Listen to These Legendary Wordsmiths Speak Their Minds

by
Zohaib Ahmed
June 17, 2014: Hear literary legends in their own actual voice.

It's not every day that you get to hear some of the biggest names in English literature and poetry utter things into a microphone or in front of the camera. Such things are rare but they do exist online and can be unearthed through a bit of tactical searching. Down below is a list of famous pen legends speaking their brilliant, creative minds.

Listen and rejoice.

Ernest Hemingway

This here is a 1950s recording of Ernest Hemingway talking about his novel Across the River and Into the Trees. He was inebriated at the time, which explains why his speech becomes a bit disjointed.

JRR Tolkien

The famous Englishman, who created the fictional worlds of elves, wizards, and hobbits, can be heard reciting text in Elvish – a language he created especially for his books.

Raymond Chandler

The only recorded sound bites of detective fiction writer Raymond Chandler can be heard here. It is from his 1958 interview with James Bond author Ian Fleming. Listening to these two masters talk is an incredibly rare privilege for the fans of crime fiction.

Walt Whitman

This audio clip has two extreme rarities associated with it. First, the great American poet Walt Whitman can be heard reciting his poem America in it. On top of that, it was recorded through Thomas Edison's wax-coated cardboard cylinders in either in 1889 or 1890.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who masterminded the Sherlock Holmes character, explains his creative process in this video. "I began to think of turning scientific methods, as it were, onto the work of detection," he says. Check out the video clip to hear him say that and more.

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf, the author of classics like Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), can be heard here in what is her only available audio clip.

Langston Hughes

If the Doug Parker Band's jazz doesn't interest you, the man who is reading the poem "The Weary Blues" certainly will. He is Langston Hughes – the poet who is credited for shaping up the literary art form called jazz poetry.

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