UKEMI AUDIOBOOKS is a new digital label for the spoken word founded by Nicolas Soames. It presents fiction and non-fiction titles which are either unavailable as downloads or which need fresh, clear and authoritative recordings. They range from C J Jung’s important autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections and Seneca’s The Moral Epistles, to Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks and Samuel Beckett’s Murphy. For details of all releases click on the CATALOGUE tab. All titles can be downloaded from Audible.
NEW FOR JUNE: Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy
The very full tradition of philosophy in the West goes some way to excuse the concentration of study from Zeno through Nietzsche to Ayer – but this is less acceptable in our global times. So feels Bryan W. Van Norden who has spent a lifetime using his extensive knowledge of Chinese language, history and culture to give, for us, its rich philosophical tradition a deeper perspective, far beyond the single figure of Confucius.
In this highly accessible Introduction, he shows how important Kongzi (Kongzi is to Confucius as Beijing is to Peking) remains in Chinese culture, even today. But he highlights other important strands of thought from figures who emerged particularly during the Eastern Zhou dynasty (770-221 BCE). Among these were Mozi and the Mohists, and Mengzi (Mencius as he was known in the West) and Zhuangzi.
Van Norden recorded his volume of Mengzi for Ukemi Audiobooks when in the UK in 2019; but with (ironically) the intervention of the Covid Interregnum, his Introduction to Chinese Classical Philosophy has been recorded by Brian Nishii, the Los Angeles-based reader.
THE RECORDING OF SUMMA THEOLOGICA BY THOMAS AQUINAS IS FINISHED!
Martyn Swain’s reading of Thomas Aquinas’s magnum opus, Summa Theologica is now complete with the issue of Volume 4 Part III (Tertia Pars). It has been a huge undertaking both for Martyn and Ukemi Audiobooks, encompassing, as it does, some 220 hours spread over the four volumes. And all in exactly a year! Volume 1 was released in May 2020.
As has been mentioned Ukemi Audiobooks before, Martyn Swain’s background is in simultaneous translation, from French in particular but also German; he lives in Cape Town, and among his most memorable assignments has been interpreting for Nelson Mandela, as well as working for international media.
Martin’s audiobook work started with Ukemi and his recordings include Jung and Heidegger. But the huge task of Summa Theologica has proved a major achievement, not least in terms of sustained, clear reading. Clarity and accuracy has been the watchword – important because the work remains one of the most important theological and philosophical classics in Western literature.
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) set a new bar for theological discussion here because he brought into view non-Christian sources, among them Aristotle, Cicero, Avicenna, Averroes and Al-Ghazali. The pattern maintained throughout involved present important Questions which are then considered and challenged in various ways.
Part III (Tertia Pars), concentrates on the person and the work of Christ and is more determinedly theological in content. It was left unfinished at his death…but still runs for nearly 48 hours.
The English translation of Summa Theologica, itself a major task, was the work of the singular Dominican priest Father Laurence Shapcote, who, curiously, lived and worked in South Africa – not far from where Martyn Swain himself lives!
Shortly after finishing Summa Theologica (and taking a break on the beaches of Cape Town), the indefatigable Martyn returned to the studio to record a very different project, The Myth of the Framework, a collection of essays by Karl Popper! It is scheduled to be released on Audible in May.
SPANISH AUDIOBOOKS – Ukemi Audiolibros
Meanwhile, Ukemi Audiolibros, the growing Spanish wing, has been in the recording studio, working on two more titles. Así habló Zaratustra, Nietzsche’s most famous text, is read by Fernando Simón and is now available on Audible. And La interpretación de los sueños, read by Salvador Bosch should be up on the site towards the end of February.
There are five titles available at the moment:
More are on the way!
TRACK LISTS – IMPROVED INFORMATION
New Chaptering / Track List Service from Ukemi Audiobooks
A number of regular listeners have pointed out that while Ukemi recordings are widely valued, the chaptering or track lists of the recordings when downloaded from Audible can be improved.
As a result of these comments we have been looking more closely at the system and we see that Ukemi uploads have not matched Audible protocols. Detailed information for chapters/track points provided by Ukemi have often been contracted into Chapter 1, Chapter 2 formulas.
This is not helpful for some of the titles we offer. In many cases, there are no ‘chapters’ in the original texts (!) which leads to confusion for the listener; or at the very least it means that the paucity of the information means the listener finds it difficult to navigate back to particular points to listen again or check something.
Recently, in some cases, we have supplied supplementary PDFs, which can be downloaded with the recording. These contain clearer information – though sometimes by the time the recording has gone through Audible’s system, the tracks do not match.
We hope, from now on, this mismatch will no longer occur. But there is the issue of the back catalogue. Following discussions between Ukemi and Audible, we hope that, gradually, the ‘chapter/track list’ information will be upgraded. But we realise that Audible has a huge task in ingesting the increasing number of new audiobooks being released by publishers each month, and back catalogue improvements may be lower on its priority.
So, to help, Ukemi is offering downloadable pdfs with track information that matches the existing recordings.
You will see, at the top of this page, a new dropdown menu – TRACK LIST PDFS. You will see, to start with, track information for all seven of The Socratic Dialogues (Plato), The Nicomachean and Eudemian Ethics (Aristotle), Capital (Karl Marx) and Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Jung). More will be added at regular intervals.
Here is an example of what these Track List pdfs provide.
We will endeavour to add to these lists regularly. But if you don’t find a title that you are listening to, or for which a track list would be particularly helpful, please get in contact (see under CONTACT) and we will respond as soon as we can.
And, of course, we welcome feedback.