John Richetti recently returned to PennSound’s studios and recorded a selection of poems by Keats, Shelley, Blake, Wordsworth, Byron, and Coleridge. Here is a link to the new page in the “PennSound classics” section of the archive.
John Richetti is a much-respected scholar of 18th-century English literature, but here he makes a strong case for moonlighting as a voice-over man, registering as something in that much-neglected space between Rod Serling and a used-Jaguar salesman. On PennSound, an entire page is devoted to his readings of various works by Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, and John Dryden; fittingly, it's listed in the PennSound Classics section, which is a terrific place to begin one's trek through the site's often intimidating topography. Everything here is wonderful: Richetti reads each work in a charmingly insouciant tone, one that belies the considerate thought he has given each recitation, which are never less than great fun, and are often quite relevatory.
I recommend listening to everything on this page, but, in the interest of highlighting a place to begin, I don't think one could go wrong with Dryden's Mac Flecknoe or Swift's Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift, perhaps with Pope's On a Lady who P?st at the Tragedy of Cato as a chaser.
My dear old friend John Richetti has been recording an anthology of restoration and 18th-century poetry for several months - for PennSound. And today we are announcing the completion of this new sound anthology, hoping that (among others) teachers are able to use it to bring the poems to life and to present an easy-to-access (and free, of course) set of downloadable files. This is the first of its kind for this body of writing, so far as we know.