T.S. Eliot Reads Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats & Other Classic Poems (75 Minutes, 1955)

eliot cats readNot only did T.S. Eliot draw the cov­er for the first edi­tion of his Old Pos­sum’s Book of Prac­ti­cal Cats, fea­tured yes­ter­day, he even read it aloud for the audio­book edi­tion. You may think the time of the audio­book, now a pop­u­lar form on dig­i­tal audio devices every­where, must have begun long after the time of Eliot had already end­ed. (Eliot died in 1965.) But as we know from hav­ing pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured their mid-1970s albums of Leonard Nimoy read­ing Ray Brad­bury, the record label Caed­mon posi­tioned them­selves well ahead of the audio­book game. Using record­ings made from read­ings giv­en in Lon­don in 1955, Caed­mon man­aged to release albums of Eliot speak­ing his own work aloud. Today we offer you T.S. Eliot Reads T.S. Eliot, made avail­able via Spo­ti­fy. The 18 tracks, run­ning some 75 min­utes, most­ly fea­tures Eliot read­ing from Old Pos­sum’s Book of Prac­ti­cal Cats. But he also recites a hand­ful of oth­er clas­sic poems. (If you need Spo­ti­fy, you can down­load the soft­ware here):

Oth­er audio edi­tions of Old Pos­sum’s Book of Prac­ti­cal Cats (some includ­ing a score) would come out lat­er, but, for many Eliot enthu­si­asts, noth­ing else can quite match hear­ing the man him­self intro­duce the likes of Rum Tum Tug­ger, Mr. Mistof­felees, and Busto­pher Jones. Lis­ten­ers in most geo­gra­phies should be able to access the Spo­ti­fy playlist. But if you live in Cana­da and South Africa (where some read­ers have report­ed prob­lems) we can rec­om­mend that you lis­ten (or re-lis­ten) to Eliot’s read­ings of his mod­ernist mas­ter­pieces “The Waste Land” and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, plus his Four Quar­tets. And if, by chance, you feel like hear­ing Eliot’s verse but not Eliot’s voice, how about let­ting Bob Dylan take over read­ing duties?

Eliot’s read­ing of Old Pos­sum’s Book of Prac­ti­cal Cats will be added to our col­lec­tion, 1,000 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free.

Relat­ed con­tent:

T.S. Eliot Illus­trates His Let­ters and Draws a Cov­er for Old Possum’s Book of Prac­ti­cal Cats

Lis­ten to T.S. Eliot Recite His Late Mas­ter­piece, the Four Quar­tets

T.S. Eliot Reads His Mod­ernist Mas­ter­pieces “The Waste Land” and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

Bob Dylan Reads From T.S. Eliot’s Great Mod­ernist Poem The Waste Land

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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  • delaram says:

    would you please tell me how can I down­load these amaz­ing audio ver­sions by the voice of this mar­velous poet him­self…?

  • Mostafa says:

    It is real­ly a pity this is on spo­ti­fy. Why not post it as files or put it on sound­cloud or some­thing which does­n’t require sub­scrip­tion and spe­cial soft­ware down­load..
    it is hard­ly “open cul­ture” when you need to sign up for a com­pa­ny, is it?

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