Ukemi Audiobooks September 2020

Ukemi Audiobooks September 2020

The four new recordings being added to the Ukemi Audiobooks list this month continue along paths set by earlier releases. Once embarked upon an author or a topic, I find it worthwhile and illuminating to answer the question: ‘What next?’

The enormous undertaking that was Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica demands, insists even, continuation. And Volume 2 (Part I of Part II, Prima Secundae) is even more fascinating because one of the most influential medieval intellects in the Catholic tradition casts his net over wider philosophical waters than in the opening Part. The topics include Treatise on Human Acts, Treatise on Habits, and Treatise on Law, in which Aquinas discusses his subjects in human as well as theological terms. Martyn Swain’s reading is as steady and as clear as always.

His distinctive reading style is prominent in the second Ukemi recording of Martin Heidegger: Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics. This controversial evaluation of Kant was published in 1929, two years after the ground-breaking Being and Time, and is widely regarded as a supplement to the work which first established Heidegger’s international reputation.

The third new recording is completely different. Ukemi began its series on the early Arthurian texts with The Mabinogion, the 12/13th century compilation of Welsh stories of the events and personalities surrounding the court of Caerlleon – drawing on ancient tales and legends. Then came Four Arthurian Romances by Chrétien de Troyes, the French trouvère who laid the foundations for the continental accounts of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Now, after many requests, Ukemi presents Perceval – The Story of the Grail, which is arguably the single most important Arthurian romance, containing as it does the very first mention of the mysterious Grail. Nigel Bryant, translator of many Medieval French texts, has brought together not only the original Chrétien accounts, but also the four main Continuations. Chrétien died before he could complete his story, and the Continuations, most notably by Gerbert de Montreuil, present the story of Perceval and the Grail in its rich final form. Bryant presents all Chrétien’s work, and then the major key sections of the Continuations, offering précis of passages which are of narrative but less literary importance. It is engagingly read by Mike Rogers.

The fourth ‘new’ title this month isn’t completely new…Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations read by Michael Lunts was actually released on Audible in April, but for some unaccountable reason (human error!) was missed during subsequent Ukemi website updates. Acknowledged as the first book of modern political economy, there are, not surprisingly, a number of unabridged recordings now available. Those who know Michael Lunts’ very approachable and admirably clear reading style from his many Ukemi recordings will need no special persuasion!!! It is also another ‘continuation’ for it follows Lunts’ widely admired recording of Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments, (released in 2018) which is decorated by numerous 5 stars on Audible.

Nicolas Soames

20 August 2020