Click here to skip to content

From Shell Shock to Shellac: the Great War, blindness and Britain’s talking book library

Matthew Rubery

When: Tue 10 Jun 2014, 17.00-18.00

Where: Foyle Suite, Centre for Conservation

Price: Free

Book now for 10 Jun 2014

Britain's Talking Book Library began as a way of providing reading material to soldiers blinded during the First World War. Talking books were specially modified gramophone records containing recitations of the Bible, Shakespeare, and popular fiction. This public lecture traces the talking book's development from the initial experiments after the War to its debut and reception among blind soldiers and civilians in the 1930s. The presentation has been put together using archives held by the Royal National Institute of Blind People and St Dunstan's, the two organisations responsible for Britain's Talking Book Library. It will also feature sound recordings of the oldest surviving talking book records.  

Matthew Rubery is Reader in Nineteenth-Century Literature at Queen Mary University of London. He is the author of The Novelty of Newspapers: Victorian Fiction after the Invention of the News (2009), editor of Audiobooks, Literature, and Sound Studies (2011), and co-editor of Secret Commissions: An Anthology of Victorian Investigative Journalism (2012). His current project is entitled 'The Untold Story of the Talking Book'.