The Untold Story of the Talking Book

The Untold Story of the Talking Book

Book - 2016
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This work traces the tradition from phonographic books made on wax cylinders to talking books made for blinded soldiers returning from the First World War and, much later, the commercial audiobooks heard today. Addressing the vexed relationship between orality and print, the author shows how talking books developed both as a way of reproducing printed books and as a way of overcoming their limitations. In an overview, he charts the talking book's evolution across numerous media (records, tapes, discs, digital files), its reception by a bemused public, and impassioned disputes over its legitimacy. Testimonials drawn from the archives of charities for war-blinded veterans and pioneering audio publishers, including Caedmon, Books on Tape, and Audible, recreate how audiences over the past century have responded to literature read out loud. This book poses a series of conceptual questions too: What exactly is the relationship between spoken and printed texts? How does the experience of listening to books compare to that of reading them? What influence does a book's narrator have over its reception? What methods of close listening are appropriate to such narratives? What new formal possibilities are opened up by sound recording? Sound technology turns out to be every bit as important as screens to the book's ongoing transformation.
Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2016.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780674545441
0674545443
Branch Call Number: 002.09 RUBER
Characteristics: 369 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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tbdrew
Nov 09, 2018

I love talking books. The only time I am without one in my car is when I'm waiting for my next choice to arrive at the library. So I thought I would love this book.

It's more academic than popular, which I might be able to get through, but the narrator of the audiobook version has such a boring, monotone voice with no emotion or inflection. It surprised me since I thought this book would be lauding the talking book.

There is a point of view that narrators should not infuse their own interpretation into talking books, but this is so dry (and a bit technical) that my mind wanders off. Surprisingly disappointing. I won't be able to finish this book.

" ' Joyce reduces language to pure music; and, hearing it, one slips into a kind of swoon, a not even listening for words, but only the ebb and flow of sound. The reading-aloud is not one more tool to help penetrate the jungle, but a part of the text.' " " The Shakespeare collection presented ' a true essence of MACBETH,' not ' a chopped-up series of disconnected speeches.' The same with Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY: ' Although necessarily shortened, the book's essence is transmitted perfectly.' " " Stephen Crane's THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE and other albums even directed listeners who wanted the full story to Random House's Modern Library." Not my normal type of book; but, for what it is, it seems very good, in its own way.

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zvanstanley
Jan 17, 2018

Somewhat funny that we don't have this as an audiobook...

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