Classical audiobooks

Thank you Rita for your comment on I Promessi Sposi. I agree that in some parts of I Promessi Sposi the descriptions and commentary seem a little excessive. Certainly by today’s standards the book could do with some editing. Perhaps a modern Italian reader would find these sections boring. For me as a non-native speaker working to improve my Italian, I enjoyed the use of language throughout the book. It was, for me, an almost sensual enjoyment of the Italian language, Manzoni’s sometimes ironic observations of human nature, the historical atmosphere, and of course Il Narratore’s outstanding story-telling skills.

I enjoy listening to the classics of the early 20th century,19th and even 18th century in different languages. I also enjoy history audio books in different languages. In French I have audio books of Balzac, Maupassant and Zola, Proust as well as “Memoires d’Hadrien” by Marguerite Yourcenar which is classic in its style, and others.In German I have audio books by Goethe, Mann, Rilke,
Schnitzler. I am always on the lookout for similar books in other languages. I have not found many in Spanish or Chinese, but there are more and more available now in Japanese, German, Swedish, Italian and French. There are also plenty in English. The MP3CD format is popular in French and Italian audio books and I think that is a great step forward.

I imagine most people prefer to listen to modern novels. I think, however, that the classics of Romantic literature are more effective in enriching the language power of the listener, especially if combined with a system like The Linguist where words and phrases can be saved and studied and linked to the contexts where they are used.

What do yo think? Would you rather listen to “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown, or “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen for example. I am always surprised by how few of our Linguist members study our Literature items in The Linguist library. People seem to prefer conversations or radio programs. I wonder why that is. Any comments?

Language learners could form small groups to jointly buy these audio CDs and share them among themselves. The e-texts of the classics are often available free of charge at Gutenberg. To me it is a great way to raise one’s language to a new level. But maybe my tastes are behind the times.

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