Saturday, January 07, 2006

"Up in the Gallery" by Franz Kafka

Here is the English part of today's bilingual edition, also read by Irmina Haupt. Kafka's story was translated by Willa and Edwin Muir. Time 3:15.

"Auf der Galerie" by Franz Kafka

How about something different today--a bilingual edition? Here is Franz Kafka's little parable in its original German and in its English translation, by Willa and Edwin Muir. Read by Irmina Haupt. Time 2:34.

This tiny squib is one of Kafka's shortest, most dreamlike works, about a circus equestrienne (at last, a chance to use that beautiful word!) who dazzles her audience--and the reader. One feels that the narrator, acting as witness, is brought both to tears and speechlessness by this lovely vision at a public performance.

Irmina Haupt is the pseudonym for a young video artist who has worked and traveled extensively in North America, the Canary Islands, the Middle East, and Europe. Her center of operations is now Munich, where she creates installations for museums and galleries, though probably not like the one in this story! She recently visited the States, though not exclusively to read this story for us; like Kafka himself, she is of Austro-German extraction and apologizes for any confusion due to her semi-Viennese accent. And we think in this description we've been able to mention more geographic locations than any other so far!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

"Arabella Hardy" by Charles Lamb

An orphaned girl from the East Indies is entrusted to the care of a ship's first mate, who is the object of much merriment to his mates. In this story, presented much like one side of a magazine interview, we are told of a memorable voyage back to England, where the girl learns valuable lessons about human nature and gender stereotyping. Read by Scoot.

The dry facts about Charles Lamb: Born in 1775, the son of a barrister's clerk. A clerk himself in various offices until his retirement in 1825. Best known works the Essays of Elia and his Letters. On a less statistical note, Lamb had an exceptionally unhappy private life which nonetheless did not impede the many stories, adaptations, essays, and poems which flowed from his gentle-spirited pen.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A new year, a new beginning....


"Stories to Go" is back. After over two months of computer breakdowns which led to virtual nervous breakdowns, we are glad to finally start publishing again. We will try to stay on a schedule of one story a day every three days, with short descriptions of the story, its author, and its reader (when necessary). Eventually we hope to go back and fill in the gaps of previous stories and dates, providing the information and synopses (however short) of all we've been promising.

Thanks to all the readers who have contributed to this site over the past nine months, which allowed us to rest our voices and provide some much-needed variety here. Thanks most to all the listeners who have been tuning in over the past year--for your support, your good wishes, your kind messages, and your willing ears. As a well-known fast-food franchise used to say, "we do it all for you!"

Sorry to those who have had problems with downloading--these are continuing issues, most often with Apple computers, which are beyond our control. All we can suggest is that anyone experiencing problems retry downloading at another time, stream the story off our site or other sites which link from us, look for the podcast on iTunes, or try another computer. We can't go door to door fixing problems, however much we'd like to give personalized readings everywhere!

"Cities and Memory 1 & 2" by Italo Calvino

In somewhat of a break from a tradition, we present 2006's first title: the first two chapters from Italo Calvino's acclaimed Invisible Cities, which actually does read as much if not more like a collection of short stories than a novel, as it is usually labeled. These pages introduce us to Calvino's complex conception of place and time as shaped by memory, interpreted by Marco Polo!

We have seen Calvino on these pages previously, and we are glad to have him back. Did you know he was the son of two botanists and the brother to a well-known geologist, and that he was born in Cuba? Of course, although he traveled around a great deal, he spent most of his life in Italy. There, he specialized in highly intellectualized works that explore the limits of fiction and the boundaries of science and philosophy. Most important of all was his love of language: "Everything can change, but not the language that we carry inside us, like a world more exclusive and final than one's mother's womb," he once said.

We have been keeping Michael Armstrong's recording in cold storage for some months until we were ready to revamp this site, so we are overjoyed to finally unthaw this offering and serve it to you. Michael Armstrong is a writer and educator who divides his time between England, Italy, and America, where he has worked with both graduate students of English and inner-city children. He is especially interested in understanding the nature of human creativity, so it is no suprise that he reveres Calvino. We thank his for his extreme generosity in taking time out of his busy shedule to read for us.