10 August 2010

Early Modern works on Librivox

Today, I completed my thirty-sixth -- and final -- hour of Henry Fielding's The History of Tom Jones, the audiobook.

I've tried (and failed) to complete Tom Jones the "old-fashioned" way on two earlier occasions, but only managed success by marrying the wonder of spoken word to a hand-eye task just routinely dull enough to make the novel comparably exciting.

To celebrate, I'm posting a few of the early modern English works I've found on Librivox. Librivox -- a site that provides audiobooks of works in the public domain -- is a surprisingly decent resource for early modern literature, since (of course) it's all already in the public domain. (It's okay for medieval, too, but great for nineteenth-century stuff.) Unfortunately, the site's search is limited to, more or less, "Author," "Title" and "Category," making it difficult to stumble across works in your period unless you know to look for them. Having users curate private collections of "favorite listening" could fill in the gaps. This list is a step in that direction.

Francis Bacon, Novum Organum
--------------, Essays

George Chapman, "Hero and Leander"

---------------, "Saint Distaff's Day"

Ben Jonson, The Forest

----------------, "To His Coy Mistress"

John Milton, Areopagitica
------------, Paradise Lost
------------, Paradise Regained
------------, Samson Agonistes

Sir Thomas More, Utopia

Dorothy Osborne, Love Letters

Katherine Philips, Poems

Sir Walter Raleigh, "The Lie"

William Shakespeare, "As You Like It"
---------------------, "Fidele"
---------------------, "Hamlet"
---------------------, "Julius Caesar"
---------------------, "King Lear"
---------------------, "Measure for Measure"
---------------------, "The Merchant of Venice"
---------------------, "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
---------------------, "Much Ado About Nothing"
---------------------, "Othello"
---------------------, "The Passionate Pilgrim"
---------------------, "Richard II"
---------------------, "Richard III"
---------------------, "Romeo and Juliet" (other versions available)
---------------------, Sonnets (other versions available)

Sir Philip Sydney, Astrophil and Stella
-----------------, "My True Love"

Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (all 6 books)
-----------------, Prothalamion, from Long Poems 005

Sir John Suckling, "The Constant Lover"

Have any others to add?


Sarah Werner said...

Wow, this is great! Although the guy reading Novum Organum is just ripping through it--I don't think my ears could keep up!

I just found Mary Wroth's Pamphilia to Amphilanthus: http://librivox.org/pamphilia-to-amphilanthus-by-lady-mary-wroth/

Now if someone would record Urania and Arcadia, I would be all set...

Whitney said...

Excellent addition!

Yes, I should have warned that some of the readers are . . . not trained voice actors. Librivox seems to make some effort to weed out the worst, but a few are quite bad still.

The Traveling Antiquarian said...

I stumbled across your blog less than an hour ago, while searching for blogs to read on my subject area. (I recently decided to turn my hobby into a blog.) I am glad that I did! I am going to the website now, to see what I can find in the way of John Dryden. I will let you know what the results are! Thanks for this post!

The Traveling Antiquarian said...

I found two of his short poems, "Happy the Man," and "Fair Iris I Love and Hourly I Die," and both were well-spoken.

Thanks again for posting this, I could (and probably will) spend hours poking around on this site.

Whitney said...

I didn't think to look up Dryden -- thanks, Christopher!

Also just noticed Aphra Behn is represented; Oroonoko (http://librivox.org/oroonoko-or-the-royal-slave-by-aphra-behn/) and two short poems (http://librivox.org/newcatalog/search.php?title=&author=behn&status=all&action=Search).

Anonymous said...

I don't have anything to add, but I am in awe of this post. My iPod listening for the rest of the year is now sorted! Thank you so much.