This CD set collects audio recordings of British playwrights and novelists, dating from the "most important early commercial recording of a literary figure" (Arthur Conan Doyle) to Muriel Spark being interviewed on the radio in 1989. (In fact, most of the extracts are from BBC radio, and most are interviews.) The earlier recordings are necessarily shorter than the later ones, limited to about three minutes due to the recording technology of the time (a side or two of a shellac disc), while later ones are generally above the five minute mark. Tolkien gets the longest extract, at 11 minutes 44 seconds.
A full list of the authors included: Arthur Conan Doyle, Arthur Machen, Baroness Orczy, Rudyard Kipling, Algernon Blackwood,W Somerset Maugham, G K Chesterton, E M Forster, P G Wodehouse, Virginia Woolf, J R R Tolkien, Rebecca West, Aldous Huxley, J B Priestley, Noel Coward, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, Nancy Mitford, C P Snow, Daphne du Maurier, Ian Fleming, William Golding, Angus Wilson, Anthony Burgess, Muriel Spark, Doris Lessing, Harold Pinter, J G Ballard, John Le Carré, and Joe Orton.
Generally, as they are interviews, the writers are talking about books and writing, though some are prepared talks (Machen on Dickens, Chesterton on The Spice of Life, Forster on The Challenge of Our Time, for instance). Only Algernon Blackwood is reading a full short story ("Pistol Against a Ghost"), though Baroness Orczy's contribution is a mix of drama and autobiography, as she recounts how she came to start writing, with the aid of an actor speaking for her famous character, the Scarlet Pimpernel. There is certainly a high degree of plumminess among the earlier writers, though things kick off with Conan Doyle's soft Scottish accent, and grow more demotic as we approach the latter half of the 20th Century. Tolkien's donnish ramble is perhaps the most difficult to understand, but you do get the sound effect of him lighting his pipe as compensation!
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The Spoken Word - a collection of authors7 Jan. 2009
Emerson L. Schwartzkopf
- Published on Amazon.com
For the benefit of those who'd like to order this, here's the lineup:
The Spoken Word: British Writers
Disc One 1. Arthur Conan Doyle 2. Arthur Machen 3. Baroness Emmuska (`Emma') Orczy 4. Rudyard Kipling 5. Algernon Blackwood 6. W Somerset Maugham 7. G K Chesterton 8. E M Forster 9. P G Wodehouse 10. Virginia Woolf
Disc Two 1. J R R Tolkien 2. Rebecca West 3. Aldous Huxley 4. J B Priestley 5. Noel Coward 6. Evelyn Waugh 7. Graham Greene 8. Nancy Mitford 9. C P Snow
Disc Three 1. Daphne du Maurier 2. Ian Fleming 3. William Golding 4. Angus Wilson 5. Anthony Burgess 6. Muriel Spark 7. Doris Lessing 8. Harold Pinter 9. J G Ballard 10. John le Carré 11. Joe Orton
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Is This All They Have to Say?3 Jan. 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
Would it have been too much trouble to list the authors included in THIS three-cd set since a six cd set was reviewed in today's Wall Street Journal? To buy this item is to risk having to face the choice of forgoing half the collection or duplicating it. See WSJ.com for the review to which I refer by Brian Carney. The Somerset Maugham track sounds irresistible.
And ignore my rating since Amazon will not permit me to post without declaring one. Sfacim!
Forgive me if this is less of a review and more of a warning to vigilance about what you would be buying with your attenuated bankroll.