The novel to be replaced by gramophone records?

Thanks to Chris Priestley I got slightly distracted by this today:

Virginia Woolf. I leapt on Virginia Wolf’s clip but  couldn’t understand a word she was saying. For some reason her  plum muffled accent made my ears shut down. That’s what comes of being dragged up in an inner city comp. Still, not one to be easily deterred I moved on.

W Somerset Maugham. W. Somerset Maugham was hilarious : ” All novels are, every now and then, a bit of a bore, you have to accept that”, apparently his US editors wanted to condense one of his book to make it cheaper to print – he was quite happy with that given that he clearly thought great swathes of it were too tedious to bother with. Actually, that’s not entirely fair, he was talking about Moby Dick and, to be honest, that could have done with a bit of a snip.

EM Forster. E.M. Forster got right to the point: ” I write for two reasons: firstly , to get money; secondly to earn the respect of people I respect.” He didn’t have a  story burning in his chest, he didn’t lie awake tortured by unquiet characters and plot threads that frayed in all directions. No. He had bills to pay and people to impress.  I like it.

Aldous Huxley.I already had a soft spot for Aldous Huxley. Brave New World and Chrome Yellow were more in my house than they were in the local library when I was 15 .  I loved how he invented things that I knew had long since been in use and look at what he said in 1958:

“The novel is not on the way out…serious novel writing is facing a difficult future and might have to go onto gramophone records”.

He could be talking about the e-book.

Rest easy my friends, all will be well,  Aldous Huxley said so. And go listen – there are many more!

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Fiona Dunbar says:

    Oh wow, what a treasure trove! So far I have checked out Muriel Spark (disappointingly stilted) and Tolkein (wonderful!) Thanks for this, Kathy.

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      Fab isn’t it? All thanks to Chris though – it was his suggestion.

  2. Philippa says:

    So you’ve hit the ground running, eh Mrs Bung? Or is it rather listening?
    I thought the people on the second TV show were rather scarily highfalutin’ I have to say – with the exception of JRR – and the voiceover was a bit sniffily dismissive of fantasy as ‘escapism’ – though Sci Fi seemed to be acceptable.
    But the undiluted clips- great!

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      I just loved hearing their voices and their thoughts- so honest – so “unmedia”. Like a pouch full of gems…

  3. What a find! Thanks for sharing this with us. I love the quotes from Forster and WSM. Great stuff – I love your blog.

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      Thank you! x

  4. Minnie says:

    Bonjour, old fan of A Huxley here to express delight at your ‘Writer’s Choice’ piece over at Norm’s: now I MUST read that book. Amazing and heartening to discover another who has also long loved ‘Chrome Yellow’!
    And you’re right about polytunnels, too …

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      Thanks Minnie, nice to meet you :O)

  5. weight says:

    yeah my dad will like this

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