One of the World’s First Audio Books Discovered in Canada
A recording of one of the world’s earliest audiobooks has been discovered by a collector in Canada, according to the Los Angeles Times. The 1935 recording of an audio version of the novella “Typhoon” by Joseph Conrad was the world’s first audiobook of a long literary work, though a Bible recording and one of an Agatha Christie mystery novel had already been released.
Conrad's “Typhoon,” released in 1902 (he's pictured in 1915 in the image above), was part of the first wave of audiobooks, then designed for blind literature fans rather than today’s road trippers. Before that time, audio recordings of literature was mostly limited to short works like poetry. The four LPs of the book were discovered by a Canadian collector who contacted a teacher at Queen Mary University of London, Matthew Rubery, whose book The Untold Story of the Talking Book was just released.
The UK’s Royal National Institute of Blind People started making its “Talking Books” in 1935 as a service to blind veterans of World War I. The institution already produced braille books, started a braille magazine in 1871—it’s still published today—and created an Arabic braille code and a dictionary of braille contractions over the subsequent few decades. Though the organization now has digital downloads of books, it’s extremely rare to find one of the original vinyl recordings.
[h/t Los Angeles Times]