Thursday, September 5, 2013

Story-readings by Blackwood, Dunsany, Coppard, etc.

Just a quick plug here for a CD released in "The Spoken Word" series put out by the BBC and the British Library.  Short Stories: English and Irish Authors Read Their Own Work is a three disc compilation that includes  two stories read by Algernon Blackwood, one by Lord Dunsany, one by A.E. Coppard, one by Angela Carter, one by Kingsley Amis, as well as other authors including W. Somerset Maugham, William Trevor, Harold Pinter, Edna O'Brien, V.S. Pritchett, Sean O'Faolain, Phyllis Bentley, and Frank O'Connor.

The Blackwood tales include "The Destruction of Smith", first published in The Eye-Witness for 29 February 1912, and collected in Pan's Garden (1912); and "The Texas Farm Disappearance", published in The Listener for 13 May 1948, and collected in the section titled "Five Strange Stories" in The Magic Mirror: Lost Supernatural and Mystery Stories by Algernon Blackwood (1989), edited by Mike Ashley.  The recording of "The Destruction of Smith" was first broadcast on 6 September 1940, and that of "The Texas Farm Disappearance" was first broadcast on 10 May 1948. 

Lord Dunsany's tale is one of Joseph Jorkens, "The Pearly Beach", first published in Vanity Fair for March 1932, and collected in Jorkens Remembers Africa (1934).

A.E. Coppard's tale is "The Princess of Kingdom Gone", which first appeared in Voices for November 1919, and was collected in Adam and Eve and Pinch Me (1921). 

The Angela Carter story is "The Snow Child" and the Kingsley Amis on "The Green Man Revisited".

For me it's been especially nice to hear Blackwood and Dunsany read their own tales.  Blackwood's voice is more restrained than I might have expected considering his fame as a reader of ghost stories.  And Dunsany seems to have (to these American ears) only a slight Irish lilt in some words. Both are effective as readers of their stories. 

For more details, here are the Amazon US and Amazon UK links. 

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