>CDs capture voices of long-gone writers

By Beth Gardiner
Associated Press

LONDON -- In a rich voice that leaps across the decades, Virignia Woolf ponders the power of words. A self-deprecating Arthur Conan Doyle describes the doctor on whom he modeled Sherlock Holmes. Robert Browning pauses while reciting one of his poems, admitting he can't remember the words but is thrilled to speak into a recorder.

At a time when Britain's most celebrated literary output is the Harry Potter series, some of its most famous writers can be heard on a pair of CDs that draw on rare recordings, some form the earliest days of audio technology.

"We know that when all the men who do things have done them, and after all the men who say things about those doings have said them, it is only words...that live to show the present how men worked and thought in the past," Rudyard Kipling said in a 1933 speech, his slightly high-pitched voice enunciating every syllable. "And we do not know whose words they will be." [bold mine]

One disc features poets, the other novelists such as E.M. Forster, Agatha Christie and playwright Noel Coward. All were born before 1900.

British Library curators dug through their sound archives, which are among the world's largest, to create the "Spoken Word" compilations, each more than 70 minutes long.

"People are taken with the idea of getting a closer source, and this is really as close as you can get -- the idosyncrasies of writers reading their own worls," said Steve Cleary, lead compiler if the CDs and curator if drama and literature at the library's sound archives.

The compilation includes a notorious but little-heard broadcast that P.G. Wodehouse, creator of Bertie Wooster and the manservant Jeeves, made on German radio after being captured by the Nazis in France during World War II.<

Thisw AP story appeared in our local paper, The Press of Atlantic City, today. Try as I might, I couldn't find a link, not even on the AP site. So I finally gave up and typed in the whole story. Perhaps some of our friends across the pond have a lead to a more comprehensive link?