Welcome to Ukemi Audiobooks 2020

Welcome to Ukemi Audiobooks 2020

We have started with three very different titles which, by happenstance, rather reflects the Ukemi character: one 20th century philosophical classic, one great but often neglected 19th Russian novel, and perhaps the first anthropological study ever published.

There are few more challenging texts than Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time – one of the pillars of existentialism. However, listeners are given a helping hand with a very clear introduction to the work by one of the leading Heidegger experts. Professor Taylor Carman of Barnard College, Columbia University explains in his concise opening remarks how Heidegger sits in between Kierkegaard and Sartre; and proceeds to present an overview and guide to the clear, steady recording by the indefatigable Martyn Swain.

Ivan Goncharov’s Oblomov may exist slightly in the shadows of the big Tolstoys and Dostoyevskys, but for those coming to it for the first time I can assure you it will be an endearing discovery. Oblomov is most comfortable living a life of ease – in his bed even – made possible by the luxury of living off the fruits of his family estate. But is such a life really beneficial? His friends demur.

The Golden Bough, Sir James George Frazer’s enormous 19th century study in magic and religion was the first work to look in observational, non-judgemental mode at habits of societies, ancient and existing, from across the globe. Originally published in in 1890, and regularly revised in succeeding years, It opened the way to the scientific study of anthropology. It covered many volumes, containing a vast amount of knowledge. In 1922, Frazer made his own reduction, covering most of the major points – though at 44 hours it is still not a quick survey!!!

Finally (on its way as I write – due to be released on Audible on 10 February) is The Common Reader Volume 1 by Virginia Woolf. Her great novels – To the LighthouseMrs Dalloway and others – can obscure the fact that she was a fascinating essayist, with acute observations to make on literature and other topics. Volume 1 contains 26 essays varying from her remarks on Chaucer, Jane Eyre, the modern novel and Elizabethan drama to Montaigne and the Greek classics.

Nicolas Soames

January 2020