The Public Domain Review

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Edison reading Mary Had a Little Lamb (1927)

Thursday 9 February 2012 at 13:53



Recording made by Thomas A. Edison on August 12, 1927, at the Golden Jubilee of the Phonograph ceremony. In this recording Edison demonstrates how in 1877 he made the first record on his tinfoil phonograph. The original 1877 recording was not saved and no longer exists.

MP3 Download
Internet Archive Link



Beela Boola by the Electric City 4 (1920)

Hungarian Rag - Pietro Deiro (1913)

As a Porcupine Pines for its Pork - Billy Jones & Ernest Hare
(1925)

Popeye, the Sailor Man - Al Dollar & His Ten Cent Band with Billy Murray (1931)

Chopins Funeral March - The Edison Concert Band (1906)

Houdini on his Water Torture Cell (1914)

Lomax Collection Recording of English, Sample 8

Enrico Caruso - A Dream (1920)

La Paloma (1903)

Orson Welles Show (1941)

Tokyo Rose (1944)

Fats Waller and His Orchestra live at The Yacht Club (1938)

Very early recording of George Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue (1924)

Rudolph Valentino singing (1923)

Aiaihea - The Hawaiian Quintette (1913)

Antony's Address Over The Body of Caesar (1914)

Charlie and His Orchestra

Excerpt from Handel's Israel in Egypt (1888)

The Voice of Florence Nightingale (1890)

General Pershing March - Imperial Marimba Band (1918)

Apollo 11 Onboard Recordings (1969)

Santa Claus Proves There is a Santa Claus (1925)

Whitney Brothers Quartet - The Little Red Drum (1908)

Edison reading Mary Had a Little Lamb (1927)

Lucy Isabelle Marsh

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Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/02/09/edison-reading-mary-had-a-little-lamb-1927/


Labors of the Months from the Très Riches Heures

Wednesday 8 February 2012 at 13:47

The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (or simply the Très Riches Heures) is probably the most important illuminated manuscript of the 15th century, “le roi des manuscrits enluminés” (“the king of illuminated manuscripts”). It is a very richly decorated Book of Hours containing over 200 folios, of which about half are full page illustrations. It was painted sometime between 1412 and 1416 by the Limbourg brothers for their patron Jean, Duc de Berry. They left it unfinished at their (and the Duc’s) death in 1416. Charles I, Duc de Savoie commissioned Jean Colombe to finish the paintings between 1485-1489. Featured here are the Labors of the Months, the section illustrating the various activities undertaken by the Duke’s court and his peasants according to the month of the year. Most of the illustrations show one of the Duke’s castles in the background, and each are accompanied by a sun carrying Phoebus beneath an archway depicting the appropriate zodiac signs.

(Text and images via Wikipedia)

January: The Duke's household exchanges New Year gifts - the Duke at right in a blue robe.



February: A typical winter's day. Some peasants warm themselves by the fire, another peasant chops wood, and still another goes to market.



March: Sowing the field. In the background is the Château de Lusignan, a residence of Jean de Berry.



April: A young couple exchanging rings. In the background is the Château de Dourdan.



May: Young nobles riding in a procession. In the background is the Hôtel de Neslé, the Duke's Paris residence in Paris.



June: Harvest. In the background is the Palais de la Cité with the Sainte Chapelle clearly identifiable on the right.



July: The shearing of the sheep. In the background is the Palace of Poitiers near Poitiers.



August: Falconry, with the Duc's Château d'Étampes in the background.



September: The harvest of the grapes. In the background is the Château de Saumur.



October: Tilling the field. In the background is the Louvre.



November: The autumn harvest of acorns, on which pigs are feeding.



December: A wild boar hunt. In the background is the Château de Vincennes.





Operation Doorstep

The Spirit Photographs of William Hope

The Maps of Piri Reis

Dr Julius Neubronner's Miniature Pigeon Camera

Art in Art

Huexotzinco Codex


Sessions for the Blind at Sunderland Museum

Eugène von Guérard's Australian Landscapes

Landscape and Marine Views of Norway

The Mechanism of Human Physiognomy

Space Colony Art from the 1970s

Men in Wigs


De humana physiognomonia libri IIII (1586)

Field Columbian Museum

Maps from Geographicus

Arnoldus Montanus' New and Unknown World (1671)

World War II from the Air

Halloween Postcards

Engravings by Dominicus Custos

Kodak No.1 Circular Snapshots

Kitab al-Bulhan or Book of Wonders (late 14thC.)

The Daddy Long Legs of Brighton

Amundsen's South Pole Expedition (1912)

A Catalogue of Polish Bishops

Harry Clarke's illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe (1919)

The Embalming Jars of Frederik Ruysch (1710)

Labors of the Months from the Très Riches Heures (1416)

Photographs of the famous by Felix Nadar

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Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/02/08/labors-of-the-months-from-the-tres-riches-heures/


Phillis Wheatley: an Eighteenth-century Genius in Bondage

Monday 6 February 2012 at 15:53

Transported as a slave from West Africa to America when just a child, Phillis Wheatley published in 1773 at the age of 20 her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. Vincent Carretta takes a look at the remarkable life of the first ever African-American woman to be published.

Frontispiece from Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773).

The African-American poet Phillis Wheatley has achieved iconic status in American culture. A 174-word letter from her to a fellow servant of African descent in 1776 sold at auction in 2005 for $253,000, well over double what it had been expected to fetch, and the highest price ever paid for a letter by a woman of African descent. Elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the United States bear her name. A prominent statue in Boston memorializes her. Wheatley is the subject of numerous recent stories written for children and adolescents. Googling “Phillis Wheatley” turns up about 665,000 items.

The author we now know as Phillis Wheatley was born around 1753 somewhere in West Africa, probably between present-day Gambia and Ghana. She was forced to endure the Middle Passage from Africa to America when she was about seven or eight years old, and brought to Boston, where she was sold as a domestic servant to John and Susanna Wheatley. They called her Phillis, after the name of the slave ship that brought her from Africa. Encouraged by her owners, Phillis Wheatley quickly became literate and began writing poetry that soon found its way into local newspapers. Notwithstanding the prejudices against her race, social status, gender, and age, Wheatley became the first published woman of African descent in 1767. She gained international recognition with her funeral elegy on the death of the evangelist George Whitefield, addressed to his English patron, the Countess of Huntingdon, and published in Boston and London in 1770. By 1772 Wheatley had written enough poems to enable her to try to capitalize on her growing transatlantic reputation by producing a book of previously published and new works. Unable to find a publisher in Boston, in part because of racial prejudice, Wheatley and her owners successfully sought a London publisher and Huntingdon’s patronage in 1773 for her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral.

Letter from John Wheatley to the English publisher as featured in Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773)

Phillis Wheatley’s trip to London with her master’s son to arrange for the publication of her book was a turning point in her personal and professional lives. Her six-week stay in London enabled her to establish a network of associations that included many of the militarily, politically, religiously, and socially most important people in North America and Britain She arrived in England a year after a court decision declared that slave owners could not legally compel their slaves to return to the colonies. Phillis returned to Boston shortly before her book was published. Within a month of her return she wrote a friend that she had been freed “at the desire of my friends in England.” She had apparently agreed to return only after her owner was compelled to promise to free her if she did.

The assertiveness that Phillis probably displayed in her dealings with Nathaniel Wheatley was anticipated more subtly in her Poems. Wheatley does not hesitate in Poems to proclaim her African heritage. Her opening poem, “To Maecenas,” thanks her unnamed patron, loosely imitating Classical models such as Virgil and Horace’s poems dedicated to Maecenas, the Roman politician and patron of the arts. Emphasizing in a footnote that the Classical Roman poet Terence “was an African by birth,” Wheatley implies that her “Maecenas” has enabled her to claim a place in the Western literary tradition, which has included Africans since its beginning. Elsewhere in her poems, Wheatley appropriates the persona of authority or power normally associated with men and her social superiors. For example, in “To the University of Cambridge, in New-England,” first composed when she was about fifteen years old, Wheatley speaks as a teacher to students, or a minister to his flock, in addressing the young men of what was to become Harvard University, many of whom were being trained there to become ministers themselves.

Several of Wheatley’s poems demonstrate a nuanced treatment of slavery unrecognized by some of her critics. For example, written in October 1772 to celebrate Dartmouth’s appointment the previous August, “To the Right Honourable WILLIAM, Earl of Dartmouth, His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for North America, &c.” is one of the most carefully crafted poems in the 1773 volume. In it Wheatley re-appropriates the concept of slavery from its common metaphorical use in the colonial rhetoric of discontent, which described any perceived limitation on colonial rights and liberty as an attempt by England to “enslave” (white) Americans. Wheatley appears to use slavery in this conventional sense in the poem:

No more, America, in mournful strain
Of wrongs, and grievance unredress’d complain,
No longer shall thou dread the iron chain,
Which wanton Tyranny with lawless hand
Had made, and with it meant t’enslave the land.

But Wheatley’s reference to her authority to speak against this conventionally metaphorical slavery reminds her readers of the reality of chattel slavery trivialized by the political metaphor:

Should you, my lord, while you peruse my song,
Wonder from whence my love of Freedom sprung,
Whence flow these wishes for the common good,
By feeling hearts alone best understood,
I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate
Was snatch’d from Afric’s fancy’d happy seat
. . . .
Such, such my case. And can I then but pray
Others may never feel tyrannic sway?

Having gone to England as an enslaved African Briton, Wheatley returned to the colonies prepared to embrace the free African-American identity that the American Revolution soon made available to her. Her anti-slavery stance became more overt once she was free than in her poems published while she had been enslaved. She denounces slave owners as “Modern Egyptians” in a letter to the Indian Presbyterian minister Samson Occom that was widely reprinted in newspapers in March 1774 throughout New England, as well as in Canada. Wheatley increasingly came to believe that the colonial struggle for freedom from Britain would lead to the end of slavery in the former colonies. In her poem “To His Excellency General Washington” Wheatley pledged her allegiance in 1776 to the revolutionary cause, hoping that even the most eminent slave owner in North America would ultimately apply the revolutionary ideology of equality and liberty to people of African as well as European descent. In the poem “On the Death of General Wooster,” included in a letter to Wooster’s widow, Mary, on July 15, 1778, Wheatley exclaims, “But how, presumptuous shall we hope to find/Divine acceptance with th’Almighty mind—/While yet (O deed ungenerous!) they disgrace/And hold in bondage Afric’s blameless race?”

Portrait of Phillis Wheatley which appeared in Revue des Colonies in Paris between 1834 and 1842 (Source: Schomburg Center)

The hopes that Phillis Wheatley brought home with her from England were soon frustrated. She did not live to see the enfranchisement of her fellow people of African descent. Nor was she able to publish a second volume. Susanna Wheatley died within months of Phillis’s return from London. Phillis married John Peters, a free black, on Thanksgiving Day, 1778, eight months after John Wheatley died. Although the marriage of Phillis and John Peters was initially prosperous, they soon fell victim to the general economic depression that followed the war. Peters, who at various times in his life advertised himself as a lawyer, physician, and gentleman was repeatedly jailed for debt. He was probably in prison when Phillis died on 5 December 1784, when she was about thirty-one years old. The cause of her death is unknown, but it may have been related to the “Asthmatic complaint” she suffered from in previous winters. The first American edition of her Poems was not published until 1786, in Philadelphia.

Wheatley was the first person of African descent to publish a book, and consequently the first international celebrity of African descent. She also founded the literary tradition of English-speaking authors of African descent. Although Wheatley never met her contemporaries Jupiter Hammon, an enslaved African-American poet, Philip Quaque, an African-born Christian missionary to Africa, or Ignatius Sancho, a renowned contemporaneous African-British author, they all knew of her and her writings. Sancho called her a “Genius in Bondage.”

Eighteenth-century opponents of the transatlantic slave trade, as well as nineteenth-century ante-bellum American abolitionists, cited Wheatley’s poetry as proof of the humanity, equality, and literary talents of people of African descent. But she and her work have not always been so highly valued. Arguments about the significance of Wheatley and her writings, from her own lifetime on, reflect the evolving re-assessment of African-American and African-British culture. Some commentators, black as well as white, questioned the literary quality of her writings, or the political and social significance of her life, in support of their own ideological positions on whether and how people of African descent should produce literature. The most notorious was Thomas Jefferson, who denied that she was a poet. During the period from the late nineteenth century to the 1970s, a number of critics expressed neo-Jeffersonian denunciations of Wheatley’s literary abilities, as well as of her racial loyalty.

Phillis Wheatley’s place in the developing tradition of early transatlantic literature by people of African descent, and her role as the mother of African-American literature are now finally secure. The many ways in which she subtly and indirectly confronted the issues of racism, sexism, and slavery have been increasingly appreciated. The prophecy offered by the pseudonymous “Matilda” in “On Reading the Poems of Phillis Wheatley, the African Poetess” (New York Magazine, October 1796) has been realized:

A PHILLIS rises, and the world no more Denies the sacred right to mental pow’r;
While, Heav’n-inspir’d, she proves her Country’s claim
To Freedom, and her own to deathless Fame.



Vincent Carretta is a professor of English at the University of Maryland. He is the author of Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage (University of Georgia Press, 2011), and the editor of Phillis Wheatley: Complete Writings (Penguin Classics) (Penguin Putnam Inc., 2001).


Links to Works


Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/02/06/phillis-wheatley-an-eighteenth-century-genius-in-bondage/


James Joyce’s Chamber Music (1918 American Edition)

Friday 3 February 2012 at 12:29


Chamber Music, by James Joyce; 1918; B.W.Huebsch, New York.

Collection of love poems by James Joyce, originally published by Elkin Matthews in May, 1907, the same year he refused Joyce’s manuscript for Dubliners. Composed and revised between 1901 and 1906, the bulk of them were written for an imagined love, before he first ‘stepped out’ with his wife to be Nora in 16 June 1904. The title “Chamber Music” was reportedly a pun relating to the sound of urine tinkling in a chamber pot, though this seems to be a later embellishment by Joyce of the title’s meaning.

Joyce to Stannie, Feb 1907:
I don’t like the book but wish it were published and be damned to it. However, it is a young man’s book. I felt like that. It is not a book of love-verses at all, I perceive. But some of them are pretty enough to be put to music. I hope someone will do so, someone that knows old English music such as I like. Besides they are not pretentious and have a certain grace. I will keep a copy myself and (so far as I can remember) at the top of each page I will put an address, or a street so that when I open the book I can revisit the places where I wrote the different songs.


Joyce to Stannie, 11 Feb 1907:
I have certain ideas I would like to give form to: not as a doctrine but as the continuation of the expression of myself which I now see I began in Chamber Music. These ideas or instincts or intuitions or impulses may be purely personal. I have no wish to codify myself as anarchist or socialist or reactionary…


Joyce to Stannie, April 1907, debating cancelling the book:
All that kind of thing is false… (Ellmann’s paraphrase: …insincerity and fakery… an ironic note to make them modern… essentially poems for lovers and he was no lover).


Joyce to Nora, 21 Aug 1909:
I like to think of you reading my verses (though it took you five years to find them out). When I wrote them I was a strange lonely boy, walking about by myself at night and thinking that some day a girl would love me. But I never could speak to the girls I used to meet at houses. Their false manners checked me at once. Then you came to me. You were not in a sense the girl for whom I had dreamed and written the verses you find now so enchanting. She was perhaps (as I saw her in my imagination) a girl fashioned into a curious grave beauty by the culture of generations before her, the woman for whom I wrote poems like ‘Gentle lady’ or ‘Thou leanest to the shell of night’. But then I saw that the beauty of your soul outshone that of my verses. There was something in you higher than anything I had put into them. And for this reason the book of verses is for you. It holds the desire of my youth and you, darling, were the fulfilment of that desire.


In Nov 1909 Joyce had an elaborate handwritten copy bound as a Christmas present for Nora including this comment:
Perhaps this book I send you now will outlive both you and me. Perhaps the fingers of some young man or young girl (our children’s children) may turn over its parchment leaves reverently when the two lovers whose initials are interlaced on the cover have long vanished from the earth. Nothing will remain then, dearest, of our poor human passion-driven bodies and who can say where the souls that looked on each other through their eyes will then be. I would pray that my soul be scattered in the wind if God would but let me blow softly for ever about one strange lonely dark-blue rain-drenched flower in a wild hedge at Aughrim or Oranmore.


Joyce to Gorman, 1931:
I wrote Chamber Music as a protest against myself.


Open Library link

Note this text is in the public domain in the EU (and other countries with a 70+ years term on copyright), but may not be in other jurisdictions (e.g. the U.S.). Please check its status in your jurisdiction before re-using.



Letters From a Cat (1879)

Castaway on the Auckland Isles: A Narrative of the Wreck of the "Grafton," (1865)


Infant's Cabinet of Birds and Beasts (1820)

Old French Fairytales (1920)

Armata: a fragment (1817)

An Account of the Late Improvements in Galvanism (1803)

The Medical Aspects of Death, and the Medical Aspects of the Human Mind (1852)

Quarles' Emblems (1886)

Cat and bird stories from the "Spectator" (1896)

Wonderful Balloon Ascents (1870)

The Book of Topiary (1904)

The Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (1899)

English as She is Spoke (1884)

The Danger of Premature Interment (1816)

The Last American (1889)

Pirates (1922)

Napoleon's Oraculum (1839)

Horse Laughs (1891)

Hydriotaphia/Urn-Burial and The Garden of Cyrus (1658)

Across the Zodiac: the Story of a Wrecked Record (1880)

Superstitions About Animals (1904)

The Diary of a Nobody (1919 edition)

The Attitudes of Animals in Motion, Illustrated with the Zoopraxiscope (1882)

The Eccentric Mirror: Reflecting a Faithful and Interesting Delineation of Male and Female Characters, Ancient and Modern (1807)

Uriah Jewett and the Sea Serpent of Lake Memphemagog (1917)

Yuletide Entertainments (1910)

Mythical Monsters (1886)

Madame Tussaud's Napoleon Relics, Pictures and Other Curiosities (1901)

James Joyce's Chamber Music (1918 American Edition)

Original acrostics on all the U.S. states and presidents, and various other subjects (1861)

Hand book of the carnival, containing Mardi-Gras, its ancient and modern observance (1874)

Selection of Type is just as important as the selection of words (1900)

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Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/02/03/james-joyces-chamber-music-1918-american-edition/


Time-Lapse Demolition of the Star Theatre, New York (1902)

Sunday 29 January 2012 at 12:42



Time-lapse shot of the demolition of the Star Theatre in New York City, one brick at a time. Produced by American Mutoscope and Biograph Company and preserved by the Library of Congress.

Download from Internet Archive

Note this film is in the public domain in the US, but may not be in other jurisdictions. Please check its status in your jurisdiction before re-using.



CLIPSSHORTFULL LENGTH SILENTFULL LENGTH TALKIE
Princess Nicotine (1909) 6min

Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) 12min

Last of the Mohicans (1920) 1hr11min

Meet John Doe (1941) 2hr3min

The Unappreciated Joke (1903) 1min

Frankenstein (1910) 13min

The General (1926) 1hr19min

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) 1hr19mins


The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (1895) 21sec

The Great Train Robbery (1903) 10min

Wolf Blood (1925) 1hr7min

Reefer Madness (1938) 1hr8min

The Kiss (1896) 25secs

Experiments in the Revival of Organisms (1940) 20min

Battleship Potemkin (1925) 1hr13min

The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952) 1hr57min

Trapeze Disrobing Act (1901) 2min

Are You Popular (1947) 10min

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927) 1hr11min

Scarlet Street (1945) 1hr43min

Annie Oakley Fires Her Gun (1894) 20secs

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910) 13min

For The Term of His Natural Life (1927) 1hr33min

The Last Man on Earth (1964) 1hr27min

Operation Cue (1955) 52sec

Never Weaken (1921) 28min

Intolerance (1916) 2hr57min

Quicksand (1950) 1hr18min

Dutch Fashion Reel (1969) 1min50sec

Betty Boop: Minnie The Moocher (1932) 7min46sec

The Phantom of the Opera (1925) 1hr46min

Suddenly (1954) 1hr16mins


Buffalo Dance (1894) 14sec

American Day in Tripoli, Libya (1962) 14min

The Thief of Bagdad (1924) 2hr20min

Five Minutes to Live (1961) 1hr14min

VD is for Everybody (1969) 1min

Your Name Here (1960) 10min10sec

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) 1hr11min

Cyrano De Bergerac (1950) 1hr53min

The Enchanted Drawing (1900) 1min29sec

The Night Before Christmas (1905) 8min44sec

Stella Maris (1918) 1hr13min

Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936) 1hr40min

Time-Lapse Demolition of the Star Theatre, New York (1901) 1min49sec

The Dream of Mrs L.L. Nicholson from Oakland, California (1924) 7min23sec

The Lost World (1925) 1hr8min

Gulliver's Travels (1939) 1hr18min

Dog Factory (1904) 4min37sec

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/01/29/time-lapse-demolition-of-the-star-theatre-new-york-1901/


The dream of Mrs L.L. Nicholson from Oakland, California (1924)

Sunday 29 January 2012 at 12:31



In 1924 California’s Tribune-American newspaper ran a competition for its readers to write in with their most unusual dreams and the winning entry was made into a short film. This is Mrs L.L. Nicholson from Oakland’s dream of losing her baby, rowing across San Francisco Bay, picking up some fish, and eventually discovering her lost child in a most unusual place and in trouble with the law.

Internet Archive user “kingwaylon” has added a nice homemade soundtrack to this version here.

Download from Internet Archive

Note this film is in the public domain in the US, but may not be in other jurisdictions. Please check its status in your jurisdiction before re-using.



CLIPSSHORTFULL LENGTH SILENTFULL LENGTH TALKIE
Princess Nicotine (1909) 6min

Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) 12min

Last of the Mohicans (1920) 1hr11min

Meet John Doe (1941) 2hr3min

The Unappreciated Joke (1903) 1min

Frankenstein (1910) 13min

The General (1926) 1hr19min

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) 1hr19mins


The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (1895) 21sec

The Great Train Robbery (1903) 10min

Wolf Blood (1925) 1hr7min

Reefer Madness (1938) 1hr8min

The Kiss (1896) 25secs

Experiments in the Revival of Organisms (1940) 20min

Battleship Potemkin (1925) 1hr13min

The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952) 1hr57min

Trapeze Disrobing Act (1901) 2min

Are You Popular (1947) 10min

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927) 1hr11min

Scarlet Street (1945) 1hr43min

Annie Oakley Fires Her Gun (1894) 20secs

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910) 13min

For The Term of His Natural Life (1927) 1hr33min

The Last Man on Earth (1964) 1hr27min

Operation Cue (1955) 52sec

Never Weaken (1921) 28min

Intolerance (1916) 2hr57min

Quicksand (1950) 1hr18min

Dutch Fashion Reel (1969) 1min50sec

Betty Boop: Minnie The Moocher (1932) 7min46sec

The Phantom of the Opera (1925) 1hr46min

Suddenly (1954) 1hr16mins


Buffalo Dance (1894) 14sec

American Day in Tripoli, Libya (1962) 14min

The Thief of Bagdad (1924) 2hr20min

Five Minutes to Live (1961) 1hr14min

VD is for Everybody (1969) 1min

Your Name Here (1960) 10min10sec

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) 1hr11min

Cyrano De Bergerac (1950) 1hr53min

The Enchanted Drawing (1900) 1min29sec

The Night Before Christmas (1905) 8min44sec

Stella Maris (1918) 1hr13min

Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936) 1hr40min

Time-Lapse Demolition of the Star Theatre, New York (1901) 1min49sec

The Dream of Mrs L.L. Nicholson from Oakland, California (1924) 7min23sec

The Lost World (1925) 1hr8min

Gulliver's Travels (1939) 1hr18min

Dog Factory (1904) 4min37sec

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/01/29/the-dream-of-mrs-l-l-nicholson-from-oakland-california-1924/


An Unlikely Lunch: When Maupassant met Swinburne

Tuesday 24 January 2012 at 13:26

Julian Barnes on when a young Guy de Maupassant was invited to lunch at the holiday cottage of Algernon Swinburne. A flayed human hand, pornography, the serving of monkey meat, and inordinate amounts of alcohol, all made for a truly strange Anglo-French encounter.

… and to accompany the article a new translation by Elliot Lewis of Maupassant’s “L’Anglais d’Etretat”.

Portrait of Swinburne by William Scott Bell, painted in 1860 when Swinburne was just 23 years old, 6 years before he'd publish his first book of poems.

In the first half of the 19th century, the British began to discover Normandy. Previously, the point of entry into France for most travellers had been Calais, which felt safely half-English, and where even the beggars importuned new arrivals in their own language. Those prepared to make the longer crossing to Dieppe were rewarded with a greater sense of strangeness: typified by the women in red-and-blue regional costume, clacking sabots and high white coifs that made them look like a cross between chefs and nuns. Hazlitt, passing through in 1824, noted that such headdresses were “much the same as those which the Spectator laughed out of countenance a hundred years ago in England”; and he concluded more generally that “In France one lives in the imagination of the past”. For the tourist, this meant antiquities and picturesque ruins within easy reach. The coastline was a further attraction: for those addicted to the new health-kick of sea-bathing, to the gentler pleasures of gambling (the casino at Dieppe opened in 1822), or to painting and sketching. Gradually, the journey from London became quicker – a combination of the London to Brighton railway and the new steam-packets brought the time down to a mere 11 hours by the 1840s. For centuries Dieppe’s main relationship with Britain had consisted of suffering occasional bombardment from the Royal Navy; now there were not just summer tourists, but year-round residents. There was even a quartier des Anglais (on the hill between the Paris road and the chateau), served by an Anglican chaplain and a British consul. And since the French more or less simultaneously decided to make Dieppe a sophisticated destination, the town flourished.

British artists had started coming here as soon as the Napoleonic wars were over. John Sell Cotman delighted in the luminous quality of the Dieppe light (it is an unpatriotic truth that looking north from Dieppe is more visually complex than looking south from Brighton); Turner came several times in the 1820s; Richard Parkes Bonington in the 1830s. We tend to associate the Normandy coastline – Etretat, Pourville, Varengeville, Fécamp – with Monet and the impressionists; but (as with Cézanne and Mont Sainte-Victoire) previous generations of painters had preceded them. Boudin, who later taught Monet the principles, and the necessity, of pleinairisme, painted in Dieppe, as did Corot and Daubigny; while Delacroix came here in 1850 and 1852. His diary contains an unflattering depiction of the English colony, whose invitation he had accepted out of boredom. He went to the salon of a certain Mrs Sheppard, and the next day rebuked himself: “What a fool you are, getting a sore throat from talking to idiots, arguing with petticoated silliness for a whole evening, with everyone going on about God, and ‘the justice of the world’ and ‘good and evil’, and ‘progress’!”

Now that the Channel tunnel has restored most traffic to the more northerly crossing, and the ferry service from Newhaven runs at unfriendly hours, Dieppe has sunk back into being largely French again. Serious war damage makes it harder to recreate in the mind the century – from 1815 to 1914 – during which the town became so fashionable. By the 1850s it had “the smartest and most popular plage in France”; the casino was rebuilt at regular intervals, each time more extravagantly; the British laid out what was only the fourth golf course in France, while the Paris crowd came down for steeplechasing at the new racetrack. The Prince of Wales kept a mistress and perhaps an illegitimate child in Dieppe; Lord Salisbury, while prime minister, built himself a chalet outside the town and maintained that, thanks to the telegraph station at Beachy Head, he was in better contact with London than if he had been on a Scottish grouse moor.

Autochrom photograph of holiday makers relaxing on the beach at Dieppe, ca. 1895

Simona Pakenham, who chronicled Dieppe’s Anglo-French entente in 60 Miles from England (1967), commented tartly that “The English colony was generally indifferent to any form of culture”. But the French needed the arts as the British needed sports. So Liszt played at the Bains Chauds; Meyebeer came; Rossini composed an operetta for the theatre. By the end of the 19th century, the casino summer band was recognised as the best in the country, since it was filled by Parisian orchestral players on holiday. In 1907, one of its violists was promoted to conductor, and surprised everyone by directing all Beethoven’s symphonies from memory: this was Pierre Monteux, who six years later conducted the premiere of The Rite of Spring.

Not all the British visitors were philistines. The town was Sickert’s second home for several decades; and the British feature strongly in the impressive (and highly cosmopolitan) list of belle époque visitors to the town. These include Monet, Pissarro, Whistler, Degas, Renoir, Beardsley, Conder, Fritz Thurlaw (the Norwegian painter), Henry Harland (the editor of The Yellow Book), William Rothenstein, Proust, Saint-Saens, Fauré, Debussy, Maeterlinck, Puvis de Chavannes, Percy Grainger, Adelina Patti, George and Gerald du Maurier, Ernest Dowson, George Moore, Max Beerbohm, Annie Besant, Marie Tempest, John Barrymore and Gladys Cooper. The night boat of May 20 1897 brought Oscar Wilde, freshly sprung from Reading jail and carrying the manuscript of De Profundis. It is a small but interesting footnote to the history of the Dieppe ferry terminal that the two most noteworthy events there both involved pseudonyms. In 1848 Louis-Philippe, the last king of France, heading for exile in England, was hustled aboard a packet of the General Steam and Navigational Company bearing a passport in the suspiciously ordinary name of William Smith. Half a century later, Wilde came ashore, cloaked in the look-at-me alias of Sebastian Melmoth.

The British brought trade, money and work to Dieppe; they laid the railway, and built the town’s station with English bricks. Neither race was or is as hospitable as they like to imagine themselves, but a working cordiality existed between the French and the British. The portrait painter and socialite Jacques-Emile Blanche (1861-1942) operated for many years as a one-man diplomatic service, summering in Dieppe and wintering in London: his studio, just beneath the walls of the castle, was used by Degas, Whistler, Sargent, Boldini, Sickert, Conder, Beardsley and Helleu. “My dear friend,” Henry James said to Blanche, “Your Dieppe is a reduced Florence, every type of character for a novelist seems to gather there” – not that the Great Dieppe Novel was ever written. Such Anglo-French conviviality was helped by a willingness to speak one another’s language. Sickert was regarded as “un vrai Dieppois”, even managing the local fisherfolk’s patois; Wilde and Dowson both spoke and wrote excellent French. So did an English poet whose passing residence along the coast in 1868 led to one of the stranger Anglo-French literary encounters, one that echoed on for decades, in France at least. It also encapsulated the way the French preferred to see the British – and perhaps still do.

Agitated Sea at Etretat, by Claude Monet from 1883, depicting the famous rocky archway through which Swinburne was swept out to sea in 1868.

Etretat, some 50 miles west of Dieppe, has become a high point of pilgrimage for the artistic faithful, who gather above its white cliffs – especially the one that curves down into a great chalk flying-buttress – to compare eroded reality with visual memories of Monet’s pictures. By 1868 the impressionists had not yet arrived: Etretat was a fishing town that also attracted a certain number of tourists and summer residents. Among their number that year were the 18-year-old Guy de Maupassant and his mother (the family chateau of Miromesnil, where Guy had been born, was a few miles outside Dieppe). The water and its attendant pursuits – swimming, boating, rowing – were to become a thematic constant in Maupassant’s life and work; so it’s appropriate that the water was what provoked the encounter between this muscular, boastfully heterosexual French prose writer and a petite homosexual English poet: Algernon Charles Swinburne.

Swinburne, then aged 31, was staying outside the town in a low thatched cottage belonging to his friend George Powell. The people of Etretat had Frenchly decided that Powell was a milord – even if one modestly concealing his real identity under his mother’s maiden name. (In fact, Powell was his real name, and he was uncoroneted. He was brought up on the family estate at Nanteos, near Aberystwyth, went to Eton and Oxford, and died at 40.) Maupassant later wrote that Powell’s “solitary and bizarre” way of life had astonished the local bourgeois and mariners who were “little used to British fantasies and eccentricities”; he himself was to be afforded a closer look at what such Britishness consisted of.

One September morning, Swinburne went swimming from the beach at Etretat and got into difficulties. According to Powell, treacherous undercurrents had carried the poet out to sea “through a rocky archway” (that very cliff formation Monet later celebrated). Ten minutes later Powell heard shouts from the clifftop that a man was drowning. He ran to the water’s edge, and after a few minutes received the news that Swinburne had been safely picked up by a fishing smack heading for nearby Yport. The poet, writing to his mother (and doubtless downplaying the event), described “a real sea adventure” in which he had been swept two miles out: “Luckily I was all right but very tired, and the result was that I made immense friends with all the fishermen and sailors about – who are quite the nicest people I ever knew.” Maupassant, who was somewhere near the scene, claimed that the poet had been “dead drunk” (despite it being ten o’clock in the morning); also, that he himself had gone out in one of the rescue boats; alternatively, that he had at the very least waded into the water and got soaked to the waist.

Photograph of Maupassant taken by the famous portrait photographer Felix Nadar, ca. 1888, 20 years after his encounter with Swinburne at the Chaumière de Dolmancé.

Whatever the specifics of the near-drowning and the rescue, Maupassant received an invitation to lunch the next day from the grateful Powell. According to Swinburne (again writing to his mother), the place where they lived was an idyllic retreat: “Powell has got the sweetest little farmhouse fitted up with music, books, drawings, etc … and of course he pokes me into the nicest room … There is a wild little garden all uphill, and avenues of trees about. The sea is splendid, and the cliffs very like the Isle of Wight – two arches of rock each side of the bay, and one needle only, exactly like half the Freshwater pair.” Maupassant described his visit to the cottage on three separate occasions: orally to Flaubert, Alphonse Daudet and Edmond de Goncourt in February 1875, an account that Goncourt transcribed into his Journal; in a newspaper article of November 1882 for Le Gaulois (“L’Anglais d’Etretat”)1; and in his introduction to the French translation of Swinburne’s Poems and Ballads in 1891. Though the versions overlap and at times contradict one another, the main story line would have been enough to send the honest burghers of the Isle of Wight scaring up the libel lawyers.

Maupassant noted “an inscription over the door which I didn’t read on that first occasion” – though if he had, he would have known more what to expect. There were pictures everywhere, some “splendid”, others more like “the imaginings of a lunatic”. Powell was short and fat, Swinburne short and thin, “with a pointed face, a hydrocephalous forehead, pigeon-chested, agitated by a trembling which affected his glass with St Vitus’ dance, and talking incessantly like a madman.” Here and there were laid out displays of bones; while a flayed human hand, supposedly that of a parricide, was the bohemian equivalent of a talking point. A large pet monkey was noisily present, being “titillated” by Powell, and trying to shove Maupassant’s head into his glass whenever he took a drink. Lunch included what the Frenchman assumed to be some kind of fish; though when he asked its name, his host “replied with a peculiar smile that it was meat, and I could not get any more out of him.” The fact that spirits rather than wine were served with lunch also struck the young Frenchman as peculiar – though perhaps was not all that surprising. Many of the British who were attracted to France at this time (not just artists and writers, but bankrupts, runaway fraudsters and bogus priests, mixed up with respectable folk seeking to make a pension stretch further than it did in England) were struck by the cheapness of French spirits – which also, of course, made them drunker quicker.

After lunch the two Englishmen brought out some gigantic portfolios and showed young Guy – perhaps in a misguided attempt to groom him – pornographic photographs taken in Germany, all of male subjects. “I remember one of an English soldier masturbating on a pane of glass.” Powell was by this time very drunk, and kept sucking the fingers of the flayed hand (which was apparently used as a paperweight). A young servant came in, and the portfolio was swiftly closed. In these exotic and ghoulish surroundings, the conversation proceeded at the highest cultural level. Swinburne, who had published his first series of Poems and Ballads two years previously, and was already notorious in his own country, displayed “an immense fund of learning”. He translated some of his poems into French for Maupassant’s benefit, and enthused about Victor Hugo (whose entry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica he was subsequently to write). Powell for his part had been to Iceland and brought back a store of old songs and legends which he had translated. The two men struck Maupassant as “singularly original, remarkable and bizarre”, a pair of hallucinatory visionaries in the tradition of Poe and ETA Hoffmann. “If genius,” he concluded, “is, as people say, a kind of delirium of the higher intelligence, then Algernon Charles Swinburne is assuredly a genius.”

Caricature of Swinburne by "Ape" Carlo Pellegrini, featured in Vanity Fair, November 1874.

Maupassant accepted a second invitation to lunch a few days later. This passed more peacefully, since the intrusive monkey was now dead, hanged from a tree by the young servant. Powell had ordered a huge block of granite for its tomb. At the end of the meal the two visionaries gave the Frenchman some liquor which nearly knocked him out; taking fright, he fled back to his hotel. Even so, he made one last visit, in the course of which he drew attention to the inscription above their door. It read: Chaumière de Dolmancé (Dolmancé’s Cottage). Maupassant asked the Englishmen if they knew who Dolmancé was (the hero and homosexual corrupter of Sade’s La Philosophie dans le Boudoir). They said that indeed they did. “Then that is the sign of the house?” Maupassant asked. “If you like,” they replied, “with terrifying expressions on their faces.” The Frenchman again fled, avoiding Swinburne and Powell thereafter.

The account in the Goncourt Journal, as translated and edited by Robert Baldick (OUP, 1962), breaks off at this point. Perhaps for reasons of space, but more likely for reasons of taste in that only just post-Chatterley era, the rest of the French text was excised. In it, Maupassant continued:

Yes, they lived there together, satisfying themselves with monkeys or with young servant lads of fourteen or fifteen, sent out to Powell from England every three months or so: little servant boys of exquisite cleanness and freshness. The monkey that slept in Powell’s bed and shat in it every night was hanged by the servant boy, partly out of jealousy but also out of annoyance at having to change the sheets all the time. The house was full of strange noises and the shadows of sadism; one night, Powell was seen and heard firing a revolver in the garden at a black man. Those two were real Sadeian heroes, who wouldn’t have held back even from crime. Then this house, so full of living mystery, was suddenly silent, suddenly empty. Powell just disappeared, and no one knew how he had got away. No carriage was ever called for him, and no one had met him on the roads.

This is a rather novelistic ending, perhaps unsurprising given that Maupassant had had seven years to work up the story, and that it was being both told, and written down, by a fiction writer. At other times he ended the story differently. The 1882 account concludes with Maupassant going back to the Sadeian cottage a couple of years later, discovering that its contents were being sold off, and buying, as a souvenir of the two Englishmen, the parricide’s flayed hand. The block of granite had by now been raised into the monkey’s sepulchre, and the incident with the revolver is given fuller explanation. It was the young servant who was black, and it was he who was being shot at by an enraged Powell for having hanged the monkey. “Afterwards, the lad wandered around for days without food or a roof over his head, and then reappeared and began to sell barley-sugar in the streets of Etretat. He was finally expelled from the district after having very nearly strangled a customer who complained about his goods.”

Maupassant’s later versions also elaborate on the suspicious protein the Englishmen served. In his 1882 account, he strongly suspects that it might have been monkey, not least because it was said to be common knowledge in Etretat that “this Englishman [Powell] ate only monkey – boiled, roasted, sautéed, or in a confit”. By the time of the 1891 account, Maupassant claims he had knowingly eaten spit-roasted monkey – indeed, the joint had been ordered in his honour from a purveyor of exotic meats in Le Havre. However, “The mere smell of the dish as I entered the house made me feel queasy, and the dreadful taste of the animal permanently removed all subsequent desire ever again to repeat such a meal.”

This gastronomic queasiness did not imply any broader moral or social revulsion; quite the contrary. Maupassant, doubtless hoping to provoke readers of Le Gaulois, concluded his 1882 account thus: “The world would be a lot jollier if one came across ménages like that one a little more often.” He certainly played up the theme of the innocent young Frenchman (even if one already alive to Sadeian reference) falling into a nest of genial English perverts intent on displaying national characteristics. Goncourt deliberately drew on Maupassant’s description of Swinburne and Powell when writing his novel La Faustin (1882), in which an 18th-century English sadist called George Selwyn not only displays many of Swinburne’s mannerisms, but also happens to retire to a cottage on the coast called Chaumière de Dolmancé. However, all of Maupassant’s versions, despite their dwelling on perversity, are underpinned by deep admiration for the duo: for their literary and artistic passion, their rejection of bourgeois living, their recklessness and bravado.

Painting of Swinburne by Gabriel Dante Rossetti, 1862.

The French have traditionally regarded biography as a rather low form, being either mere gossip, or at best a reductive process, one that tethers the work to the life, rather than recognising the extent to which the work flies free of it. The Anglo-Saxon tradition is more tethering and more moralising; the biographer’s overt or tacit intention too often being, as John Updike has put it, to “reduce celebrities to a set of antics and ailments to which we can feel superior”. Whereas it never occurred to Maupassant to feel superior, or think that Swinburne’s extravagant life in any way invalidated, diminished or necessarily coloured his work. This is partly a matter of Flaubertian aesthetics; partly the consequence of how the French saw, and to some extent still see, the British. They think of us as polite, unspontaneous beings trained to such control and self-control that sometimes the lid has to blow off, both in art and life. Hence our personal eccentricities and a line of artistic non-conformity. Contemporary British writers are still being fitted into this historic schema. I remember once trying to keep a straight face when a French journalist, seeking to place me in my proper English context, proposed that my key literary ancestors were Laurence Sterne, Lewis Carroll and Monty Python. Of course I enthusiastically agreed.

Maupassant never doubted that Swinburne was a genius. “He is a poet of exalted and frenzied lyricism, who is not in the least interested in the humble, decent reality which contemporary French artists obstinately and patiently seek; rather he strives to depict dreams and subtle thoughts which are sometimes ingenious and grand, sometimes inflated, but even so magnificent.” And it was the same when other British writers and artists of the time came up for French description and judgment. The French expected them to behave in peculiar ways, but declined to allow amusement or shock at their habits to affect aesthetic judgment. Jacques-Emile Blanche wrote of Sickert living in Dieppe for “thirty years, married, divorced, remarried, widower, or about to remarry”, moving between smart society and the obscure lodgings he shared with a red-haired fishmongress, and doing crazy things such as cutting off his hair to surprise a small girl; and in all those 30 years nobody ever saw him paint. None of this stopped the French accepting him as a true Dieppois and a true artist: “He was to be the painter of Dieppe. No other artist so perfectly felt and expressed the character of the town, whose Canaletto he has become.” Degas’s judgment on Wilde, after the 28-year-old Oscar had visited the painter’s Paris studio, was: “He behaves as if he’s playing Lord Byron in some suburban theatre.” Goncourt called Wilde un puffiste (a braggart, a blagger), and thought even his homosexuality wasn’t particular to himself, but imitative, if not plagiaristic: he had copied it from Verlaine, and also from Swinburne. The diarist Jules Renard wrote cuttingly, “He has at least the originality of being an Englishman” – the French never quite got hold of Wilde’s Irish connection. But while they saw him as a false human being, they judged him a true poet.

The British who disembarked at Dieppe the century before last were often surprised by the cheerful affability of the people they encountered. When Hazlitt was staying in Dieppe, “A man and woman came and sang ‘God Save the King’ before the windows of the Hotel, as if the French had so much loyalty at present that they can spare us some of it.” (Hazlitt correctly noted that a reciprocal gesture beneath the windows of a Brighton or Dover hotel would be highly improbable.) A year after the incident at Etretat, Swinburne returned to stay with Powell at the Chaumière de Dolmancé once again. In the town, he was “rather astounded at finding myself rushed at, seized by the arms and legs, hoisted and cheered, and carried all down the street with shouts of welcome, by the fisher folk and sailors who knew me again at once”. Powell said to him, “Why, don’t you know you’re their hero?” – a status Swinburne thought unmerited by the mere act of not quite drowning.

The poet memorialised his time on the Normandy coast in two ways. For the rest of his life he kept the “outsize garments” (outsize because he was so tiny) in which the rescuing fishermen had dressed him. And in his 1883 collection, A Century of Roundels, he published a poem called “Past Days”:

Above the sea and sea-washed town we dwelt,
We twain together, two brief summers, free
From heed of hours as light as clouds that melt
Above the sea.

The poem is partly a lament – for the dead Powell, and for passing time; also an idyll recreating “the days we had together” among “The Norman downs with bright grey waves for belt” and the “bright small seaward towns”. It is singularly lacking in references to monkey meat or Sadeian practices. Despite Swinburne’s considerable reputation in France, it seems that he and Maupassant never again met. What Maupassant, or his heirs, did with the flayed human hand is not recorded.


1. [Maupassant's 1882 short story "L’Anglais d’Etretat" has been translated into English by Elliot Lewis especially for The Public Domain Review, and is published under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license]



Julian Barnes is the author of three books of stories, books of essays, a translation of Alphonse Daudet’s In the Land of Pain, and numerous novels, including Metroland published in 1980. His recent publications include Pulse, a collection of short stories, and The Sense of an Ending, winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize. In France, he is the only writer to have won both the Prix Médicis and the Prix Fémina, and in 2004 he became a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In England his honors include the Somerset Maugham Award and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. He has also received the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and the San Clemente literary prize. In 2011 he was awarded the David Cohen Prize for Literature. Awarded biennially, the prize honours a lifetime’s achievement in literature for a writer in the English language who is a citizen of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland.


Links to Works


Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/01/24/an-unlikely-lunch-when-maupassant-met-swinburne/


The Embalming Jars of Frederik Ruysch

Tuesday 24 January 2012 at 12:27




Frederic Ruysch (1638-1731) was a Dutch botanist and anatomist, remembered mainly for his groundbreaking methods of anatomical preservation and the creation of his carefully arranged scenes incorporating human body parts. These remarkable ‘still life’ displays blurred the boundary between the demonstrative element of scientific preservation and the symbolic and allegorical of vanitas art. As well as his larger more elaborate anatomical displays (as seen above) he would also keep his specimens of limbs, fetuses and the carcasses of small animals carefully embalmed in individual glass jars. Offsetting the macabre contents he would create ‘flowering’ lids, decorating them with beads, fishes, shells, artificial flowers and lacy garments – the little scenes often echoing the life the jar’s contents had once known.

(Above image from the National Library of Medicine. Below images extracted from Ruysch’s Thesaurus animalium primus (1710) housed by the Internet Archive)














Operation Doorstep

The Spirit Photographs of William Hope

The Maps of Piri Reis

Dr Julius Neubronner's Miniature Pigeon Camera

Art in Art

Huexotzinco Codex


Sessions for the Blind at Sunderland Museum

Eugène von Guérard's Australian Landscapes

Landscape and Marine Views of Norway

The Mechanism of Human Physiognomy

Space Colony Art from the 1970s

Men in Wigs


De humana physiognomonia libri IIII (1586)

Field Columbian Museum

Maps from Geographicus

Arnoldus Montanus' New and Unknown World (1671)

World War II from the Air

Halloween Postcards

Engravings by Dominicus Custos

Kodak No.1 Circular Snapshots

Kitab al-Bulhan or Book of Wonders (late 14thC.)

The Daddy Long Legs of Brighton

Amundsen's South Pole Expedition (1912)

A Catalogue of Polish Bishops

Harry Clarke's illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe (1919)

The Embalming Jars of Frederik Ruysch (1710)

Labors of the Months from the Très Riches Heures (1416)

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/01/24/the-embalming-jars-of-frederik-ruysch/


Madame Tussaud’s Napoleon Relics, Pictures and Other Curiosities

Monday 23 January 2012 at 23:37


Catalogue of Napoleon Relics, Pictures and Other Works of Art and Curiosities, compiled by W.Wheeler; 1901; Cassell, London.

Madame Tussaud’s 1901 Catalogue of Napoleon Relics, Pictures and Other Works of Art and Curiosities. Although famous for her wax work models, the Madame Tussaud’s exhibition also featured a weird and wonderful array of historical memorabilia, including: a scrap of the cravat Charles I wore on the morning of his execution; the shrunken head of a South American chief; the oriental costume of Richard Burton; and an incredible medley of Napoleonic relics including numerous carriages, a lock of his hair, the bedsheets of his death bed, and a strip of the willow tree under which he used to sit and was eventually buried when in exile.

Open Library link



Letters From a Cat (1879)

Castaway on the Auckland Isles: A Narrative of the Wreck of the "Grafton," (1865)


Infant's Cabinet of Birds and Beasts (1820)

Old French Fairytales (1920)

Armata: a fragment (1817)

An Account of the Late Improvements in Galvanism (1803)

The Medical Aspects of Death, and the Medical Aspects of the Human Mind (1852)

Quarles' Emblems (1886)

Cat and bird stories from the "Spectator" (1896)

Wonderful Balloon Ascents (1870)

The Book of Topiary (1904)

The Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (1899)

English as She is Spoke (1884)

The Danger of Premature Interment (1816)

The Last American (1889)

Pirates (1922)

Napoleon's Oraculum (1839)

Horse Laughs (1891)

Hydriotaphia/Urn-Burial and The Garden of Cyrus (1658)

Across the Zodiac: the Story of a Wrecked Record (1880)

Superstitions About Animals (1904)

The Diary of a Nobody (1919 edition)

The Attitudes of Animals in Motion, Illustrated with the Zoopraxiscope (1882)

The Eccentric Mirror: Reflecting a Faithful and Interesting Delineation of Male and Female Characters, Ancient and Modern (1807)

Uriah Jewett and the Sea Serpent of Lake Memphemagog (1917)

Yuletide Entertainments (1910)

Mythical Monsters (1886)

Madame Tussaud's Napoleon Relics, Pictures and Other Curiosities (1901)

James Joyce's Chamber Music (1918 American Edition)

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/01/23/madame-tussauds-napoleon-relics/


The Lost World (1925)

Sunday 22 January 2012 at 15:28



Silent film adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1912 novel of the same name. Directed by Harry O. Hoyt and featured pioneering stop motion special effects by Willis O’Brien (an invaluable warm up for his work on the original King Kong directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack). In 1922, Conan Doyle showed O’Brien’s test reel to a meeting of the Society of American Magicians, which included Harry Houdini. The astounded audience watched footage of a Triceratops family, an attack by an Allosaurus and some Stegosaurus footage. Doyle refused to discuss the film’s origins. On the next day, the New York Times ran a front page article about it, saying “(Conan Doyle’s) monsters of the ancient world, or of the new world which he has discovered in the ether, were extraordinarily lifelike. If fakes, they were masterpieces”.

It is a film of many firsts: first film to be shown to airline passengers, in April 1925 on a London-Paris flight by the company Imperial Airways; first feature length film made in the United States, possibly the world, to feature model animation as the primary special effect, or stop motion animation in general; first dinosaur-oriented film hit, and it led to other dinosaur movies, from King Kong to the Jurassic Park trilogy.

(Text adapted from Wikipedia)

Download from Internet Archive

Note this film is in the public domain in the US, but may not be in other jurisdictions. Please check its status in your jurisdiction before re-using.



CLIPSSHORTFULL LENGTH SILENTFULL LENGTH TALKIE
Princess Nicotine (1909) 6min

Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) 12min

Last of the Mohicans (1920) 1hr11min

Meet John Doe (1941) 2hr3min

The Unappreciated Joke (1903) 1min

Frankenstein (1910) 13min

The General (1926) 1hr19min

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) 1hr19mins


The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (1895) 21sec

The Great Train Robbery (1903) 10min

Wolf Blood (1925) 1hr7min

Reefer Madness (1938) 1hr8min

The Kiss (1896) 25secs

Experiments in the Revival of Organisms (1940) 20min

Battleship Potemkin (1925) 1hr13min

The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952) 1hr57min

Trapeze Disrobing Act (1901) 2min

Are You Popular (1947) 10min

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927) 1hr11min

Scarlet Street (1945) 1hr43min

Annie Oakley Fires Her Gun (1894) 20secs

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910) 13min

For The Term of His Natural Life (1927) 1hr33min

The Last Man on Earth (1964) 1hr27min

Operation Cue (1955) 52sec

Never Weaken (1921) 28min

Intolerance (1916) 2hr57min

Quicksand (1950) 1hr18min

Dutch Fashion Reel (1969) 1min50sec

Betty Boop: Minnie The Moocher (1932) 7min46sec

The Phantom of the Opera (1925) 1hr46min

Suddenly (1954) 1hr16mins


Buffalo Dance (1894) 14sec

American Day in Tripoli, Libya (1962) 14min

The Thief of Bagdad (1924) 2hr20min

Five Minutes to Live (1961) 1hr14min

VD is for Everybody (1969) 1min

Your Name Here (1960) 10min10sec

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) 1hr11min

Cyrano De Bergerac (1950) 1hr53min

The Enchanted Drawing (1900) 1min29sec

The Night Before Christmas (1905) 8min44sec

Stella Maris (1918) 1hr13min

Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936) 1hr40min

Time-Lapse Demolition of the Star Theatre, New York (1901) 1min49sec

The Dream of Mrs L.L. Nicholson from Oakland, California (1924) 7min23sec

The Lost World (1925) 1hr8min

Gulliver's Travels (1939) 1hr18min

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/01/22/the-lost-world-1925/