I, Libertine




Few know that 2006 was the 50th anniversary of the publication of the very odd book I, Libertine. In honor of this event and as our first audiobook, we at Uvula Audio have put together an audio book version of this classic for public consumption. A new chapter will be podcast each week for 13 weeks.



I, Libertine was the result of a practical joke by late-night radio raconteur Jean Shepherd. Shep was highly annoyed at the way that the best-seller list was being compiled in the mid 1950's. Apparently, it was not being determined solely on the sales of books, but also on the requests for the books at bookstores. Shep could not leave this alone so he started urging his listeners to go to bookstores and ask for a book that he created whole-cloth on the air. He made up the author (Frederick R. Ewing) of this imaginary novel, a title (I, Libertine), and even gave it a basic plot for his followers to use on disbelieving bookstore clerks. Shep eventually proved his point that the process of choosing best-sellers was flawed when he was able to get his book onto the best-seller list before it even existed!

Soon not only was there a huge demand for the novel, but it had reportedly been banned in Boston. Ian Ballantine engaged Theodore Sturgeon to write a novel to match the rumor, from Shepherd's outline. Betty Ballantine is supposed to have written the final chapter after an exhausted Sturgeon fell asleep on the Ballantines' couch, having written most of the novel under deadline in one marathon typing session. The novel was released simultaneously in hardcover and paperback editions, on September 13, 1956, with Shepherd seen as Ewing in the photo on the back. The front cover painting by Kelly Freas includes certain hidden images and inside jokes, and a quote "Gadzooks, quoth I, but there's a saucy bawd!".

Download the MP3 files here:


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

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Rated PG 


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