NEW FOR JUNE: Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy

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.


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.

Martyn Swain

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: