Long-lost audiobook – one of the earliest ever published – discovered in Canada

A copy of world’s full-length audiobook ever made, a 1935 recording of Joseph Conrad’s novella “Typhoon” has been discovered in Canada by a London-based professor.

Mattew Rubery, who is the author of The Untold Story of the Talking Book, said a record collector in Canada had contacted him to say he had a copy of the rare audio-book, a set of four LP vinyl records.

Surprised over the discovery, he said


Audiobooks have been around since the 1930s, but initially contained only short stories or poems. They were pioneered in the United Kingdom by the Royal National Institute of Blind People, which now has a library of 25,000 titles available as digital downloads rather than the heavy shellac records of the 1930s, and in the United States by the American Foundation for the Blind and the Library of Congress.

The recording resurfaced through research by Rubery, a professor of modern literature at Queen Mary University of London, for his new book on the history of talking books – which he regards as an influential modern art form. A Canadian vintage record collector contacted him to say he had acquired the Typhoon set, but had no idea of its significance until he read of Rubery’s work


The author Charitz

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