Audiobooks as Artworks : A Framework for Analysis & Appreciation

Sheinberg, David. 2017. Audiobooks as Artworks : A Framework for Analysis & Appreciation. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text (Audiobooks as Artworks : A Framework for Analysis & Appreciation)
THE_thesis_SheinbergD_2017.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (3MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

Audiobooks, although largely unexamined, should be perceived as the aural artefacts of
a distinct artistic genre. It, in turn, should be identified as part of an interdisciplinary
aesthetic category—one which has not been defined hitherto.

To classify audiobooks as artworks, I turn to the New Institutional Theory of Art
(NITA), which currently provides the most effective explanation available to determining
not only what makes something into an artwork, but also whether or not a particular
artwork can be deemed beautiful (i.e. aesthetically good). In utilizing NITA, instituting a
context—a framework governing the artistic praxis of recording written texts and
delivering them to a designated audience—I consequently create a unique aesthetic
category. As an artistic institution in its own right, it determines the criteria for
identifying aural performances as works of art, and, in effect, establishes audiobooks
among all forms of aural performance.

In rendering aesthetic evaluation and appreciation crucial aspects to defining
art, the implied notion of internal logic—while not explicitly expressed—prevails as a
core concept, inherent to a comprehensive understanding of NITA. In articulating its
meaning, I suggest its association with the idea of informed intuition, thereby
introducing them both as pivotal in illuminating the contribution of my expanded
application of NITA. Effectively, in recognizing that to define art necessitates more than
mere classification, one is able to employ an institutional analysis on different kinds of
artistic case studies.

By surveying three major case studies—all manifesting the first-person narrative
as a fundamental aesthetic property of audiobooks—the concrete analysis of
audiobooks as artworks proves essential to my methodology. Ultimately, by ascertaining their aesthetic quality, I propose to identify the manner in which the craft
of casting aural performances necessarily, albeit unconsciously, consolidates aesthetic
evaluation, and, effectively, illustrates how it pragmatically works in action.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Philosophy of the Arts, The New Institutional Theory of Art, Aesthetics, Evaluation, Appreciation, Internal Logic, Intuition, Audiobooks, Talking Books, Spoken Word, Narration, Theatre, Drama, Performance, Literature, Media Studies, Radio Drama, Casting, Audience, Aesthetic Experience, First-person Narrative, Comparative Analysis, Adaptation, Aesthetic Category, Aural Performance

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)


31 October 2017

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

16 Nov 2017 15:22

Last Modified:

31 Oct 2020 02:26


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)