From "MacFlecknoe", "To the Memory of Mr. Oldham", and many others. Dryden is not a genius, but he's very witty in places, with some good insights. This requires concentration to follow, but it's not as difficult as I imagined to follow just by listening.
11. The Poetry of John Dryden by John Dryden; directed by Howard D. Sacklers; read by Paul Scofield; song: The Zambre Dance (fun!), Prologue from An Evening's Love; Epilogue to the Man of Mode; To the Memory of Mr. Oldham; Song: I feed a flame within; Song: Whilst Alexis Lay Press'd; Alexander's Feats, or, The power of music; An Ode in Honor of St. Cecilia's Day; long reading from Absalom and Achitophel; this is a longer selection than on the other tape; it is full of incisive commentary on politics and politicians; I'm not generally fond of long poems, but this is a very fine one.
12. T. S. Eliot. Murder in the Cathedral. 2 cassettes; on 1170 martyrdom of Thomas à Becket; impressive performance of declaiming and singing, but not enthralling. (AC) PS3509.L43 A6 2 tapes (115 min.).
13. Jeremy Hooker. Canto Modern Poets. Male, RP. Hooker's poems are interesting, but much more difficult to follow than Frances Horowitz's. His explanations are clear and helpful, but you have to listen closely to the poems themselves, replay them several times, and do a lot of thinking to get at what he seems to be saying. (AC) PR6058.O70 A17 1 tape (58 min.).
14. Four Modern Poets: T. S. Eliot "Prelude"; W. H. Auden "The Shield of Achilles"; W. B. Yeats "Lapis Lazuli"; Wallace Stevens "Of Heaven Considered as a Tomb". Laurence Lerner. Sussex 1972. Background on four poets and poems; brings with it an approach to reading, understanding and analyzing poetry. (AC) PR67 L47 1 tape.
15. Four Poets of the 20th Century: T. S. Eliot, David Jones, Robert Graves, Philip Larkin. Cassette 1: Side A: T. S. Eliot reads "Cats"; both the poems and the reading are delightful. Side B: David Jones has the vocabulary of a Spenser and uses allusions like Milton ¡V and I find him quite hard to understand and uninteresting. His paintings and drawings appealed to me more than his poems. Cassette 2: Side A: Robert Graves is interesting and rhythmic at times; Side B: Philip Larkin has a bit of a smart-alec voice, though not irritatingly so, and he uses sometimes rough language for effect; his poems are mostly thoughtful and enjoyable to listen to. (AC) PR1173 F687 2 tapes (169 min.).
16. Four 20th Century Poets: Louis MacNeice, C. Day Lewis, Stephen Spender, W. H. Auden reading their own works. The Poet Speaks. Cassette 1. MacNeice was new for me, and I enjoyed his works a lot, especially the singsongey ones that poke fun at things like bagpipe music (he himself was Irish). It's almost always a surprise when he stops reading since he generally ends with a rising intonation. I liked the other tape of C. D. Lewis better than this one; some pieces were OK; and the little narrations between some of the poems I often found more engaging than the poems themselves. The poems struck me as a bit pompous and lacking a shattering quality on this reading. I didn't much like Stephen Spender. I enjoyed hearing what W. H. Auden actually sounded like ¡V he has short a's, but I can't tell if his accent is northern English or US-influenced. Auden can get tedious at times but his good poems are very good. (AC) PR1173 F688 2 tapes (177 min.).
17. Frances Horovitz. Canto Modern Poets. Engaging poems about places and objects; she has some moving poems about her relationship with her father and his death. She gives explanations of each poem before reading it. Horovitz reads her poems in beautiful RP ¡V it shows that she trained to be an actress. Sad that she succumbed to cancer at age 45. (AC) PR6058.O69 A17 1 tape (55 min.).
18. C. Day Lewis Reads a Selection of his Poems. The Talking Tape, London. 1981. 1 cassette. Engaging poems that remind me a bit of John Betjeman; live reading with lots of audience noise, especially coughing; sound quality not wonderful but reading is clear; some poems about memories of the home of the poet's childhood, the aunt that brought him up and her subsequent senility. (AC) PR6007.A95 A17 1 tape (49 min.).
19. On Ludgate Hill: The Poetry People. With John Pine, Maria Perry, Haydn Davies, Constance Heaven, Kay Clayton, Dallas Cavell, Oliver Cox. Blurb on the label: It is 1674 ¡V eight years after the Great Fire of London and before the rebuilding of St. Paul's. We invite you to the home of an ordinary London family. They live on Ludgate Hill, a vantage point from which The Poetry People peep into their household. As they pray, make love, throw parties, argue about language and taste the bawdy thrills of Restoration Theatre, their whole life is distilled from the verse of the period.
Fun collection of often bawdy poems read in a lively, conversational way, with lots of background sounds to transport you to Restoration England. Lovely lute and other music too, and interesting reminiscences of the Great Fire of London from Pepys' diary. Featured poets and writers: Ben Jonson, Michael Drayton, Edmund Waller, Sir John Beaumont, Robert Herrick, Thomas Carew, Francis Quarles, William Cartwrigtht, Robert Heath, Henry Vaughan, John Dryden, Samuel Pepys, William Shakespeare, Richard Crashaw, John Milton, John Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, George Wither, John Wilmot, Thomas Randolph, Richard Corbet, Sir Charles Sedley. The tape got eaten up by the player a bit ¡V be careful. (AC) PN6101 O5 1 tape (62 min.).
20. Excerpts from The Faerie Queene and Epithalamion, Edmund Spenser. Read by Michael MacMiammoir. One cassette. Didn't follow it much, but definitely got a feel for the works rendered in a dramatic, Scottish-accented reading.
21. Take My Youth, by Robert Hardy and Martin Jarvis; London: The Talking Tape. 1982. 42 minutes. An anthology of poetry from "The Great War". Excellent war poetry. They don't read the titles or poets' names, or provide them on the case insert (it's not in the original case), and I couldn't find them online either, so you're on your own. Some are familiar, like Yeats' "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death" and Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et decorum est", Canadian poet John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields"; also Rupert Brooke, Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, and Vera Brittain. Read in a variety of UK accents. (AC) PR6015.A72 T34 1 tape (42 min.).
22. Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) BBC Study Tapes. Includes background on his life, a song from Under Milk Wood, and lots of readings of his poems and poetry. Male, UK. (AC) PR6039.H52 F417 1 tape (57 min.).
23. Dylan Thomas. Under Milk Wood. Get a feel for Dylan Thomas with this dramatic reading. (AC) PR6039.H52 U5 2 tapes (90 min.).
Discussions on authors, works and genres
Frank C. Baxter. The Nature of Poetry. This is a good introduction to
what poetry is, with several examples. He makes a minor error in one place,
and there is something slightly irritating about his voice and tone. Yet it
is a well-thought out and very accessible introduction to poetry ¡V a literary
form that takes the reader only 5/8 of the way. (AC) PS1079 B334 1 tape (51
2. Emily Bronte. Miriam Allot, Barbara Hardy. Sussex discussion tape. 1975. Wuthering Heights: Morality and technique; Natural and supernatural. Devizes: 1 cassette, 2 sides.
3. Chaucer and the Difficulty of Medieval Poetry; E. Salter, Derek Pearsall (Chaucer: Problems and Rewards; The Realism of Chaucer) (AC) PR1940 S24 1 tape.
4. James Fenimore Cooper. Sussex discussion tape. Quentin Anderson, James Grossman. A. The Growth of a Novelist. B. Editor's note. I found this tape worthwhile for the background it gave on Cooper and his works, but it did drag a bit for me. (AC) PS1438 A52 1 tape.
5. Crane and James. Sussex discussion tape. George Monteiro, Robert Stamman. 1973. Monteiro fumbles for words, stutters, interrupts and explodes with bursts of points he wants to make. The content is OK, not the deepest, but the discourse style is quite distracting. There is lots of interesting information on Stephen Crane and his writing that was new to me. (AC) PS1449.C85 M65 1 tape.
6. Daniel Defoe. Sussex discussion tape. Colin Brooks (Male, RP), Angus Ross (Male, Scottish English).1975. Side A: Versatility and Imagination. Side B: Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders. This is probably my favorite of all the Sussex discussion tapes so far. Robinson Crusoe really captured my imagination as a child, and it was revealing to learn more about its author. A comparison is made between Robinson Crusoe and the real-life account of Alexander Selkirk. Ross calls Defoe's writing 'slipshod', but full of 'carefully worked-out patterns and method'. Nice quote on Moll Flanders from Pepys's diary at the end. A good sample of Scottish English. (AC) PR3406 B76 1 tape
7. Dickens. Sussex Discussion tape. Angus Wilson and A.E. Dyson. 1971. 1. Dickens and Society; 2. Dickens and the novel. Overall interesting discussion of Dickens and his work, his Christianity and morality, his humor, his depth. The accents and speaking styles of the two discussants are even more notable than the content, though, I found. If you want a model for a hyperposh British accent with a bit of a lisp, and someone speaking at lightning speed who often interrupts his partner, try this tape. (AC) PR4588 W54 1 tape.
8. T. S. Eliot. Sussex discussion tape. A. D. Moody and Alan Sinfield conduct a relatively interesting discussion of Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral on side A, and The Family Reunion and The Cocktail Party on side B. The tape is old and squeaky and you'll probably need to clean the magnetic head of your machine after listening to this.
9. Fiction in the twenties. Sussex discussion tape. Alfred Lazom, Bob Lucid. Side A: The lost generation: Ernest Hemingway; side B: The American dream: F. Scott Fitzgerald. These two discussions are illuminating pictures of the burst of creativity in the 1920s, and about two great American novelists. Holds interest; recommended. (AC) PS379 K39 1 tape.
10. Henry Fielding. Sussex discussion tape. Colin brooks (Male, RP), Angus Ross (Male, Scotthish English). 1975. These are the same two who discuss Daniel Defoe (above). The discussion of Fielding's life and Tom Jones is enlightening, but I got the feeling they like Defoe better; or maybe it's just that I do. There is too often someone who 'just can't help it' and goes to bed with someone else casually in Fielding's books, and while it may be realistic, I find it tiring and hard to identify with. (AC) PR3456 B76 1 tape.
11. E. M. Forster. Sussex discussion tape. Side A: general discussion of the man and his work; side B: discussion of Howard's End and A Passage to India. Arnold Kettle, Richard Hoggart; 1975. So Forster was gay too. Forster's place in literary history: 19th century liberalism, or 20th century innovation? (AC) PR6011.O58 K46 1 tape.
12. Albert Schweitzer, Goethe: His personality and work. (83 min.) Audio-forum sound seminars. Jeffrey Norton. This is an amazing historical recording from 1949 by Albert Schweitzer himself in his rustic-sounding (to me) native Alsatian German, with consecutive translation into English. The sound quality is scratchy and the words are not always easily understandable, but it is worth bearing with. The talk offers a sympathetic look at Goethe the man, his scientific studies, his philosophy, his religion, and of course his poetry and other writing. (AC) PT2054 S38 1 tape (83 min.).
13. William Golding: discussion by Bernard Bergonzi, J. S. Whitely; Sussex discussion tape. 1972. 'Golding's Style and Symbolism'; seems to have same discussion on both sides of tape; on the use of 'gimmick' endings in Golding. (AC) PR6013.O35 A5 1972 1 tape.
14. The Novels of Graham Greene. Ian Gregor, David Lodge. Sussex discussion tape. 1972. A discussion of Greene, his background, his Catholicism, his novels, movies on his novels and his own interest in film ¡V not so much gossip about his personal life as other sources, more about the structure of and strategies behind Graham¡¦s works. As is often true of discussion tapes, I found the interpersonal interactions between the two discussants almost as interesting as the content of the talk. (AC) PR6013. R44 G73 1 tape.
15. The Heroic Villains. G.K. Hunter, Martin Wright; Sussex discussion tape. Warrick University. Mildly interesting discussions about the villain-heros of Macbeth, The Jew of Malta, and Richard III. (AC) PR2992.V5 H86 1 tape.
16. Ben Jonson. Sussex discussion tape. Ann Barton (combination of RP and Irish English? mostly RP vowels and prosody, occasionally an Irish diphtthong, e.g. [aI], and fully rhotic), Alan Sinfield (very standard RP). 1972. 1. Volpone and The Alchemist. 2. Jonson's character's - Bartholomew Fair. I'm not familiar with the works discussed, and probably won't read them, especially after Barton's clever comment on how Jonson's 'mind was filled with unrelated details, which he delighted in for their own sake.' The speech by Mammon from The Alchemist didn't much appeal to me. Barton sounds defensively assertive of her power, using many clever turns of phrases, Sinfield sounds almost meek at points as though he is a bit taken with her - or maybe it's just his personality and this is all in my imagination! (AC) PR2638 B37 1 tape.
17. James Joyce. Sussex discussion tape. Prof. R. Ellmann. 60 min. Side A is a discussion of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, including an interesting developmental history of the work; side B addresses Joyce's views on religion, politics, and language. Interviewer speaks RP, speaker, US English. The speaker is articulate and interesting ¡V this tape gives some good background on the novelist and his work. (AC) PR6019 O9E44 1 tape.
18. Can Literature Compete? BBC Study Tapes. An intelligent and fast-moving discussion between George Steiner, Julian Mitchell, and Andrew Schonfield on the past, present and future of literature in people's lives; lit as opposed to movies, tapes, music; US vs. UK and other countries. Listening to this made me feel happy that I know English and can be part of the intellectual life in this world that takes place in English. (AC) PN45 St35 1 tape. (56 min.).
19. Canetti on Kafka and Rupert Brooke as I remember him. BBC Study Tapes. This must be my very favorite in this series; side 1 in particular ended much too soon for me. Writer Elias Canetti became fascinated with and later wrote about the letters of Franz Kafka, in particular his correspondence with the woman who eventually became his fiancée, but then with whom he broke off relations, more than once. Canetti literally bubbles over with the story he has to tell: that Kafka's The Trial in particular seems to be about how Kafka was put 'on trial' by his fiancée's family when they learned that he felt he wasn't suited for marriage. This illuminates a big part of Kafka's character and writing. Side 2 is a remembrance of poet Rupert Brooke by actress Cathleen Nesbitt, who Rupert loved for many years ¡V but according to the speaker they never consummated that love. Nesbitt discussed their relationship publicly for the first time 50 years after Brooke's death in WWI. A spellbinding story. (AC) PT2621.A26 C162 1 tape.
20. The Two Kiplings. Phillip Mason, Martin Jarvis. (AC) PR4856 T8 1 tape (156 min.).
21. D. H. Lawrence: discussion by Gamini Salgado, Jeff Hemstedt; Sussex discussion tape. Side A is on characters and relationships in Lawrence; side B is on Sons and Lovers. I enjoyed these discussions much more than Lawrence's books. (AC) PR6023.A93 S24 1 tape.
22. Approach to poetry criticism. Laurence Lerner. Sussex lecture. Discusses identifying characteristics of metaphysical, Augustan, and post-Romantic poetry. Analyzes and compares various poems, e.g. Tennyson's "In Memoriam". (AC) PR65.P6 L47 1 tape.
23. Edward Lear. Charles Lewsen. 1971 (London) (AC)
24. Discussion on George Orwell, by Orwell biographer Bernard Crick, and Patrick Parrinder, University of Reading. Sussex discussion tape. Side A: Orwell as a writer for the people; his passion for political writing; how truthful are the accounts in his writing? Side B: A discussion and comparison of Animal Farm and 1984; also his essays. Not bad; reasonably short; get to know Orwell the man a bit better. (AC) PR6029.R8 C74 1 tape.
25. Nineteen Eighty-Four, Julia Glover, Isla Blair, Peter Wilson. Intermediate level, targeted at students; tells a bit about Orwell's life, and about how London of 1948/49 is reflected in the novel 1984. Better listened to after reading the novel, to help you understand it better; they also ask questions, and use dramatized scenes of similar incidents to some in the book, placed in a different context, to illustrate what the book is trying to say. (AC) PR6029.R8 N5 1 tape.
26. Harold Pinter. Katherine Worth, Alan Sinfied. Sussex discussion tape. 1972. This is a reasonably informative and interesting introduction to Harold Pinter and his absurdist theatre. The two speakers seem to be in a battle for supremacy, sometimes using strong agreement with the other as a strategy. But you'll learn a lot about Pinter, especially if you started out not too familiar with him. (AC) PR6066.I53 / W67 1 tape.
27. The Poetic Revolution: Pound and Eliot by M. L. Rosenthal. Sussex discussion tape. 1973. This is an interesting introduction to Pound, Eliot and William Carlos Williams. The speaker concentrates on interpretations of several representative works of each poet rather than the poets' bios. Some nice thoughts on Williams' 'dancing naked in front of a mirror' poem. (AC) PS324 R67 1 tape.
28. Sheridan. by Kenneth Muir, Alan Sinfield. Sussex discussion tape. (1) Sentiment and Morality; (2) The Screen Scene: Sheridan's stagecraft. Includes scene from The School for Scandal. Interesting discussion of Sheridan and restoration drama; mostly about Scandal and The Rivals. (AC) PR3684 M84 1 tape.
29. Tom Stoppard. Sussex discussion tape. 1972. Martin Banham, C.W.E. Bigsby. Delightfully articulate and intelligent discussion of the absurdist playwright Tom Stoppard, who was originally Czech. Side A is illustrated with several examples from Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which amply demonstrate how Stoppard plays with language for its own sake rather than just for the meaning it conveys. Side B is entitled "The development of Stoppard's moral stance", but it also touches on Stoddard's politics. (AC) PR6069.T6 B36 1 tape.
30. The Poetry of Dylan Thomas. Sussex Publications. 1975. Side 1: Dylan Thomas and the Anglo-Welsh Tradition; side 2: Form, language and imagery. Overall I'm not fond of Thomas's poetry, but this tape will give you an informed idea of his life and art ¡V actually this tape is probably more engaging than an average Thomas poem (personal opinion only!). Various readers, UK. (AC) PR6039.H52 W34 1 tape.
Interviews with Tolkien and Basil Bunting. BBC study tapes. The interviewer
gives the feeling of bullying and cowing an elfish Tolkien, but still offers
insight into the man behind The Lord of the Rings; very interesting interview
with Northumbrian poet Basil Bunting; he'll tell you a bit about his views on
fellow poets and ideas on poetry, such as: Compose aloud; poetry is a sound;
Put your poem away till you forget it, then: cut out every word you dare. Do
it again a week later, and again. (AC) PR6039.O32 T577 1 tape (53 min.).
32. Tolstoy's View of Art and Morality and Edmund Wilson 1895-1972. BBC Study Tapes. The discussion on Tolstoy is by Sir Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997), a Russian Jew who later lived in England and taught at Oxford, and who speaks in Russian-accented RP. Berlin explains Tolstoy's view that art should be simple and direct, totally of the people, and accessible to peasants and Cossacks, rather than 'complicated' and 'contrived'. He strongly criticizes Shakespeare for his improbable plots and difficult language, and attacks Beethoven and Wagner for similar reasons. Tolstoy thus defines beauty as 'clarity'. Yet he admitted that he himself had 'decadent', patrician tastes himself he confessed to being enchanted with Mozart's works. He said one shouldn't write unless absolutely compelled to, if it were something one simply had to do, couldn't help but doing. And Berlin points out that Tolstoy couldn't help but observe and write in minute detail about every tiny perceived bit of his experience of living in the world. Ultimately, he could not reconcile his sympathy for the underprivileged and downtrodden, who he felt were somehow closer to his ideal of simplicity and forthrightness, with the idea that they should be helped to rise above their difficult life through education which would in turn cause them to lose their idealized simplicity and replace it with 'contrivance'. Berlin says Tolstoy died (he simply collapsed outside of a train station) a broken man, unable to solve this basic problem of humanity over which he obsessed so much of his life. Berlin sounds high-strung and nervous, and he speaks in rapid torrents, parts of which are not always clear; but his strong content more than makes up for this. The discussion on Edmund Wilson (the speaker is unidentified) was an unexpected bonus. I had learned a bit about Wilson in Nancy Milford's biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Savage Beauty. Wilson was a spurned lover of Millay's, but they were lifelong friends. Overall one gets the impression that Wilson was a bit mediocre, but I found the discussion, which includes interviews with a number of people familiar with Wilson and his work, interesting nevertheless. (AC) PG3415 B445 1 tape
33. The Transcendentalists. Quentin Anderson, Robert Spiller. Sussex discussion tape. 1972. Enlightening discussion between two Emerson scholars, one of whom had just finished editing Emerson's works. The focus is on Emerson, though the development of transcendentalism in general is discussed. (AC) PS1638 A52 1 tape.
34. Graham Greene on Evelyn Waugh. (AC) PR6045.A97 Gr76 1 tape (56 min.).
35. Evelyn Waugh. Sussex discussion tape. Discussion with Malcolm Bradbury and Martin Fagg. This is a very enlightening and engaging discussion of Waugh's life and writing. Central to Waugh's writing is a clash between civilization and barbarism, e.g. between the older 'civilization' of Europe and the emerging one of Africa. Waugh was apparently a very harsh and unpleasant person. The discussants suggest that one reason for his deep involvement in Catholicism was because of the opportunities for polemic it provided. Waugh's shortcomings as a person are contrasted with his outstanding writing, incredible mastery of syntax, and his deeply cynical humor, often built on a cold disregard for danger and death. (AC) PR6045.A97 B72 1 tape.
36. John Webster and Jacobean Tragedy. Sussex discussion tape. Nicholas Brooks, Alan Sinfield. A: Character and coherence; B: Action and death. I was mainly curious to hear how a scholar would deal with the inexplicable and gratuitous violence in Webster's works. They same to agree with me at least somewhat that it is indeed thus. (AC) PR3187 B76 1 tape.
37. Walt Whitman. Gay Wilson Allen, Arthur Golden. Sussex discussion tape. 1972. The focus is on Whitman's Leaves of Grass; informative discussion, though it drags a bit at the end and concludes rather abruptly. (AC) PS3201 A44 1 tape.
37. Virginia Wolfe. Hermione Lee, Stella McMichol. Sussex discussion tape. 1980. Learn a little about the author's family background, her writing, especially Mrs. Dalloway, and her madness. Note use of nasalization for emphasis. (AC) PR6045.O72 L43 1 tape.
Communication skills, vocabulary, pronunciation
Rick Brinkman and Rick Kirschner, How to Deal with Difficult People. 2
cassettes. Strategies for dealing with 'difficult' people in sticky situations.
(AC) BF637.I48 K577z 1998 2 tapes (3 hrs.)
2. Carol Fleming. The Sound of Your Voice. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Sound Ideas, 1992 ((AC) PN4162 S68z 1992 Publication blurb: Speak with ease, confidence, and clarity. Learn how to analyze your voice image and correct problems that undermine your message. You'll develop a more authoritative style, speak more clearly, and eliminate accents. These are really useful for effectively diagnosing your particular weaknesses in speaking and correcting them. 4 cassettes. (AC) PN4162 S68z 1992 4 tapes.
3. Patrick Fraley. Creating Character Voices for Fun & Profit: A Professional Guide. Male, US. 2 cassettes (available from Audio Editions and Amazon). This one isn't in the AV library, but it's a very tight, interesting, and effective short course on how to develop character voices for telling jokes and stories and doing voice-overs. Fraley has lots of cleverly-designed exercises to help you do all kinds of things with your voice you never imagined.
4. Milo O. Frank. How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less. Punchy. Just what the title says: don't waste your and other people's time ¡V get right to the point, increase your chances of being heard and getting what you want. (AC) HF5718 F743z 1985 1 tape (45 min.)
5. Peter and Mary Funk. Dynamic Vocabulary! Learn in Your Car Discovery Series. Peniton Overseas, Inc. Series 1 and 2, 2 cassettes each. I borrowed this for my son (age 22) to help him prepare for the vocabulary portion of the GRE exam. The pace is fast, the structure tight, and the words fairly advanced and useful. Clear explanations and examples. I knew most of the words myself, but there were some new ones, like scree. PE1449 P8z/1991
6. Harriet Lerner. The Dance of Connection: How to talk to someone when you're mad, hurt, scared, frustrated, insulted, betrayed or desperate. Harper Audio. US, female. A therapist reads from her book on how to better interact with others, especially those we have a close relationship with, and how to try and fix things when they go wrong. She speaks v e r y, v e r y s l o w l y, and I never completely stopped being conscious of this. You'd think a producer would have coached her better on this. At least this should make the recording easier for EFL learners to follow. I especially liked the anecdotes she told to illustrate her points, e.g. the family history behind why her father never clashed with her mother outwardly, and the story about her friend who experienced a rude awakening regarding her previous failure to listen to others. (AC) BF637.C45 L4z 2001 3 tapes. (4 hrs., 30 min.)
7. Renee E. Mazer. Not Too Scary Vocabulary. High Score. 6 cassettes. These tapes are specifically designed to help with SAT vocabulary words. I borrowed them for my daughter (age 17), who at the time of this writing is preparing for the SAT. The narrator speaks teenage English, but you later find out that she's married, has two kids, and has been to law school! An Amazon review says she's been an SAT tutor for 15 years. (Why hasn't she learned to talk like a grown-up? I wondered.) But the teenagey style appealed to my daughter, who said that the Dynamic Vocabulary! tapes put her to sleep. In this set, in contrast to Dynamic Vocabulary!, the narrator spends considerable time on each word, defining it (with lots of repetition of the same information in the same words!), giving example sentences, offering mnemonic tricks to remember the work (some etymological, most not), and very often performing a silly poem or song that she wrote to help fix the word in the listener's mind. Some of these are quite clever and might be helpful, though I tend (fortunately) to remember the word and forget the doggerel. She admits she can't sing, and she really can't carry a tune, so I would have preferred it if she had just read all the little verses. And I feel she should have checked the pronunciation of each word before teaching it on tape (she admits she's not sure about e.g. chimerical, and she doesn't voice the th in lithe; but at least she's honest about it!). But my daughter is taking the tapes seriously, to the point of carrying around a Walkman to listen to them these days, so they must be effective for the right audience. PE1449 M3z/2000
8. Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. New York: Random. BDD Audio. Abridged. This is an excellent 5-CD recording of the book, offering a systematic program for improving your skills in confronting tough issues with other people in a constructive way; solve the problem instead of assigning blame, running away, or losing your temper. A wonderful set, full of sound advice on how to interact and get along better with others. Full of interesting anecdotes used to illustrate each point. (AL BF37.C45 S782z 1999 5 CDs (6 hrs.)
9. Jane Wellborn. Accent Reduction Made Easy: Drills for a Standard American Accent. 2 cassettes. Penton Overseas. This set is OK, though not terribly exciting or creative. The speaker follows a book (apparently) and introduces each phoneme of American English ¡V she has them numbered ¡V one by one, then gives several word and sentence examples. The sentences are contrived to contain several examples of the sound in question, and are quite unlikely ever to occur in natural speech ("Was Ethel's thesis on an atheist with arthritis?"). And the speaker has a couple of her own pronunciation quirks, just as Carol Fleming (The Sound of your Voice) does, for example, she tells you to use a long 'e' ([i]) sound in the before words that begin with a vowel, but she herself usually uses a schwa and begins the next vowel with a glottal stop. She offers useful bits of information, such as the difference between clear and dark /l/ (her own /l/ sound is sometimes strangely long, e.g. in her 'welcome'), and alerts native speakers of certain languages or from certain regions of the world to pay special attention to specific sounds, including native English speakers sometimes; she advises southerners not to make words like 'am' into two syllables: ae-yam. The plot leaves something to be desired, but if you just want to practice individual phonemes and word examples of them, this may be useful to you. (AC) PE1137 W375z 1997. 2 tapes.
10. J.C. Wells. Accents of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982. (AC) PE1137 W44. This is a fun collection of various accents and dialects of English, introduced by UCL phonetician and lexicographer J.C. Wells. (AC) PE1137 W44 1 tape. (54 min.)
11. Video: Speechmasters North American Spoken English: Feeling Phonics; Tape #3 Neutral Vowels. This series (I've only watched this one tape), in my opinion, is done by hacks and is boring to boot. Stay away ¡V try something else, anything else. I don't agree with this guy's ideas about 'neutral and parent vowels'; I also can't stand the way he walks around with an untied tie slung around his neck, and that ditzy suit jacket and pony tail. I'm sorry ¡V this one just hit me all wrong. (VC) PE1128 N672z 9 VHS
12. Video: Writers on Writing Series. Pt. 4 - Writing for Radio. Educational Film Series. NTSC. This is a series of interviews with radio script writers who participated in a workshop for film, television and radio writers in Australia in 1988. Some speakers (they're all men) are more dynamic than others, but all have useful advice for aspiring radio writers, for example: you can't make a living on just radio writing; you do it only because you have to, you can't help but write; you need talent and also a strong ability to listen and pick up on the way people really speak in conversation; sound effects must be somehow identified in the dialogue; don't use too many characters or the listeners won't be able to follow the story; don't try to impress people with lots of different dialects or accents in one story; radio is the medium which requires the greatest amount of audience participation; beginners might do well to start the story a few pages into their script - often there is too much detailed information at the beginning; you must usually write for a very set length of air time, e.g. 29 or 58 minutes, and so on. LB1631 W74A3 VT cm01550 (44 min.)
John Laver. The phonetic description of voice quality. Cambridge, [UK]:
Cambridge University Press, 1980. In this recording the author and narrator gives
many examples of speech with different supralaryngeal settings, like nasality,
and laryngeal settings, like creaky and whispery voice, and overall tension settings,
like tense voice. Detailed and impressive. Good if you're interested in phonetics
or voice acting. 1 tape. (AC) P221 L38 (49 min.)
2. The Talk Show. Hosted by Jay Ingram; produced by Ira Basen. This is a 4-tape set produced by CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, in Toronto. It covers all kinds of topics of the kind you're bound to meet in an Introduction to Linguistics course. It's narrated by Jay Ingram, who has a very representative Canadian accent complete with 'Canadian raising', which he in fact discusses in tape 4. A lot of the information in the program is speculative but not always clearly treated as such. The series is introduced with an audio montage of the word 'talk' and related words with sound effects. This didn't much appeal to me (except for the little boy's clear reading of the word 'talk' - that's quite striking; and repetitions of the word 'talk' worked into the rhythm aren't bad), but this is a small detail. Tape 1 is entitled 'Born to talk', and revisits the debate about whether there is a specific 'grammar organ' in the brain as Chomsky claims, or not. The opposition is given relatively fair representation; linguist Elizabeth Bates offers clear and cogent arguments on why she disagrees with Chomsky. There is a clear account of the 'wild child' Genie and her attempts to learn to speak; there are even a few recordings of Genie speaking. On tape 2, 'The search for the mother tongue', a linguist offers his reconstruction of the 'mother tongue', supposedly spoken by early man about 100,000 years ago. This kind of reconstruction is necessarily highly speculative to say the least, and is treated a little too much as a given rather than as someone's foray into fancy. The question is also raised whether chimpanzees who learn some limited sign language and to communicate with plastic tokens really have 'language' ability or not. Chomsky thinks not; Steven Pinker thinks it foolish to try to teach animals human language, and that studying animals' own natural communication systems is much more meaningful. And did we evolve speech so as to be able to gossip about other people? Tape 3 is about 'Native tongues', the controversies surrounding how they arose, and the alarming rate at which languages are becoming extinct in our generation. It also discusses efforts to revive and maintain native languages, e.g. native American ones. Peter Ladefoged is interviewed and he expresses his view that the decision on whether or how to preserve a dying language belongs to the speakers of that language, not to outsiders. He cites the example of isolated peoples not getting needed medical care for a child because of their inability to speak the majority language. Tape 4 is entitled 'Talk of tomorrow' and contains a number of predicted trends in the language of the future, e.g. that the number of languages will be vastly reduced; English will survive, but will exist in many different varieties used for special purposes. There is a further discussion on language change and prescriptivism, and on Canadian regionalisms, e.g. the declining use of the word chesterfield for 'sofa'. There is an interesting interview with the inventor of 'Klingon', which has achieved status as a subject of scholarly inquiry. Well worth a close listening. P118 153T3z 1993. 4 tapes.
Are Hierarchies Necessary? BBC. (AC) HT609 Ar31 4 tapes (206 min.)
2. Are Mothers Necessary? BBC. Male, RP, with invited speakers who speak various dialects, especially US English. This series explores the function of mothers, how important they are in the development of a human. Is there really a connection between lack of a caring mother in early childhood and criminal behavior? Under what circumstances and how does the absence of the mother most affect an infant? Actually a better title for the series might have been "All About Babies". The host is Dr. Martin Bax, a pediatrician. One part that impressed me described an experiment with white and with East Asian babies: if you put a tissue on the face of a white baby, he or she will struggle to remove it; an East Asian baby tends to just lie there and not do anything about the tissue. The last tape contains an interview with Dr. Benjamin Spock (1903-1998), who I discover had non-rhotic a Boston accent. (AC) BF723.I6 Ar31 5 tapes (221 min.).
3. Calls of the Bushveld. Hugh Rouse. Johannesburg. Neat hyena call. Afrikaans songs. Corny.
4. Lectures on Science. Black Holes, Quasars, E-coli genetic mapping, Almost an Echo... 2 sets.
5. Man in Society. Brian Foss, Peter Warr, BBC. 6 cassettes. (AC) HM51 M311 4 tapes.
6. Mechanics of the Mind. Reith Lectures 1976. Colin Blakemore. Male, RP. These three tapes contain six lectures on the brain, how it works, and related functions. Before listening to this set, I had just read two recent books on the brain, Rita Carter's Mapping the Mind, and V. S. Ramachandran's Phantoms in the Brain. Many of the case histories, along with their interpretations, that were cited in these books are included in these talks. This was a surprise, since I keep hearing how much has been learned about the brain in the past few years; it seems we in fact knew quite a bit in the 70s. The speaker is extremely eloquent, and his content and organization are utterly intelligent. The topics: 1. The divinest part of us: The development of man's ideas on the location and function of the mind; 2. Chuang Tzu and the butterfly: Dr. Blakemore argues that there is no reason to believe that science will fail to account for the phenomenon of human consciousness (the only flaw in this reading: the speaker tensed up when reading 'Taoist' and 'Chuang Tzu' and pronounced them in a very strange way); 3. An image of the truth: Dr. Blakemore argues that the brain cells which miraculously transform the light images in the eye into what we see have knowledge and intelligence; 4. A child of the moment: An account of the phenomenon of memory; 5. A burning fire: Dr. Blakemore examines the language of man ¡V and that of apes; he discusses Washoe and Lucy, chimps who learned sign language from their human keepers, and asks if this qualifies as 'language' in the human sense; he also discusses Chomsky's theory of Universal Grammar, and Broca's discovery of a part of the brain crucial for human language ability; 6. Madness and morality: Theories of left and right brain dominance and the uses made of brain research. Highly recommended. (AC) BF171 B583 3 tapes.
7. Microtechnology. (1) Silicon chips, optical fibres, computer memories, LCDs; (2) word processing (3) satellite communications; air traffic control, etc.; BBC. (AC) TK7874 M583 3 tapes (54 min. each)
8. Speaking of Science: Conversations with Outstanding Scientists, vol. II: (1) 1. The Dilemma of Prisons, 2. Science and Sociology of Weather Modification; (2) 3. New Dimensions in Human Genetics, 4. Children and Environment: A New View; (3); 5. Energy; 6.? (4) 7. Environment and Cancer; 8. Patterns of Discovery; (5) 9. The Limits to Growth 10. Tragedy of the Commons Revisited; (6) 11. Understanding Perception; 12. Exploring the Universe. American Association for the Advancement of Science. (AC) Q113 Am35 9 tapes.
9. Thoughts on the Cosmology of Copernicus. London. Prof. Plaf Anderson et al. (AC) QB981 T399 1 tape (46 min.)
10. Voyage Round a Twentieth-Century Skull. Dr. Jacob Bronowski in conversation with George Steedman. BBC English courses. 3 cassettes.Tape 1, Side 1: 1. The Skull's Inheritance. 2. Trouble about Light. Side 2. 3. Pattern and Growth. 4. The Structure of Energy. Discussion of development of modern science. Tape 2, Side 1: 5. Physics, Poetry and Revolution. 6. The Structure of Matter. Side 2: 7. Nuclear Explosion, Unclear Responsibility. 8. The Structure of Life. Tape 3, Side 1: 9. Evolution in Progress. 10. The Most Successful Mammal. Side 2: 11. The Importance of Being High-Browed. 12. Knowledge Plus or Minus Western Man. Bronowski is his usual erudite self, with impeccable delivery and RP ¡V except for his distracting 'r's, which are often either uvular or sound like 'w's. Bronowski's English sentences otherwise are works of art ¡V he crafts each one meticulously. The tapes were really very engaging and I got through them quickly. Recommended, if you enjoy talks on pop science. (AC) Q171 V948 3 tapes.
11. The World of Plants: Do You Know? Alan Gemmell. (AC) QK641 W893 1 tape (45 min.)
History, art, philosophy lectures
Background to History. 2 cassettes. Rather interesting lectures on various
unrelated topics; second time to borrow and listen
I: (1) Greeks in search of happiness, W. B. Stanford; (2) Medicine in Ancient
Rome, Dr. Bernard Knight; (3) When Morals Lay in Lumps (The rise and fall of
phrenology), Philip Collins; (4) The Great Strike of 1926, Harry Young; II:
(5) The popes as money men, Peter Partner; (6) Venice, Amsterdam and comparative
history, Peter Burke; (7) Life in an Elizabethan mansion, Mark Girouard; (8)
Charles Waterton, eccentric & naturalist, Gilbert Phelps. All pretty interesting,
though not very interrelated. Charles Waterton was indeed eccentric,
but his wildlife park sounds quite amazing. (AC) D16 B126 2 tapes (106 min.).
2. Lady Violet Bonham-Carter, "The Impact of Personality in Politics"; The Romanes Lectures. 1 cassette. 1963. (AC)
3. The lute songs of Thomas Campion. Robin Headlam Wells. Sussex Publications. Nice poetry, singing, lovely lute playing. Explanations of the poems. (AC)
4. Critic's Choice. (7 tapes of interviews with artists; VOA) Dancers and such. (AC)
5. Current Trends in Philosophy. BBC Study Tapes. There is one talk per side on varied topics. Tape 1 side A: "Logic and language" by Gilbert Harman (Male, US; Princeton U.) considers the development of a logic that is more like natural human language in that it admits adverbs and verbal tense, and the emergence of Chomsky's generative-transformational grammar, which analyzes language in a way that brings it closer to classical logic. Relatively interesting. Side B, "The revival of materialism" J. J. C. Smart (Male, Australian, La Trobe U.) discusses the material basis of all processes, including mental and emotional ones. I found this talk rather dull and unfocused; fortunately it was also short. Tape 2 Side A: "Possible worlds" by Alvin Plantigna (male, US); a discussion about logic and possible worlds; I found this dull. Side B: "The scene in Germany" by Anthony Kenny (male, RP); a discussion of the importance of four nineteenth-century German philosophers. Tape 3 Side A: "The French Tradition" by Alan Montefiore (male, RP); how French schools of philosophy broke off from the German and grew ever further apart from them; Side B: "Political Philosophy" by Bernard Williams (male, RP); where and how political science and philosophy overlap, focuses on work of John Rawls and Robert Noziak; Tape 4 Side A: "A Radical Future" by Jonathan Ree (male, RP); the speaker argues that the analytic tradition of British philosophy has not taken enough account of radical and dialectical approaches. Side B is blank. I don't really recommend this series unless you have a really hard-core interest in philosophy. I found a lot of the material discussed to be parochial and relevant mainly to contending scholars in philosophy departments and rather uninteresting overall. Try Moulders of Western Philosophy (see below) instead. (AC) B53 C936 4 tapes
6. Will and Ariel Durant. The Lessons of History. (AC) D16.8 D843z 1994 2 tapes (195 min.).
7. Elizabeth I: Life, speeches, poems. Read by Maria Perry. This is an interesting overview of Elizabeth I, her background, how she became queen, some of the landmarks of her reign and life. Maria Perry very ably portrays her subject as an assertive, articulate, often defiant force of her times to be reckoned with. You will appreciate this more if you do a bit of background reading on the period ahead of time to help fit the pieces together. The part on Elizabeth's love life was especially engaging: her dalliance with Robert Dudley, her many suitors, her sudden panic at being single and childless at 45 after Mary of Scots gave birth to the future King James I, and her desperate last attempt and failure to marry. Mention of the many cruelties of her reign is largely omitted, though you will hear about her 'reluctant' order to behead Mary in light of her endless plots to overthrow Elizabeth. The tape is old and squeaky in parts. (AC) PR833 E44 1 tape (60 min.).
8. The Execution of Socrates. Dramatized reconstruction of conversation between Socrates and his pupils before Socrates took the poison. Good. (AC) B379.A5 M453 2 tapes (72 min.).
9. Gandhi: His Life and Philosophy, as told by himself and those connected with him. Narrator: Francis Watson. BBC cassettes. A dramatic and informative chronology of Gandhi's life, ideas, achievements, and death. Interviews with many people who knew Gandhi and played important roles in his life, including the British judge that sentenced him to jail for civil disobedience, and the British man who was his jailer a number of times, both of whom spoke of Gandhi in highly laudatory terms. The Indian English used in parts is sometimes hard to follow. Recommended. (AC) B5134 G3 1 tape
10. Edward Gibbon. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Parts I and II. (6 CDs each). Abridged by Gary Mead. Read by Philip Madoc with Neville Jason. Very dense and demanding, but listening is certainly a lot easier than trying to read this momentous work, even if it's abridged, as these CDs are. Good choice of reader; carefully cultivated RP, impressive rendering of the work. (AL) DG311 G56z / 1997 6 CDs (7 hrs., 42 min.).
11. Robert Graves, I, Claudius. (abridged) read by Derek Jacobi. Decca, two cassettes. Excellent dramatic RP reading (male), imitates Claudius' stammering here and there. Intrigue-filled Roman history made more accessible. Blind ambition, deceit, poisonings, hangings, incest, false accusations of rape, you name it, it's here. (AC) PR6013.R35 A6 1982 2 tapes (125 min.).
12. Robert Graves, Claudius the god. Read by Derek Jacobi. Decca, two cassettes. More highlights of Claudius' reign, corruption, greed, sin, lust, violence, indulgence, and resignation, though his decline to his predicted death. (AC) PR6013.R35 A61 1982 2 tapes (147 min.)
13. History and art tapes: Napoleon, Magellan, Lafayette, Sir Walter Raleigh, Alexander the Great, William the Conqueror; Michelangelo, Elizabethan England, Money and the Papacy, Phrenology, Art of the Middle Ages, The Mona Lisa, Impressionism, Expressionism and Surrealism, Frank Lloyd Wright. Good background cultural knowledge on a variety of famous people and phenomena.
14. A History of Trade. BBC. (AC) HF355 H626 3 tapes (157 min.).
15. The Hollow Crown: An entertainment on the theme of the Monarchy, Devised and produced by John Barton. Gory in parts, cynical everywhere, but very engaging. Decca, Argo; (AC) PZ7 H644 2 tapes (104 min.).
16. Carl Gustav Jung and A Plea for Human Natural History. Male, RP. BBC Study Tapes. Side 1: An excellent encapsulation of the main tenets of Jungian Theory, including 'collective consciousness', 'archetypes', and 'the shadow'; narrator: Stuart Simon; reader: Sylvain Mangeot, with contributions by Jung himself, Baroness Vera van der Heydt, Dr. Neil Micklem, and Barbara Somers. Side 2: by Jonathan Miller. An interesting look at seemingly inconsequential yet revealing aspects of human behavior, i.e. apologetic gestures made after e.g. failing to get a taxi to stop. This relates to Jung's idea that all behavior of the mentally ill, rathern than just being something to be gotten ride of, exists for a reason and reveals some noteworthy aspect of the human psyche applicable to normal individivuals. (AC) BF109.J8 J954 1 tape.
17. Landmarks of American Writing (1-33), New York, Basic Books. 1969. Voice of America, Forum series. Male, US. (1) William Bradford: Of Plymouth Plantation, Norman Grabo; (2) Benjamin Franklin: Autobiography, Ralph Ketcham; (3) Michel-Guillaume St. Jean de Crèvecoeur: Letters from an American Farmer; Russel B. Nye; (4) The Federalist Papers; Melvin K. Whiteleather; (5) Washington Irving: The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent; William L. Hedges; (7) Francis Parkman: The Oregon Trail; David Levin; (8) Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, Benjamin Quarles; (9) Edgar Allan Poe: Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, John Seelye; (10) Nathaniel Hawthorne: The House of the Seven Gables, 11. 12. (13) Richard Harter Fogle; Walt Whitman: "Song of Myself"; James E. Miller; Louis D. Rubin, Jr.; (15) Stephen Crane, Maggie, A Girl of the Streets; (16) Henry James, The Ambassadors; (17) John Wesley Powell: Exploration of the Colorado River; Murray G. Murphey; (18) Edward Bellamy: Looking Backward, 2000-1887; Arthur P. Dudden; (19) Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class; (20) W. E. B. du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk; (21) William James, Pragmatism, A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking; (22) The Education of Henry Adams; (23) H. L. Mencken, The American Language; (24) Charles Ives, Essays Before a Sonata; (25) Louis Sullivan, The Autobiography of an Idea; (26) e. e. cummings, The Enormous Room; (27) Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises; (28) ?; (29) James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men; (30) William Faulkner, The Bear; (31) Eugene O'Neill, The Iceman Cometh; (33) "The American as Involved and Dropout: An Afterword", Hennig Cohen. Missing from collection: (6), (11), (12), (14) (AC) PS15 C66 15 tapes.
18. The Long Search Continues. BBC Study Tapes. Shivesh Chandra Thakur et al. This is an extremely intelligent and enlightening series on man's search for meaning, spirituality and religion. Highly recommended. Subjects of tapes: (1) Hinduism and the guru movement; (2) Humanism; (3) Buddhism; (4) Christianity: the incarnation; (5) Islam; (6) The Christian church and its relationship to the state; (7) Zionism; (8) New Age religion and mysticism; (9) Japanese Buddhist and other sects: Riccho Kosei Kai, Soka Gakkai, Nichiren, Tenrikyo (non-Buddhist); (10); Religion in Africa - the tension between Islam and Christianity in Kenya; (11) (12); (13). (AC) BL265 T4. 13 cassettes (ca. 50 min. each)
19. Michelangelo as Painter and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Lord Clark. Male, RP. BBC Study Tapes. Although I'd heard or read much of what was in the piece on Michelangelo before, I thoroughly enjoyed this soulful and highly eloquent talk. The piece on Hopkins is also interesting, but very short, and consists mostly of readings of some of Hopkins's poems, like the well-known "Pied Beauty", and of just a few comments on Hopkins's life, e.g. the great inner conflicts he felt between his role as a priest and his own desires and feelings. (AC) ND623 M5 1 tape.
20. The Mona Lisa. Kenneth Clark. Male, RP. BBC Study Tapes. Side A explores the dating of the painting and the identify of the woman painted; Side B has lots more about DaVinci's life (he was homosexual, like Michelangelo), which he divides into five periods, each with its own noteworthy characteristics. (AC) ND1145 M74 1 tape.
21. Moulders of Western Philosophy (1-4). Male. RP. BBC Study Tapes. "Eight talks on the lives and writings of key figures in the development of Western philosophy." Tape 1, Side 1: 1. The Greek inheritance ¡V Socrates, Plato & Artistotle, by Anthony Flew; 2. Descartes (1596-1650) by Anthony Kenny. Side 2: 3. Spinoza (1632-1677) by Anthony Quinton; 4. Locke (1632-1704) by Anthony Flew. (AC) This is excellent. The piece on John Locke was just a bit harder to follow, but the others give a very clear, informative, to-the-point introduction to each philosopher covered, while managing at the same time to be interesting and engaging. I learned lots I didn't know before. Tape 2, Side 1:5. Rousseau (1712-1778) by John Broome; Rousseau was largely an outsider all his life; he was born in Calvinist Geneva, moved to Paris at age 30, and was exiled due to his ideas before being allowed to return to France; his mother died shortly after his birth, his father left him soon after; he is said to have had a significant influence on the Romantic movement; 6. Kant (1724-1804) by Geoffery Warnock; this talk addresses Kant's explorations of the possibilites and limits of metaphysics; I liked the comment how Kant's dense writing 'never goes out of fashion, and never is in fashion either'! 7. Schopenhauer (1788-1860) by Ninian Smart; this talk gives a very clear and interesting summary of Schopenhauer's thoughts on spirituality and God; 8. Marx (1818-1883) by Peter Sedgwick; Marx is considered by this speaker to be the father of modern sociology. (AC) B71 M86 2 tapes.
22. Has Truth a Future? Male, RP. BBC Study Tapes. The Bronowski Memorial Lecture 1978 by George Steiner. Interesting and very clear and well-structured discourse on the human drive after truth for its own sake. (AC) Q171 St35 1 tape (46 min.).
23. Revolutionary Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright. Louis Untermeyer. Male US. I'm glad to finally have heard the voice of Louis Untermeyer, the famous poet and anthologist; he's old and the voice is not terribly clear (part of the problem is the relatively poor sound quality of the tape), but he's a good speaker. It's short ¡V only 18 minutes ¡V and it ends abruptly in the middle of a sentence before you feel you've heard the story; and it's not continued on side B. And it kept getting stuck in the car tape player. But Wright is a person well worth learning about, and this is a good place to start. (AC) NA712 W7R48. 1 tape, one side.
Explore the World
of Classical Music. Commuter College. Good, very basic introduction to classical
music. (AC) MT6 E94z 1986 1 tape (70 min.)
2. Russian Songs for Teaching Russian. (PFLR-43) Publicom Associates. 1983. This is a delightful collection of Russian folk songs, a few of which I knew from Russian class years ago, like "Katyusha" and "Kapitan", but most of which were new to me. They are full of minor keys, modulation, and interest, i.e. they're not at all corny, as some of these collections can be. The songs are all performed by one woman with a very pleasing soprano voice. She reads the lyrics first, then sings the song, to very able guitar accompaniments. An excellent way to practice your Russian, or just listen to the songs for pure enjoyment. Sound quality a bit fuzzy. (AC) M1756 R87 1 tape, both sides. (not in TULIPS)
Radio and TV
The Adventures of Sam Spade. Radio detective plays; 12 episodes Classic
radio detective stories; lots of fun. (AC) PN1991.77.A1 A393z 1995 6 tapes (6
2. The Best of Vanishing Point: Borges: Death and the Compass; Helwig: Disappearance; Wynne-Jones: The Testing of Stanley Teagarden; Bradbury: The Playground; Petch: The Black Serpent; DuMaurier: Split Second; Wyatt: Looking for a Quiet Place; Clarke, The Nine Billion Names of God; Buzzati: The Count's Wife; Cerver: A Small, Good Thing; Thomas: The Woman in Black Velvet; Bolt: Seeing God. Very good stories, quite good dramatizations; unfortunately sound quality is rather poor. Favorite: The Nine Billion Names of God. (AC) PN6120.95.R27 B47z 1990 6 tapes (5 hrs. 44 min.)
3. The Saint. Vincent Price 6 tapes, 2 episodes each Very old, entertaining radio drama; sound quality not bad. (AC) PN6120.95.R27 S35z 1994 6 tapes (6 hrs)
4. Laurie Lee, Cider with Rosie. (BBC) A sentimental look back on the author's family and coming of age. (AC) PR6023.E285 A6 2 tapes (156 min)
5. Raymond Briggs, When the Wind Blows. London: Penguin. What might and might not happen in the case of a nuclear attack. Don't expect the government to dispatch someone to your house to save you. Good dramatization, a bit depressing. (AC) UF767 B695 1987 1 tape
6. Fawlty Towers: "Second sitting". This reminded me of why I no longer watch TV. Side A was a totally implausible and silly situation comedy; an employee's pet causes trouble during a health inspection of the hotel's kitchen. Side B was a bit better; about a cut-rate incompetent contractor who messes up. British humour at its most representative, maybe. It does nothing for me. (AC) PN6120.T4 38 3 tapes (176 min.)
7. Gunsmoke (2-6): The Mortgage; Overland Express; Tara; The Square Triangle; Fingered; Kitty; I Don't Know; Post Martin; The Christmas Story; The Cabin. Unfortunately tape 1 was damaged and is not available; good half-hour radio drama; intermediate level and usable for listening practice; country-hick vocabulary and accents. Favorites: "Kitty", "The Mortgage", but all are pretty good. Lots of Gunsmoke episodes are available online; see Extras. (AC) PN6120.95.R27 G85z 1997 6 tapes
8. Old-time radio's greatest detectives. USA: Radio Spirits, Inc. 1997. This is a large collection of some of the best examples of radio detective drama from the 1940s and 50s. The sound quality is murky and scratchy in places but mostly the dialogue is clear enough to follow without much strain. These are well-acted, tight dramas full of fast action and suspense. They're very entertaining I think of them as 'ear candy'. PN6120.R2 O53z/1997 20 tapes
(1) The adventures of Philip Marlowe, with Gerald Mohr. Side A: (i) The Hairpin Turn (1/28/50 on CBS). A great murder mystery. Chandler, the author, barefacedly promotes himself in a part where Marlowe sees someone reading 'Chandler's latest book', whereupon he muses: 'Chandler...hmm...where have I heard that name before?' (ii) The Grim Echo. This one is filled with potential danger, yet another deceived wife, and a bit of silly romance. (2/14/50) (iii) The Gold Cobra. (6/21/50) This involves many reversals of black and white, and fortune, and something more deadly more than a golden museum-piece cobra. I think I've heard this set before, but forgot the storylines well enough to enjoy this tape a second time.
(3) Boston Blackie with Chester Morris. 1944. Side A: Star of the Nile: A corporate executive tries to steal a valuable gem from his own company; Side A-B: Black market case: Blackie tries to stop a wartime black market ring dealing in meat, but is thwarted when the one who originally asked for his help finds out that the ringleader is her own brother; Side B: Devon Estate: Blackie discovers the motive of a thief and murderer and closes in on him. Boston Blackie is the strangest detective character I've encountered in old-time radio. He's a freelancer, and has an assistant (these are never terribly bright; that's why they're not the star), but how does he get paid? He is presented as a thoroughly good man always fighting for what's right; yet the one who often benefits most from his remarkable achievements in crime-solving, a police sergeant named Faraday, constantly suspects Boston Blackie as the culprit in any and every case he hears of, even ones that haven't happened yet. In every case it turns out that Blackie is the only one clever and adept enough to find the real culprit and bring him in. This is confusing and unbelievable. Yet it can perhaps be understood as a power struggle between Faraday and Blackie as colleagues based on Faraday's envy of Blackie. And it's convenient for Blackie to cooperate on some level with Faraday, since only he has the authority to legally arrest and charge a criminal. It's a very strange premise to base a detective series on, but apparently people bought it back then - they even made movies of the stories; and if you suspend disbelief, it is certainly entertaining. I suppose the other vice of Blackie's, according to Faraday, is that he likes beautiful women. But he seems to be single, so what's wrong with that? Must just be another manifestation of Faraday's jealousy of Blackie and what he is able to pull off. Conclusion: These dramas are full of holes, but fun to listen to. Perky Rinso commercials (cute jingle!) and appeals for support for the war effort by e.g. saving paper and by bringing in rendered fat in exchange for cash and food points; the commercials paint an interesting picture of life in the US in the 1940s. The ubiquitous Rinso commercials must be one source of the term 'soap opera', and provide good examples of a 'broadcaster voice' and accent that corresponded to the standard for the period.
(4) Broadway is my beat with Larry Thor. The prose narration is very purple in these, and the storylines a stretch, but again, they're fun, so who cares? Some good characterizations, especially of women, who are often not very together, but at least they're not always ditzy.
9. The Very Best of Golden Age Radio. 200. The Very Best of Golden Age Radio. This is a delightful collection of very old (1940s) radio drama and comedy. The sound quality of these tapes is not good due to their age and the primitive recording technology at the time, but they are still very listenable and generally lots of fun. (AC) PN6120.R2 V479z 1992 40 tapes (30 min. each)
(1) The Green Hornet: Evidence. The Green Hornet was very similar to Batman; 'Kato' is the 'Robin' equivalent. Both were later made into TV series. This story is pretty silly ¡V it involves exposing and bringing to justice the owner of a secret gambling den. I'd skip it unless you're like me and like to listen to entire sets of things just to be complete.
(2) Fibber McGee: That Ol' Closet Routine. The Fibber McGee programs tickle one's fancy for many reasons ¡V first of all, that stuffed, disorganized closet that spills its contents out frequently. No matter how many times this old gag is repeated, it still makes me laugh. I suppose it is a symbol of all the disorganized things we carry around with us in our minds and hearts, and thus it strikes a resonant chord. Second, there is constant play with language, like tongue twisters, and dead-end grammar structures Fibber can't get himself out of. Have fun with these.
(3) Fibber McGee: Jury Duty. More good Fibber McGee fun.
(4) Sherlock Holmes: "Rare Disease"; Holmes feigns a deadly tropical disease to get his man; excellent acting by Sir John Gielgud and Sir Ralph Richardson.
(5) Tales of the Texas Rangers: "Play for Keeps": these stories are supposedly based on actual case files of the Texas rangers; in this episode, a gambler and constable are nailed for the murder of police officer.
(6) Tales of the Texas Rangers: "Dead or Alive"; a criminal wanted for safecracking gets his wife to report him as dead in an explosion in an effort to elude pursuit and capture.
(7) Lum and Abner: "The New Adding Machine"; an old-timer is threatened by modern technology; country hick accents; I'd never heard of this radio drama before ¡V very low-key, earthy humor.
(8) The best of Jack Benny: The violin concert tour.
(9) The best of Jack Benny: All-time classic routines from the 1940s including "Your money or your life." These (8 and 9) are vintage Jack Benny. Listen to some of the things that made Americans laugh in the 40s, and the 50s, and the 60s...Jack Benny is so smooth in his timing and presentation he almost blends into the woodwork. Clever wordplay ¡V some things will still make you laugh. Full of 40s/50s stereotypes, e.g. the black butler, the European music teacher, and ditzy women, but funny nevertheless. Clear diction. There's a good story on side B of (9) about how the three words 'Oh, shut up!' got Benny one of his longest laughs ever.
(10) Burns and Allen: "The Literary Club". This is really quite entertaining ¡V I liked it a lot more than (15) Gracie wants to be admitted to an exclusive literary club, and tries to keep George out of the way so he won't embarrass her when she tries to impress the club leader. You'll hear the names of a lot of famous literary figures and some of their works ¡V see if you can identify them all.
(11) "The empty house" Sherlock Holmes; Sherlock Holmes returns after his death three years earlier.
(12) Amos 'n Andy: Andy's Adoption; a slightly silly but entertaining story of how Andy gets himself adopted to solve a cash crisis, pulls out of the deal, then lives to regret it; nice bass singing along with the Rinso White commercial.
(13) Abbott & Costello; the classic 'Who's on first' and 'U Drive' routines; they get stretched too far, but they have their moments.
(14) Lum and Abner: "Money Troubles" 1948. I cringed, listening to how someone was getting fleeced by a loan shark; the story was OK though, and the characters have their endearing qualities. The cow is an interesting touch.
(15) Burns and Allen: "H & R Blockhead". I've heard that George Burns really did love Gracie and missed her a lot after she died, and that makes me feel kindly disposed toward the husband-wife comedy team. On the other hand, I don't think their humor, at least in this skit, is very sophisticated or has much in it. They think up situations that would never happen, to which the characters react in rather impossibly silly ways. And I don't like the perpetuation of the ditzy female stereotype. But it's not all that bad either, I suppose. (16) is much worse.
(16) The Great Guildersleeve: "The New Water Commissioner". I found this dreadful ¡V corny, unbelievable storyline and goofy acting. But I guess it can tell you something about the age in which it was produced and found listeners.
(17) The haunting hour: "The case of the lonesome corpse". Corny introduction and organ music, but excellent script and production of a tightly structured murder mystery, with a surprise outcome. People who venture into a certain park at night are disappearing. What happened to them?
(18) The haunting hour: "Bird of death". This is another murder mystery that will keep on you the edge of your seat. Good story and dramatization. After years of planning, secretary forges a new will for his employer then murders in cold blood in order to inherit his wealth. Will he be caught? And how?
(19) Abbott and Costello: "Down on the Farm". More plays on words, like tomato/tomorrow, two meanings of 'can', sow/sew, reap/rip. Fun, but I liked the other A&C better.
(20) The Bickersons, vol. I. and
(21) vol. II. The Bickersons are a constantly bickering married couple; each tries to get away with and wheedle out of the other what he/she can, and each needles the other about his/her weak points (e.g. his drinking, snoring; her nagging and whining). There is almost too much truth in this for comfort about men, women and how relationships often go. (21) The very best of the Bickersons, Vol. II. This one was really funny. A lot of material is repeated here and there, but so are the ways we humans react to each other in relationships! You can see that the members of this couple still care about each other, and have come to depend on their somewhat dysfunctional modes of interaction to get real needs satisfied, like those for communication and attention ¡V even if it's in the form of argument.
(22) Arch Oboler's Lights out, everybody: "Profits Unlimited"; a little corny and the acting leaves something to be desired, but they make a valid point about the potential for dehumanization and exploitation under capitalization.
(23): Arch Oboler's Lights out, everybody: "State Executioner"; this is a macabre but good historical piece about how what goes around comes around in the case of an executioner.
(24): "The Best of Baby Snooks", vol. 1; this gives a good example of the interactions between naughty Baby Snooks, played by Fanny Brice, and 'Daddy'. (25): "The Best of Baby Snooks", vol. II. Typical BS; some good gags; but overall just not my kind of humor.
(26) Hopalong Cassidy: "Dead Man's Hand"; not a bad murder mystery; a man feigns death to commit a crime; see next.
(27) Hopalong Cassidy: "Ten strike gold" I'd heard of Hopalong Cassidy in the 60s as belonging to my folks' generation of radio drama; well, now I've finally met him in voice if not person. He's a stereotypical Western hero with a patronizing laugh, especially toward his sidekick 'California', and a solution to everything. Entertaining, but slightly grating ¡V he's just too sure of himself and the others are just too stupid. In this episode he cracks a stagecoach robbery.
(28) Gangbusters: "The Rumbold Vault Robbery". A classic dramatized tale of crimesolving. Pretty good, and supposedly based on fact.
(29) Gangbusters: "The Collectors".
(30) The Great Guildersleeve: "Guildy the Great Detective"; this one was much more interesting than (16), quite engaging actually; Guildy helps de-haunt a house people fear is harboring dangerous counterfeiters.
(31) Amos 'n Andy: "Kingfish and Sapphire Split"; this one was sweet ¡V they portray real affection between Kingfish and his wife Sapphire.
(32) I love adventure: "The Devil's Sanctuary"; as the title suggests, these are hardcore, Mission Impossible-type adventure stories. They're not bad, but the audio quality of this one (from 1948) is especially poor; there's constant background percussion in the form of scratching noise, and it was difficult to understand in parts. But there are certainly no lulls in the action; corny organ music.
(33) I love adventure: "The China Coast Incident"; much like (32).
(34) The Green Hornet: "The Imposter"; a typical and somewhat silly but listenable Green Hornet adventure.
(35) This is Your FBI: "The comic strip bandits"; I like this series a lot ¡V the stories are based on real FBI cases; this one is unique and very entertaining; it's about a derelict former cartoonist and how he helps solve a crime, despite his careless bungling.
(36) This is your FBI: "Sight Seeing Killer"; a 'good' murder story that may have you on the edge of your seat in some places.
(37) Duffy's Tavern: "The First Show"; not bad, some clever word play; it was fun hearing a request for feedback on this pilot; if it was positive, the announcer said, Duffy's Tavern would become a regular feature on CBS radio (which it did).
(38) Duffy's Tavern: "Collection Time"; unfortunately most of side A has somehow been erased! What there is of this show is fine; Duffy's wants to hire a 'front man', Charles Coburn, but finds him untrustworthy after he proves to be a card shark.
(39) The Mysterious Traveler: "The House of Death"; this fictional murder story really stretches the limits of plausibility, but it makes a very good point about the importance of not assuming too much too confidently.
(40) The Mysterious Traveler: "The Good Die Young".
The End of the Affair. Based on the Graham Greene novel. Columbia Pictures.
Neil Jordan; produced by Stephen Woolley, Neil Jordan; written for the screen
and directed by Neil Jordan. Julianne Moore, Stephen Rea, Ralph Fiennes. This
is a reasonably enjoyable but not earthshaking screen version of Graham's apparently
largely autobiographical (plus a bit of wishful thinking) novel. The acting is
quite excellent in any case. DVD. 1999, 2000. (VV) PR6013.R44 E54z 2000.
2. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Based on the play by Edward Albee. Producer, Ernest Lehman; director, Mike Nichols; screenplay, Ernest Lehman; music, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor. A brilliant depiction of a passionately dysfunctional and destructive marriage. The Chinese subtitles are among the worst translations of English I've ever seen, making them quite entertaining. Brilliant acting. 1 videocassette b&w, 1966. (VC) PS3501.L178 W5z 1992 (131 min.).
Books on tape suitable for English listening practice
Dannion Brinkley. Saved by the Light. Chronicle of the author's two near-death
experiences and how they gave him a new life mission. (AC) BF1045.N4 B752z 1994
2 tapes (3 hrs.)
2. 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself: Change Your Life Forever. Steve Chandler. US, male. 1996. The reader is a former football coach with a droning, nasal monotone voice, and he actually mentions how his voice was once 'much worse'! But he speaks clearly, and the content is outstanding. He lists 100 different ways to get you full of enthusiasm and motivation to go out and become the person you really want to be inside, and live your life to the fullest. Highly recommended. (AC) BF503 C48z 1996 1 tape (90 min.)
3. Wayne W. Dyer, Wisdom of the Masters. Male, US. Hay House. Bits of pop philosophy, some nice quotes and poems (AL) BJ1581.2 D847z 1999 2 CDs
4. True Britt: Britt Ekland Reads from her Autobiography. (Decca; 2 cassettes) Life story of the Swedish actress/sex-symbol and ex of Peter Sellers and Rod Stewart, in her own words; lightly Swedish accented English. (AC) CT25 E462 2 tapes (125 min.)
5. Dame Margot Fonteyn Reads from her Autobiography. (Decca; 2 cassettes) The very colorful life of the legendary ballet dancer; her reluctant but mainly happy marriage; her acquaintance with Rudolf Nureyev; in meticulous RP. (AC) CT107 F667 2 tapes (162 min.)
6. Whoopie Goldberg. Audiobook. Whoopie's thoughts on all kinds of things, e.g. living together and personal habits, life in New York, religion, power struggles in the parking lot. (AC) PN6162 G653z 1997 2 tapes (2 hrs. 43 min.)
7. Michael Gurian. The Wonder of Boys. Interesting exploration into differences between the sexes; an effort at promoting a better understanding of what makes boys and men different. (AC) HQ775 G832z/ 1996 2 tapes (180 min.)
8. Caroline Paul. Fighting Fire. Experiences of a woman firefighter, including references to male-female interaction in a male-dominated field, dealing with life, emergencies and death. (AC) TH9118 P38z 1998 2 tapes (3 hrs.)
9. Louise Rafkin. Other People's Dirt. An educated woman's life as a housecleaner and the secrets she uncovered in the process. (AC) TX324 R34z/ 1998 2 tapes (3 hrs.)
10. Cokie Roberts. We Are Our Mothers' Daughters. Interesting stories about women by the NPR correspondent. (AC) HQ1421 R63z 1998 3 tapes (4 hrs.)
11. Danny Seo, Heaven on Earth (2 tapes 1999) A Korean-American (with a slight Korean accent) describes his program and relates his own experiences in creating small miracles to make the world a better place. (AC) BF637.H4 S46z 1999 2 tapes (3 hrs.)
12. Penny Yendell, Taking the Strain, BBC cassettes; lessons in relaxation; narrated in very slow, deliberate PR with traces of an unidentified local dialect. (AC) RA781 Y462 1 tape (66 min.)
Original novel in full; requires advanced knowledge of German.
Stefan Zweig, Schachnovelle ('Chess Novela', aka "The Royal Game,"
"Three Moves to Freedom"). "Literatur vorgelesen" (3 cassettes)
A journalist on a cruise tells of the story of a man previously kept under house
arrest by the Nazis, during which time he obsessed about chess in order to stay
sane; the man is drawn into a chess game with a Russian world chess master with
no social skills, which pulls him back into the trauma of his wartime internment;
good drama, psychological depth; impeccable reading in standard German. This book
was made into a movie with Claire Bloom in 1960 called "Brainwashed".
(AC) PF3111 Z845z 1992 3 tapes (134 min.)
German radio drama and shorter pieces
All of these are authentic works (intended for a German audience) and require an advanced or near-native knowledge of German. They vary in length. Many tend to be heavy and serious, but most are also engaging and entertaining.
Hörspiel: Am Vorabend ('On The Previous Night')
2. Hörspiel: Der Käfig ('The Cage')
3. Hörspiel: Nacht der Delphine ('Night of the Dolphin').
4. Wolfgang Altendorf, "Zwischen den Dünen" ('Between the Dunes'): (Kriminalhörspiel)
5. Wolfgang Altendorf. Hörspiel: Rache für Perro ('Revenge for Perro'): a man threatens revenge on the man who accidentally killed his dog 'Perro' with his car; Jost Nickel, Der Puppendoktor ('The Doll Doctor'): eerie story. If you are sensitive about the idea of harm coming to your eyes, better to avoid this one. (AC) PT401 A483z 1989 1 tape (45 min.).
6. Gottfried Benn. Deutsche Literatur: >>Wir lesen vor<<: Gehirne. Like the other tapes in this series, side A is a very intellectual, carefully composed discussion of the work or passage to be read aloud on side B. I found side A quite tedious, and indeed side B, the original work, was better, but it was heavy and existential and didn't thrill me much at all. It's mainly musings on human consciousness, for which the cortex is responsible ¡V this is what is referred to here by Gehirn ¡V as opposed to the parts of the brain responsible for instinctive behavior. (AC) PT2603.E46 G43 1 tape (34 min.).
7. Wolfgang Borchert. Hörspiel: "Draussen vor der Tür" ('Outside the Door'): A man named Beckman returns to his home in Hamburg, lame after three years on the Russian front in WWII. When he returns to his home, he finds his wife with another man, and he has nowhere to go. He decides to jump into the Elbe River. First the river, a woman, talks to him, than a 'Jasager', 'yes-sayer' or 'yes-man', challenges his decision to end his life. A woman who calls him 'Fish' takes the man to her home and gives him dry clothes that are too large for him, but then her husband appears and he leaves. People keep reminding him of his ugly glasses, made for use under a gas-mask, and scarecrow-like hairstyle. He visits a former commander to 'return the responsibility' he was given for the lives of 20 men ¡V 11 of whom died in the war. He is laughed out the door. He visits a producer to try and get a job in the theater. The man says his ideas are too dreary and real; 'what does art have to do with reality?' he challenges, and adds that they want someone younger and more energetic. Then he tries to visit his parents, but someone else is living in their home. He learns his parents committed suicide by gassing themselves; his father had been a little too 'active' for the Nazis. The woman who befriended him reappears briefly. Finally we hear gurgles as the voices trying to persuade Beckman to choose life fade away, even that of the yes-sayer, as does the last of Beckman's will and life-breath. (both sides) (AC) PT401 B673z 1 tape (58 min).
8. Max von der Grun. Deutsche Literatur >>Wir lesen vor<<: Stellenweise Glatteis. Read by Siegfried Wischnewski; manuscript by Ernst Zeitter; produced by Deutscher Auslandsdienst fur Rundfunk und Fernsehen. Bonn: Inter Nationes, 1979. Side 1 gives a summary and analysis of the featured work; side 2 is an excerpt. read aoud. The summary is very concise and takes concentration to follow. The analysis that follows is much easier, and it addresses the issues of documentary as art in general, and the degree to which it may be distorted or fictionalized. The work itself, based loosely on actual events, I thought was so-so, but not too difficult. (AC) PT2613.R60 S73 1 cassette (49 min. 12 sec.)
9. Heinrich Heine. Deutsche Literatur >>Wir lesen vor<<: Merkwürdigkeiten der Republik Hamburg. Side A is a long description and discussion of Heine, and how he resented having to rely on an uncle in Hamburg, due to his financial situation. Side A is more difficult to follow, I found, than the actual work, read on side B. In this relatively short piece, Heine describes a cold Hamburg where the swans' wings are clipped, so they are unable to fly to a warmer, healthier climate, drawing a fairly obvious parallel to himself. (AC) PT2303.A4 M47 1 tape (32 min.).
10. Franz Kafka. Deutsche Literatur >>Wir lesen vor<<: Archivangebot: Der Kübelreiter. Side one is a discussion of Kafka's life and writings; side two is the story. (AC) PT2621.A3 K82 1 tape.
11. Otto-Heinrich Kuehner. Hörspiel: Späte Liebe ('Autumn Love'). A widower and widow strike up a blossoming acquaintance and friendship in a cemetery, which ends in the widow's decision not to become involved in a new relationship. Engaging, touching.
12. Siegfried Lenz. Hörspiel: Die Bergung ('The Rescue'). A husband and wife quarrel almost to the point of divorce about the husband's expensive and originally fruitless project to raise a sunken vessel. (AC) PT401 L458z/ 1990 1 tape (59 min.).
13. Thomas Mann. Deutsche Literatur >>Wir lesen vor<< Königliche Hoheit, Side A is a discussion of the work between a male and a female discussant; this is easy to follow but I didn't find it all that interesting, though it does give some useful background on the work. (AC) PT2625.A44 K66 1 tape (53 min.).
14. Eva Maria Mudrich. Hörspiel: Die Minute. ('The Minute') Tightly-structured criminal drama of a man in a wheelchair on whom a young man tries to wreak revenge due to perceived unfairness to the young man's father; unexpected twists and ending.
15. Robert Musil. Deutsche Literatur >>Wir lesen vor<< Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften. ('The Man Without Characteristics'). (AC) PT2625.U8 M315 1 tape (37 min.).
16. Thomas Rosenlöcher (?). "Das Gänseblümchen" a very cute and thoughtful musical presentation, by talking plants and fences and such, addressing life, love and death. I listened to it several times.
17. Adalbert Stifter. Deutsche Literatur >>Wir lessen vor<< Wirkungen eines weissen Mantels (¡¥Effects of a white coat¡¦). During the war, a Frenchman in a white coat appears at a German castle and threatens the inhabitants; many years later he comes back to apologize and marries into the family. Side A discusses the piece. (AC) PT2525 W57
18. Deutsche Hörspiele: Side A: Karl Richard Tschon, "Halt auf freier Strecke" ('A Stop in Free Country'): A train stops for no apparent reason where there is no station, and the passengers panic. A man complains that he has an important meeting he will miss, a woman with a Pekingese tries to console her dog while she finds someone to hold responsible for the disquieting irregularity. In the meantime, the narrator eavesdrops on a pair of lovers, Antonia and Paul, who seemed unfazed by the incident and tell of their love for each other. A substitute crew is brought in to replace the engineer, who may have had a heart attack, and the train finally continues on its way. The narrator is shaken by the incident, and gets off at the next stop, although it's not his destination. He sees a woman in the crowd of waiting passengers, recognizes her, and calls out 'Antonia'. It is indeed Antonia, but she knows no 'Paul' and nothing of the incident. The narrator decides to follow her on the train she is taking, and seek their future together. This is a sort of foray into and back out of the Twilight Zone ¡V relatively engaging. The language is relatively literary and somewhat more difficult than some of the other German radio dramas. Side B: Jost Nickel, "Die Dame von der Auskunft" ('The Woman from the Information Desk'): In this macabre radio drama, a man is looking for a very ordinary book in a library, Kochen macht Spass ('Cooking is fun'). The woman from the information says repeatedly how important it is to study the library guide she has written to find your way around; many readers have gotten lost, because the library's layout is so complicated. The visitor humors her on, until he sees a desperate note written by another library patron, and lands in desperation himself. The librarian speaks quickly with lots of reduced syllables and it is somewhat difficult to catch her every word, though the main idea is usually clear. (AC) PT401 N535z 1987 1 tape (44 min.)
19. Karl Richard Tschon. Hörspiel: Neujahrsnacht.
20. Gabriele Wohmann. Deutsche Literatur >>Wir lesen vor<< Der Sand der Enttäuschung. ('The Sand of Disappointment'). (AC) PT2647.O4 S36 1 tape (47 min.)
Other German tapes
Interviews mit Kindern unter 12 Jahren. 2 cassettes. By Margit von Waltershausen.
InterNationes, 1989. These short interviews are intended to give learners practice
in listening to children speak German. The tapes feature a variety of personalities
¡V kids talking about
horses and riding, raising pedigree dogs and other pets, building model trains
and villages, living with a handicap, siblings, a typical school day, playing
'Indians' with friends, and so on. Some of the interviewees speak slowly and deliberately,
others more quickly and less precisely. These tapes require a pretty high level
of German to follow, and there is some specialized vocabulary, but they're fun
and enlightening. (AC) PF3129.G4 W357z 1989 2 tapes (97 min.)
2. Culture Capsules: German. (in English) from Audio-Forum. These little bits about Germany and German culture are dreadfully corny and outdated (this recording predates the fall of the Berlin Wall), but they provide some light and still informative listening about what to expect and watch out for when you go to Germany. (AC) PF3121 P273 1 tape (60 min.)
3. Phonetikkurs Deutsch: Aussprache, Artikulation und Intonation. This set would probably be better if used in conjunction with the accompanying book (which I haven't seen), but it's useful as is as well. Side 1 of tape one is mostly on long and short and umlauted vowels; side 2 is on fricatives ([f], [v], etc.), affricates (e.g. [pf]), palatals (the approximant [j] is mixed in with fricatives), and the liquid [l]. Tape 2, side 1: [y] and more. The sounds are pronounced once by a male speaker, who leaves a pause for repetition, then again by a female speaker with no pause (you can use the 'pause' button to repeat). Both have very standard broadcaster pronunciation and voices. The sounds are also presented in words, phrases, poems, and short prose passages. The examples made me aware of how common the /r/ sound is in German! This would be a good set to use if you're interested in fine-tuning your German pronunciation really precisely. (AC) PF3137 K895 3 tapes
4. Phonetik: Simsalabim: Ein Übungskurs für Deutschlernende. Ursula Hirschfeld, Kerstin Feinke. Goethe Institut. Langenscheidt. 1 cassette. Not in the library; available with accompanying text from Central Books. A delightful way to practice German pronunciation, intonation, and rhythm.
Miscellaneous (including Latin and EFL)
Latin Grammar #1. Audio Lingual Education. This tape, narrated by
an American male professor, who uses 'classical Latin' pronunciation, and an Italian
woman, who uses 'European' or 'Church Latin' pronunciation (what you will learn
at NTU with Prof. Castellazzi), mainly covers the first two Latin declensions,
and offers some sentence exercises. It's short, the same on both sides, and a
bit of a novelty, but not very helpful in a practical way. (AC) PA2140 L37 2 tapes
2. The Pronunciation and Reading of Classical Latin: A Practical Guide. Stephen G. Daitz. Jeffrey Norton. 2 cassettes. Tape 1 of this recording goes over the reconstructed classical Latin sounds of the individual consonants and vowels, including long vs. short vowels and diphthongs. Also noted are which consonants appear only in Greek or other foreign words. I hadn't known that final -m was unpronounced as a consonant, i.e. not bilabial, before a following vowel; it instead nasalizes the preceding vowel. Tape 2 is presentations on stress and poetic meters, including several examples of the author's idea of how classical Latin poetry and prose should be declaimed. (AC) PA2117 D34 2 tapes (105 min.)
3. Sounds Intriguing. Alan Maley and Alan Duff. Cambridge English Language Learning. This is a collection of 21 sound sequences intended to be used as material around which students can make up stories in English. In the first you hear sounds of a man washing, then he suddenly says, 'I've got it! I've solved the problem!', or something similar. Another included cocktail party sounds, then you hear the sound of ripping cloth. Many of the others I found to be difficult to interpret. But this is indeed an intriguing collection, worth having some fun with. (Here are some suggestions on how to use this teaching method) (AC) P51 M34 1 tape, 1 side (30 min.)
4. TeleTESOL: "A New Look at Memory". March 10, 1993. Speaker: Earl Stevick. This is one of a whole series of tapes of teleconferences on teaching English as a foreign language. The speaker (who unfortunately is not a very dynamic or fluent one) suggests a third kind of memory, in addition to 'short-term' and 'long-term' memory: 'temporary memory'. Many things we learn last a certain amount of time in 'temporary memory', from a few hours to a few days or maybe even a few years, but they don't make it into our basic repertoire of long-term capabilities. The sound quality is poor - it was recorded live and is unedited - but the talk has some good things in it. (AC) P106 T44z. 1 tape
5. TeleTESOL: "Learner-Centered Teaching'. July 22, 1992. Speaker: H. Douglas Brown. The speaker defines learner-centered teaching as teaching that addresses the students' own real needs rather than the teacher's needs or what the teacher thinks the students want. He emphasizes content-driven learning and group work. Very bad sound quality I couldn't make out some of the questions and, frankly, I found this one really dull.(AC) LB1575 T44z. 1 tape
Works in MP3 format downloaded from the Internet
Note: The sound quality of the free versions of these downloads is poor, but the readings are excellent. Most of the works offered on this site are mysteries. Many of the original texts of the works (in English and other languages) are available for downloading at Logos Wordtheque:
http://www.wordtheque.com/owa-wt/new_wordtheque.main?lang=en&source=search. Otherwise try a Google search.
1. Honoré de Balzac. "The Mysterious Mansion". RP, male. Reader: Stan Pretty. 24minutes; 2MP3 files, from:
http://www.dvdaudiobooks.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000200 A gruesome tale of how one man dealt with being cuckholded, and how his story was finally revealed..
2. Arnold Bennett. "The Umbrella". RP, male. Reader: Robert Donald. 45 minutes; 3 MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000212 A smile-inducing story about trust, communication, and alternative lifestyles.
3. Jorge Luis Borges. "Three Versions of Judas". RP, male. Reader: Stan Pretty. 18 minutes; 3MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000343 Borges describes what some would call a heretical theory about God's true incarnation.
4. Lewis Carroll. "Hunting of The Snark". RP, male. Reader: Stan Pretty. 36 minutes; 8 MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000278 Very Lewis Carroll. Amazing interweaving of disparate bits into an engaging and rhyming whole.
5. G. K. Chesteron. "Father Brown - Wrong Shape". RP, male. Reader: Stan Pretty. 1 hour; 4 MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000290 I have concluded that I'm not too crazy about the Father Brown series, but this was worth listening to to find out what the stories are like. A quite contrived and improbable murder mystery, but fun if you like the detective genre.
6. Wilkie Collins. "Blow up with the Brig!" RP, male. Reader: Stan Pretty. 45 minutes; 2 MP3 files, from: http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000167 I haven't been disappointed by Collins yet. A man recalls a hair-raising adventure at sea in which he almost lost his life.
7. Wilkie Collins. "Fatal Cradle". RP, male. Reader: Stan Pretty. 1 hour; 4 MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000168 A man blames his fate on a suspected mix-up at his birth. A bit drawn out, but well written.
8. Wilkie Collins. The Moonstone. RP, male. Reader: Nick Stevens. 18 hours, 45 minutes; 79 MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000302 An incredibly fine reading of an intelligent and engaging book, with professional renderings of dialect and characterizations. I couldn't bring myself to ever care much about the lost gem, but the dialogue and descriptions of human interactions are unmatched. This is a very long work, and it gets off to a slow start, but it is a meticulously constructed detective mystery and well worth the time it takes to get through it.
9. Wilkie Collins. "A Terribly Strange Bed". RP, male. Reader: Robert Donald. 1 hour; 4 MP3 files, from: http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000256 A suspense thriller about a man looking for casual adventure in a skid row gambling house, but who ends up nearly murdered in his bed. Good reading but poor sound quality.
10. Wilkie Collins. "Who Killed Zebedee". RP, male. Reader: Robert Donald. 1 hour; 4 MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000152 A dying man confesses to a priest something important he neglected, out of love, to do during his lifetime. Satisfying murder mystery.
11. Alphonse Daudet. "The Pope's Mule". RP, male. Reader: Stan Pretty. 30 minutes; 2 MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000253 A satisfying tale of retribution that made me laugh.
12. Daniel Defoe. "Ghost of Dorothy Dingley". RP, male. Reader: Robert Donald. 30 minutes; 2 MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000220 A young man is troubled on his way to school every day by visions of a female ghost. The narrator is persuaded by the family to try and get to the bottom of the young man's distress.
13. Charles Dickens. "Signalman". RP, male. Reader: Robert Donald. 42 minutes; 3 MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000272 A signalman hears and sees a ghost, and tragedies befall him.
14. Arthur Conan Doyle. "Disintegration Machine". RP, male. Reader: Robert Donald. 36 minutes; 2 MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000180 "Another science fiction adventure of Professor Challenger." A reporter gets a cantankerous scientist friend to come with him to help check out a new invention: one that vaporizes anything or anybody into the ether, and that can then reconstitute the thing or person later. The inventor says he'll sell it to whoever can pay the price, and that person or country will then be able to conquer the world. Professor Challenger is eventually persuaded that the invention really works; and he has his own way of dealing with the inventor and his powerful creation.
15. Nathaniel Hawthorne. "Edward Randolph's Portrait". RP, male. Reader: Robert Donald. 36 minutes; 3 MP3 files; from: http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000217 Typical Hawthorne, complete with an obscure picture on the wall, black veils, old hidden guilt, and doing the wrong thing in the face of social pressure, outright warnings from the past and present, and conscience.
16. Washington Irving. "Spectre Bridegroom". RP, male. Reader: Robert Donald. 45 minutes; 3 MP3 files; from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000229 A delightful ghost story of an interrupted wedding between a German baron's beautiful daughter and a count who has been attacked by robbers on his way to the ceremony.
17. D. H. Lawrence. "Ticket Please". RP, male. Reader: Stan Pretty. 30 minutes; 2 MP3 files, from: http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000279 A group of girls get their revenge on a handsome charismatic young Romeo who won't commit. Shockingly violent.
18. Jack London. "All Gold Canyon". RP, male. Reader: Robert Donald. 1 hour; 5 MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000187 Incredible attention to detail, character and plot development. Surprise ending; a satisfying story beautifully read.
19. Jack London. "Terrible Solomons". RP, male. Stan Pretty. 45 minutes; 3 MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000082 Full of gruesome, gratuitous violence which soon becomes tiring and jades the listener. But an interesting encounter between a naive, "civilized" white man and the realities of a cannibalistic culture.
20. H. P. Lovecraft. "Moon-Bog". RP, male. Reader: Robert Donald. 30 minutes; 2 MP3 files, from: http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000270 A relatively conventional ghost/horror story set in a castle in Ireland. OK, but I wasn't that enthralled. I thought Lovecraft would be much weirder than this.
21. Guy de Maupassant. "The Hand". RP, male. Reader: Robert Donald. 15 minutes; 2 MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000248 A grisly fantasy, apparently about the ghosts that follow us till our death.
22. Guy de Maupassant. "Who Knows?" RP, male. Reader: Robert Donald. 36 minutes, 3 MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000275 A fun and quirky story and Maupassant's last, when he was suffering from mental illness due to syphilis about a solitude-loving man who voluntarily checks into an insane asylum after he witnesses his furniture run away.
23. Saki. "Tobermory". RP, male. Reader: Stan Pretty. 24 minutes, 2MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000244 Probably my favorite Saki tale. What would happen if your cat decided to gossip to everybody about everything he sees you do and hears you say?
24. Sir Walter Scott. "Tapestried Chamber". RP, male. Reader: Stan Pretty. 42 minutes, 3 MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000243 I never was able to get through more of a few sentences of Scott in print; and even as an audio book Scott's writing is really too dense, ornate and antiquated and slow-moving even for the period he lived in. But thanks to the audio format I have finally finished something by this author! In contrast to the highly elaborate and verbose narrative, this is a very, very simple and conventional ghost story.
25. Mark Twain. "The £1,000,000 Bank-Note". RP, male. Reader: Stan Pretty. 1 hour, 4MP3 files, from:
http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/download/default.asp?refnum=1000245 A fun story with a happy ending. Told in Stan Pretty's imitation of a US accent. The [æ]s and most of his other vowels are fine, though he keeps [əʊ] for [oʊ]; he is, however, mostly non-rhotic (keeping an instrusive 'r'), and misplaces taps in words like insulted and altitude. But it's a fine reading nevertheless.