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Rubery online lecture on audio books next week (9/17)

In a bit of kismet, Matthew Rubery, whose pioneering work on the audiobook and oralizations of novels we will be reading and discussing, is giving an online lecture next week at U of IL. Details below: I’m going to try to catch part of it around my teaching schedule.


The Center for Children’s Books at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign is having an online lecture that will be of interest to those DHers with audio interests. Please see abstract below and attached flyer:

Prof. Matthew Rubery, “Book Audio”
Sept 17, 12-1pm CST

Audiobooks do more than reproduce printed books. Although the audiobook’s reliance on sound is sometimes perceived as a liability, there are numerous instances in which the addition of sound effects might be said to enhance the reading experience. This presentation examines recordings that take advantage of the audiobook’s affordances to go beyond simply replicating print. Drawing on sources ranging from children’s books to celebrity memoirs, it takes up the question: What happens when publishers experiment with sound to create “book audio” instead of audiobooks—that is, recordings whose soundtracks go beyond the verbal description of sounds by using actual sounds?

To sign up, check this URL for the Zoom info on 9/17: https://ccb.ischool.illinois.edu/ss/

Jenna’s Bartleby Story

The process of making the computer voiced Bartleby was frustrating, and perhaps rewarding for overcoming the frustration. Within our group we had differing interpretations of the text and therefore had to work to come up with a concept that satisfied us all. It seemed that we were all down with the using computer voices for the characters other than Bartleby as a metaphor for the machine of capitalism. However, some group members had more sympathy for the narrator than others. Through our meeting before class last week I felt that we were at an artistic impasse. While that was no fun, once we’d arrived at a solution, I felt a real thrill at having worked through issues.

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Bartleby the Liberated Audiobook

Call me lazy, efficient, or a sneak: I doubled-dipped on this week’s homework and listened to Bartleby the Scrivener, read by Bob Tassinari. Part-time grad students who are full-time workers, amirite? Bartleby was my first Melville and my first audiobook. I’m not the best aural learner, and I rarely read books older than me or authored by men and even more rarely books by white men. We all gotta fight the patriarchy and systemic oppression in whatever ways work for us, right?

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