A copy of the world’s first full-length audiobook, a 1935 recording of Joseph Conrad’s novella “Typhoon," has been discovered in Canada by a London-based professor, the Guardian reports.
Matthew Rubery, who teaches modern literature at London’s Queen Mary University, said a record collector in Canada had contacted him to say he had a copy of the rare audiobook, a set of four LP vinyl records.
Rubery, author of the book “The Untold Story of the Talking Book,” published by Harvard University Press, said he was surprised he was able to find a copy of the record set.
“This is a tremendous find for anyone interested in literature, sound recording or the cultural heritage of blind and partially sighted people,” he said.
Audiobooks have been around since the 1930s, but initially contained only short stories or poems. They were pioneered in the United Kingdom by the Royal National Institute of Blind People, and in the United States by the American Foundation for the Blind and the Library of Congress.
The rediscovered British recording of “Typhoon,” a 1902 novella by Joseph Conrad about a steamship captain, was one of three full-length books to be recorded as an audiobook, and the first “literary” audiobook.
The other two longer works were Agatha Christie’s “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” and the New Testament’s Gospel According to St. John. Researchers have been unable to find existing copies of either of those other early recordings.