As 2019 ends six new titles appear on the Ukemi website…and again, what a rich range! Freud’s ‘Autobiographical Study’ sits with the Jacobean essays of Sir Francis Bacon – ‘Counsels, Civil and Moral’; and the great ancient Indian epic ‘The Rāmāyana’ is there, with Friedrich Engels’ remarkable (for a 24 year old) account of ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844’, which virtually served as his calling card when he met Karl Marx in Paris shortly after its publication. The breadth of human enterprise and human learning never fails to stimulate me, frankly, as I cast my eye over what to record next.

And I must say that I am continually grateful to correspondents – to this website – who, living all over the world, bring ideas to the Ukemi plate. Many I can’t do for a variety of reasons – commercial, contractual, or because they are so undeniably if entertainingly obscure (I continue to be amazed, and continue to applaud the range of interests of all you out there!!!).

But some hit the jackpot. Violet suggested the Engels (and initially I wrote back to say I put it in my ‘obscure’ pot; but on further research I realised how important it was! And went ahead!). Aaron suggested Bacon’s ‘Essays’, and got much the same response ­– and result.

Morris lives in Somerset, and every month or so meets with friends to read and study texts in Sanskrit. Wow! What about the ‘The Rāmāyana’, he wrote. Yessir, I said, knowing that Sagar Arya would be perfect, not least because his wife, Anwesha had studied Sanksrit at SOAS and could translate the parts that Griffith, (constrained so he explained by Victorian morality), left out. Too much intimacy going on for too long…

A number of correspondents, including Behrooz, pointed out that in our Nietzsche collection, The Dawn of Day was missing. Thank you!

And so it continues. I am writing just before the close of 2019, and I can tell you that in the Audible queue for 2020 are two more titles, again very different. ‘The Golden Bough’, Sir James Frazer’s classic anthropological text has been read by Andrew Cullum – not the massive 12 volume text, but the one volume overview which Frazer himself compiled in 1922. It still runs to some 44 hours, and so engrossed was Andrew that having finished the recording he went out and bought further volumes. This, like so many Ukemi recordings, will be the first time on audio.

And again (how many ‘ands’ are there!!!) there is Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov. This absolutely magical novel may have been overshadowed by the momentous Russian literature of Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky et al, but I can assure you it is a gem of its own. It is a curiously sympathetic account of an all-too-common figure in mid-19th century Russia – an idle rich absentee landowner who lives in Petersburg off the proceeds of his country estate. But Oblomov is beset not so much by urban profligacy and indulgence but by lassitude. Totally engrossing in its portraiture and internal conflicts. Read with warmth by Leighton Pugh. Look out for it.

One example of contractual restrictions is Psychological Types by C. G Jung. This important title is available from Audible’s US site only due to copyright restrictions.

I note that in 2019, Ukemi released some 30 titles. Not a bad number, especially as some of those were extremely long. We do try to give the complete works, where possible. And as we go on to 2020, I don’t expect this to be any different. There are more unusual but carefully chosen titles in the pipeline I can assure you. Stay tuned! And keep those suggestions coming.


****As I have mentioned in previous messages, having a very international list of titles, we try to take care in pronunciation of places and names – which often a complicated and controversial topic. When it comes to Latin, should we present the kind of Latin taught traditionally in schools and universities – with the ‘w’ sound for v, and should c be hard or soft or middling? Or should it be Church Latin? And as for classical Greek – does anyone really know. And for those philosophers who used Greek and Latin – what kind of pronunciation did they have in their heads? But, as Matthew Lloyd Davies noted when he settled down to record Plutarch’s Moralia Volume 1, STUFFED with Greek names, you do your research and makes your choice! He became so engrossed and invigorated, or exhausted, by it, he lightened it all by setting them all to music. Here is the fruit of his labours. Salutations to Matthew Lloyd Davies!

Nicolas Soames

End of December 2019