Hear what may be the first full-length audio book, found in Canada
Matthew Rubery has found what he believes is the first full-length audio book — a 1935 recording of Joseph Conrad's 'Typhoon'.
Matthew Rubery: I've been corresponding for about a year now with a vintage record collector named Mike Dicecco, and we would talk about some other discs — we just shared an interest in discs that played at unusual rates — and it only came to our attention a few weeks ago that he had one of these first recordings made for blind people.
Carol Off: How did he end up with the recording?
CO: Why do you suspect that this is the first talking book — Joseph Conrad's 'Typhoon'?
CO: How would they choose this particular novel to record for soldiers who had been blinded?
MR: It is a bit of a mystery to me why they would choose this one. Conrad did have other stories with storytellers. I mean, Marlow is another famous storyteller, but they didn't choose that one. Conrad also wrote other stories with blind characters, but they didn't chose that one. They chose this one which is just a classic sea yarn. I'm thinking it's just a good ol' seafaring adventure tale that was a form of escapism, and a lot of readers at the time just wanted to be entertained and to hear a really good story, and Conrad's reputation at the time was as a popular storyteller.
CO: Are there any recordings that you're still looking for?
MR: Yeah, I'm hoping some of these records will turn up eventually. I looked all over Britain, I looked all over the United States for some of these recordings. I hadn't so much looked in Canada for some reason. That's one reason why this lucky find has caught me off guard ... The Agatha Christie records are still missing, the Gospel According to John are still missing and then one or two others. So, if anyone has an old record for blind people up in their attic, please let me know.
For more on this story, listen to our full interview with Matthew Rubery