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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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ASSIGNMENT: “found” audiobook + presentation

For our next meeting on 9/13, I want you to write a blog post and report on it with a very brief (max 5 min) presentation on any audiobook version of a fiction text that you can get your hands on. Sources might include:

  • free/open texts read by amateurs on librivox.org (which Rubery mentions in his article)
  • texts you download/check out from your local library or the GC’s library
  • texts you buy from iTunes or Google Play or audible.com
  • texts you own or discover at flea markets/secondhand stores

I’d like you to think about and comment on some of the following:

  • production values: how much went into the recording, in terms of vocal training, editing, recording technology, etc.?
  • style: is there a single voice or multiple voices? Does the narrator (or do the narrators) do “voice characterization,” modulating the voice for different characters, or not?
  • fidelity: is the recording abridged or unabridged? Does it stick rigorously to the text or deviate from it?
  • affect: what does it feel like to “read” this text? How does it differ from reading a printed work of fiction?