The Public Domain Review

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A Few Words about F. Scott Fitzgerald

Monday 26 September 2011 at 16:05

In most countries around the world, 2011 saw the writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald enter the public domain. Scott Donaldson, author of the biography Fool For Love: F. Scott Fitzgerald, explores the obscuring nature of his legend and the role that women played in his life and work.

With Fitzgerald as with no one else in American literature save Poe, the biography gets in the way. Never mind that F. Scott Fitzgerald is the author of one exquisite short novel as perfect as anything in our literature and of another longer, more chaotic novel of tremendous emotional power. Never mind that he has written a couple of dozen stories that by any standard deserve the designation of “masterful.” Ignoring those legacies, much of the general public still tends to think of him in connection with the legends of his disordered and difficult life, and to classify him under one convenient stereotype or another. So diminished in stature, Fitzgerald becomes the Chronicler of the Jazz Age, or the Artist in Spite of Himself, or – most prevalent stereotype of all – the Writer as Burnt-Out Case: a man whose tragic course functions as a cautionary tale for more commonsensical aftercomers. His saga offers an almost irresistible temptation to sermonizers, overt or concealed. It is not right to ride on top of taxicabs or disport oneself in the Plaza hotel’s fountain, not right to drink to excess or abuse a “lovely golden wasted talent.” Go thou and do otherwise.

This warning usually remains implicit, of course. It is not the homily but the tale of star-crossed lovers that commands attention – handsome brilliant erratic Scott married for good or ill to beautiful willful unstable Zelda. There is an arresting poignancy in the way the two of them – Scott more than Zelda, perhaps – considered the alternatives and chose the sweet poison. Somehow, in the repeated retellings of this tale, the Fitzgeralds have come to stand for a kind of generic nonspecific glamour, now sadly departed. In 1980 the opening party for an exhibit of Fitzgeraldiana at the National Portrait Gallery drew an enormous crowd determined to celebrate a vanished past. The band played Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman numbers from the 1940s, the decade following Fitzgerald’s death. A few women attempted flapper costumes, but for the most part the clothes were as anachronistic as the music. One chap, aiming for colonial elegance, danced in a pith helmet. The details that mattered so much to Fitzgerald, a man precisely in tune with his times, mattered very little to those come to the party to memorialize his legend. Zelda and Scott, Scott and Zelda – they are fixed so securely in the collective mind as lovable reckless youths for whom it all went disastrously wrong that it has been difficult to set that image aside and concentrate on the work that established him as one of the major literary artists of the twentieth century.

Henry James, himself a biographer as well as a novelist, understood that the entire truth about anyone could never be told. “We can only take what groups together,” he said. What most grouped together in Fitzgerald’s work and life, I came to realize over several decades in the classroom and five years of intensive research, was an overweening compulsion to please. He wanted to please other men, but did a poor job of it. His Princeton classmates considered him over-inquisitive and frivolous. Zelda’s father thought him unreliable. Ernest Hemingway, the closest of friends in the mid-1920s, eventually came to regard him with something like scorn. Fitzgerald was far more successful in pleasing women. Readers of his fiction might expect as much, for he is one of our more androgynous writers, with a rare capacity to put himself in the place of characters of either sex. “All my characters are Scott Fitzgeralds,” he acknowledged. “Even my female characters are feminine Scott Fitzgeralds.” The set of instructions Fitzgerald drew up, at 18, for his younger sister Annabel provides convincing evidence along these lines. In this remarkable document he coached his sister in the finer points of attracting boys: how to groom herself, how to dance, what to talk about, how to flatter. And the androgyny is everywhere evident in the stories and novels, too, which is probably why most female college students are attracted to his fiction.

Left: Image of Zelda published in Metropolitan Magazine in June 1922, accompanying her piece "Eulogy of a Flapper". Right: A study of F. Scott Fitzgerald by Gordon Bryant, published in Shadowland magazine in 1921.

Equipped with this sensitivity, Fitzgerald played the game of courtship well. As a youth he was a notoriously successful flirt. “I’ve got an adjective that just fits you,” he would tell a dancing partner early in the evening, and then withhold the laudatory word to build up her expectations. He was good-looking, and at ease in the company of girls. He listened to them as few other boys did, and made it clear that he cared tremendously what they thought of him. Later, as a married man, he continued to woo women. He couldn’t help it. He needed their approval, which is to say their love and adoration. Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald may have been the most important woman in his life, but she was not and could not be the only one.

Fitzgerald suffered a tremendous setback when Ginevra King of Lake Forest, north of Chicago – one of the wealthiest and most beautiful debutantes of her day – spurned him in order to marry a young man of her own class. The rejection devastated Fitzgerald, even as it supplied him with the basic subject matter of much of his fiction. There are probably more characters in his stories and novels modeled on Ginevra than on Zelda Sayre, who caught him on the rebound. By altering the circumstances of the plot, Fitzgerald played variations on the age-old theme of the battle of the sexes.

Left: Fitzgerald reading alone in 1920. Right: Fitzgerald reading aloud to his friends in 1917, left to right, Helen Floan, Sidney Strong, Grace Warner, and Lucius P. Ordway, Jr. (Source: Minnesota Historical Society)

What is unusual about Fitzgerald’s treatment of this theme is its escalation – in the work as in the life — from the courting game of his adolescence to the fierce battle of his young manhood to the outright war of his maturity. Perhaps, we are inclined to think, Amory Blaine will not suffer unduly from his jilting by Rosalind Connage in This Side of Paradise (1920), Fitzgerald’s first novel. But Gatsby dies for Daisy in his 1925 masterpiece, and Dick Diver is stripped of his vitality and tossed aside by Nicole and her family in 1934’s Tender is the Night. In Fitzgerald’s fictional treatment of the war between the sexes, it is almost always the man who ends up defeated. By repeatedly depicting the downfall of his male figures, Fitzgerald was imagining what might well have happened (had not Zelda been afflicted with schizophrenia) and also – it seems to me – excoriating himself for his weaknesses. Tender, in particular, is a novel about the enervating effects of charm. Compelled to please everyone around him (and particularly women), Diver dissipates away his life’s work and his usefulness as a human being. The real Fitzgerald, like his invented protagonist, came to despise himself for this “fatal pleasingness,” a self-disgust that characteristically emerged under the influence of alcohol. Drinking runs like an inner malaise through Fitzgerald’s life and that of many of his male characters. His triumph came in the last years of his life, when – supposedly down and out in Hollywood – he cast aside this obsession, quit drinking, and went back to being what he called “a writer only.”



One of America’s leading literary biographers, Scott Donaldson has written eight books about 20th century American authors. These include Poet in America: Winfield Townley Scott (1972), By Force of Will: The Life and Art of Ernest Hemingway (1977), Fool for Love, F. Scott Fitzgerald (1983), John Cheever: A Biography (1988), Archibald MacLeish: An American Life (1992), winner of the 1993 Ambassador Book Award for biography, Hemingway vs. Fitzgerald: The Rise and Fall of a Literary Friendship (1999), Edwin Arlington Robinson: A Poet’s Life (2007), named the best biography of the year by Contemporary Poetry Forum, and Fitzgerald and Hemingway: Works and Days (2009). This present article is excerpted from the preface to a new paperback edition of his Fool for Love: F. Scott Fitzgerald from the University of Minnesota Press.


Links to Works


Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/09/26/a-few-words-about-f-scott-fitzgerald/


Gurdjieff’s Harmonium Improvisations (1949)

Saturday 24 September 2011 at 14:04



Recordings from the mystic and spiritual teacher G.I. Gurdjieff’s “last musical period”; improvised harmonium music which often followed the dinners he held in his Paris apartment during the Occupation and immediate post-war years, to his death in 1949.

(A total of 47 tracks are in the player above, use the next track button to navigate between them).

Internet Archive Link, including MP3 downloads

Note this audio is in the public domain in the European Union, but may not be in other jurisdictions (e.g. the US). Please check its status in your jurisdiction before re-using.



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)

Gurdjieff's Harmonium Improvisations (1949)

General Pershing March - Imperial Marimba Band (1918)

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/09/24/gurdjieffs-harmonium-improvisations-1949/


Maps from Geographicus

Thursday 22 September 2011 at 15:31

In March this year, Geographicus Rare Antique Maps, a specialist dealer in fine and rare antiquarian cartography and historic maps, donated their collection of over 2000 digital images to Wikimedia Commons. Here is just a small selection of a really great collection. Explore more, and help Wikimedia to categorise them, here. Each map shown below is linkable to the Wikimedia Commons page with more info about the map and higher resolution images. Huge thank you to Geographicus for sharing these amazing images!

Tabula Anemographica seu Pyxis Nautica Ventorum Nomina Sex Linguis Repraesentans (1650) by Jan Jansson or Johannes Janssonius (1588–1664)



Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Tabula (1684) by A. J. Bormeester



Perigrinatie ofte Veertich-Iarige Reyse der Kinderen Israels (1702) by N. Visscher and D. Stoopendaal



Plan de Paris, the c. 1900 Taride edition of Louis Bretez and Michel-Etienne Turgot's monumental 1739 map of Paris.



Principaute de Catalogne et Partie du Rous sillon Echelle de Lieux, a stunning map of Catalonia, Spain first drawn by Daniel de la Feuille in 1706



Eiland Ormus, of Jerun, engraved by Jacob Van der Schley under the supervision of J. Bellin for the c. 1750 edition of Provost's L`Histoire Generale des Voyages



Plan de la Forteresse de Coylan, a rare 1756 map of the fort of Kollam, Kerala, on India’s Malabar Coast by French cartographer N. Bellin



Plan of the New Streets and Squares intended for the city of Edinburgh, drafted for the city planning committee in 1768 by James Craig



Sphere de Ptolomee, a beautiful example of Rigobert Bonne's curious decorative chart of the Spheres (1775)



Essay on the Battle of Plataea for the Travels of Anacharsis, 1784 color map showing the Battle of Plataea by Barbie du Bocage



A General Map of the World, or Terraqueouis Globe with all the New Discoveries and Marginal Delineations, Containing the Most Interesting Particulars in the Solar, Starry and Mundane System; an absolutely stunning and monumental double hemisphere wall map of the world by Samuel Dunn dating to 1794



New and Improved View of the Comparative Heights, of the Principal Mountains and Lengths of the Principal Rivers in the World. A groundbreaking convention establishing map of extreme scarcity, this is William Darton and W. R. Gardner’s 1823 comparative mountains and rivers of the world chart.



Table of the Comparative Heights of the Principal Mountains in the World; Finley’s attractive c. 1826 map of the comparative heights of the principal mountains of the world.



Physical Geography. Humboldt’s Distribution of Plants in Equinoctial America, According to Elevation Above the Level of the Sea (1839)



Mitchell’s National Map of the American Republic or The United States of North America. Together with Maps of the Vicinities of Thirty-Two Principal Cities and Towns in the Union (1845)



Map Of The Country Thirty Three Miles Around The City Of New York (1879), by Joseph Hutchins Colton



Afrique; a stunning c. 1847 map of Africa by French cartographer Victor Levasseur



Shintei - Chikyu Bankoku Hozu (Square Map of all the Countries on the Globe); a very interesting 1853 (Kaei 6) Japanese world map by Suido Nakajima.



Colton's Railroad & Township Map of the Western States compiled from the United States Surveys (1854)



The Constellations (December November October); this rare hand coloured map of the stars was engraved by W. G. Evans of New York for Burritt’s 1856 edition of the Atlas to Illustrate the Geography of the Heavens.





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)

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/09/22/maps-from-geographicus/


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

Wednesday 21 September 2011 at 14:45


Hydriotaphia, urne-buriall, or A discourse of the sepulchrall urnes lately found in Norfolk. Together with The garden of Cyrus, or The quincunciall lozenge, or network plantations of the ancients, artificially, naturally, mystically considered. With sundry observations, by Thomas Browne; 1658 (1927); Hen. Brome, London

Sir Thomas Browne (19 October 1605 – 19 October 1682), an English author of varied works which reveal his wide learning in diverse fields including medicine, religion, science and the esoteric, conceived of these two books as a diptych. The nominal subject of the first book, Hydriotaphia (Urn-Burial), was the discovery of a Roman urn burial in Norfolk which prompts Browne to deliver, first, a careful description of the antiquities found, and then a careful survey of most of the burial and funerary customs, ancient and current, of which his era was aware. The most famous part of the work, though, is the fifth chapter, where Browne quite explicitly turns to discuss man’s struggles with mortality, and the uncertainty of his fate and fame in this world and the next, to produce an extended funerary meditation tinged with melancholia. A piece of exquisite baroque prose that George Saintsbury called “the longest piece, perhaps, of absolutely sublime rhetoric to be found in the prose literature of the world,” Hydriotaphia displays an astonishing command of English prose rhythm and diction. It has been admired by Charles Lamb, Samuel Johnson, John Cowper Powys, James Joyce, Jorge Luis Borges, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said of it that it “smells in every word of the sepulchre.” The Garden of Cyrus is Browne’s mystical vision of the interconnection of art, nature and the Universe via numerous symbols including the number five, the quincunx pattern, the figure X and Network pattern. Its slender but compressed pages of imagery, symbolism and associative thought are evidence of Sir Thomas Browne’s complete understanding of a fundamental quest of Hermetic philosophy, namely proof of the wisdom of God.

(Note: this text taken from the excellent Wikipedia articles on the two books, see them here and here)

(HTML version of the books can be found here)

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)

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/09/21/hydriotaphia-urn-burial-and-the-garden-of-cyrus-1658/


Aspiring to a Higher Plane

Monday 19 September 2011 at 20:15

In 1884 Edwin Abbott Abbott published Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, the first ever book that could be described as ‘mathematical fiction’. Ian Stewart, author of Flatterland and The Annotated Flatland, introduces the strange tale of the geometric adventures of A. Square.

Edwin Abbott Abbott, who became Headmaster of the City of London School at the early age of 26, was renowned as a teacher, writer, theologian, Shakespearean scholar, and classicist. He was a religious reformer, a tireless educator, and an advocate of social democracy and improved education for women. Yet his main claim to fame today is none of these: a strange little book, the first and almost the only one of its genre: mathematical fantasy. Abbott called it Flatland, and published it in 1884 under the pseudonym A. Square.

On the surface — and the setting, the imaginary world of Flatland, is a surface, an infinite Euclidean plane — the book is a straightforward narrative about geometrically shaped beings that live in a two-dimensional world. A. Square, an ordinary sort of chap, undergoes a mystical experience: a visitation by the mysterious Sphere from the Third Dimension, who carries him to new worlds and new geometries. Inspired by evangelical zeal, he strives to convince his fellow citizens that the world is not limited to the two dimensions accessible to their senses, falls foul of the religious authorities, and ends up in jail.

The story has a timeless appeal, and has never been out of print since its first publication. It has spawned several sequels and has been the subject of at least one radio programme and two animated films. Not only is the book about hidden dimensions: it has its own hidden dimensions. Its secret mathematical agenda is not the notion of two dimensions, but that of four. Its social agenda pokes fun at the rigid stratification of Victorian society, especially the low status of women, even the wives and daughters of the wealthy.

Flatland’s inhabitants are triangles, squares, and other geometric figures. In the planar world’s orderly hierarchy, one’s status depends on one’s degree of regularity and how many sides one has. An isosceles triangle is superior to a scalene triangle (all sides different) but inferior to an equilateral triangle. But all triangles must defer to squares, which in turn defer to pentagons, hexagons, right up to the pinnacle of Flatland society, the Priestshood. Referred to as ‘circles’, the priests are actually polygons with so many sides that no one can distinguish them. The sons of squares are usually pentagons, the grandsons hexagons, so there is a general progression along the greasy pole (there is no ‘up’ in Flatland).

But what of the wives and daughters? Flatland’s women are mere line segments, actually very thin triangles, whose social standing is zero. Their intelligence is little greater. They are required by law to wiggle from side to side so that they can be seen, and to emit loud cries so that they can be heard, because a collision with a woman is as fatal as one with a stiletto. Abbott took a bit of stick from some of his female contemporaries, who failed to appreciate his irony. But we know from his own life, including his daughter’s education, that he did a lot to improve the status of women and to ensure they received the same level of education as men.

Abbott wasn’t particularly good at, or keen on, mathematics, but his book tackled an issue of great interest in Victorian times, the notion of four (or more) dimensions. This idea was becoming fundamental in science and mathematics, and it was also being invoked in areas like theology and spiritualism, because an invisible extra dimension was just the place to locate God, the spirit world, or ghosts. Charlatans like the American medium Henry Slade were exploiting conjuring tricks to claim access to the Fourth Dimension. Legitimate hyperspace philosophers were speculating about the role that additional dimensions might play in illuminating the human condition.

Flatland approaches this topic by way of a dimensional analogy, widely used ever since, and not entirely Abbott’s own invention. The difficulties facing a three-dimensional Victorian attempting to grasp the geometry of four dimensions are similar to those facing A. Square attempting to grasp the geometry of three. Among Abbott’s sources for this analogy were frequent social encounters with eminent scientists such as the physicist John Tyndall, whom he met at George Eliot’s house in 1871. Tyndall may have told Abbott about the work of Hermann von Helmholtz, who gave public lectures on non-Euclidean geometry using the image of an imaginary two-dimensional creature living on a mathematical surface. Another likely source is the outrageous Charles Howard Hinton, who wrote his own book about a two-dimensional world in his 1907 An Episode of Flatland: How a Plane Folk Discovered the Third Dimension.

Abbott’s mathematico-literary legacy is a series of Flatland spin-offs: Dionys Burger’s Sphereland, Rudy Rucker’s short story ‘Message Found in a Copy of Flatland’ and his novel The Fourth Dimension, Alexander Keewatin Dewdney’s The Planiverse, and my own Flatterland. But what he was really trying to tell his readers was more subtle. Just as a humble square can transcend his plane world and aspire to the Third Dimension, so the women and the lower classes of Victorian England could transcend the confines of their stratified society and aspire to a higher plane of existence. More than 120 years later, it is a message that has lost none of its urgency.



Ian Stewart is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick and the author of numerous popular mathematics books, including Flatterland and The Annotated Flatland. His most recent book is Mathematics of Life.


Links to Works


Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/09/19/aspiring-to-a-higher-plane/


Dutch Fashion Reel (1969)

Sunday 18 September 2011 at 13:47



Strange little fashion film from 1969 courtesy of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision via Open Images. From the site: “Dressed in a circle shaped plastic cape, model Joke de Kruijf gets on tram line 8 to The Hague at the Gevers-Doynoot square in Scheveningen. Somewhat later a similiar tram rides through Madurodam, where De Kruijf walks between the minature houses as part of a fashion show with clothing by designer Pierre Cardin. Also with a woman’s suit, jersey men’s wear, woollen checked men’s wear and evening gowns. Cardin looks on.”

Download from Open Images

Published under a Creative Commons – Attribution-Share Alike license



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

Faust (1926) 1hr55min

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


Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/09/18/dutch-fashion-reel-1969/


Betty Boop: Minnie The Moocher (1932)

Sunday 18 September 2011 at 13:34



Minnie the Moocher defined Betty’s character as a teenager of a modern era, at odds with the old world ways of her parents. In the cartoon, after a disagreement with her parents, Betty runs away from home, accompanied by her boyfriend Bimbo, only to get lost in a haunted cave. A ghostly walrus (rotoscoped from live-action footage of Calloway), sings Calloway’s famous song “Minnie the Moocher”, accompanied by several other ghosts and skeletons. This haunting performance sends the frightened Betty and Bimbo back to the safety of home.

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

Faust (1926) 1hr55min

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


Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/09/18/betty-boop-minnie-the-moocher-1932/


Suddenly (1954)

Saturday 17 September 2011 at 15:21



Frank Sinatra stars as John Baron, a psychopathic killer, who along with two other men, has been hired to assassinate the President, and holds a family hostage while waiting for his target. It was long thought that Lee Harvey Oswald actually saw Suddenly on television in October 1963 (one month before the assassination of Kennedy), but an investigation of the claim eventually proved it to be untrue.

Download from Internet Archive



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

Faust (1926) 1hr55min

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


Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/09/17/suddenly-1954/


The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Saturday 17 September 2011 at 15:14



First film adaptation, directed by Rupert Julian, of Gaston Leroux’s novel. The film features Lon Chaney in the title role as the deformed Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House, causing murder and mayhem in an attempt to force the management to make the woman he loves a star. It is most famous for Lon Chaney’s intentionally horrific, self-applied make-up, which was kept a studio secret until the film’s premiere.

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

Faust (1926) 1hr55min

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


Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/09/17/the-phantom-of-the-opera-1925/


Robert Fludd and His Images of The Divine

Tuesday 13 September 2011 at 15:38

Between 1617 and 1621 the English physician and polymath Robert Fludd published his masterwork Utriusque Cosmi, a book split into two volumes and packed with over 60 intricate engravings. Urszula Szulakowska explores the philosophical and theological ideas behind the extraordinary images found in the second part of the work.

Robert Fludd was a respected English physician (of Welsh origins) employed at the court of King James I of England. He was a prolific writer of vast, multi-volume encyclopaedias in which he discussed a universal range of topics from magical practices such as alchemy, astrology, kabbalism and fortune-telling, to radical theological thinking concerning the inter-relation of God with the natural and human worlds. However, he also proudly displayed his grasp of practical knowledge, such as mechanics, architecture, military fortifications, armaments, military manoeuvres, hydrology, musical theory and musical instruments, mathematics, geometry, optics and the art of drawing, as well as chemistry and medicine. Fludd used the common metaphor for the arts as being the “ape of Nature,” a microcosmic form of the manner in which the universe itself functioned.

Fludd’s most famous work is the History of the Two Worlds (Utriusque Cosmi … Historia, 1617-21) published in five volumes by Theodore de Bry in Oppenheim. The two worlds under discussion are those of the Microcosm of human life on earth and the Macrocosm of the universe (which included the spiritual realm of the Divine).

Fludd himself was a staunch member of the Anglican Church. He was educated in the medical profession at St. John’s College in Oxford. In 1598-1604/ 5 he set out for an extended period of travel on the continent. He spent a winter with some Jesuits, a Roman Catholic order deeply opposed to Protestantism who, nevertheless, tutored Fludd on magical practices. Fludd, however, always claimed to have worked out the theological and magical systems in his first volume of the Utriusque Cosmi … Historia, concerning the Macrocosm (1617), during his undergraduate days at Oxford. In this work Fludd devised a lavishly illustrated cosmology, based on the chemical theory of Paracelsus, in which the materials of the universe were separated out of chaos by God who acted in the manner of a laboratory alchemist.

Fludd was a deeply convinced adherent of the medical and magical practice of the German doctor, surgeon and radical theologian, Theophrastus Paracelsus von Hohenheim. This loyalty led Fludd into severe conflicts with the established British medical profession. His later publications described a medical practice, almost devoid of chemical remedies but which depended almost solely on prayer and the use of the name of Jesus on the model of the first apostles of Christ. This devotional medicine was supported by a theology derived from the secret mystical teaching of Judaism, the kabbalah, which Fludd employed in a Christianised form derived from the ideas of the German philosopher, Johannes Reuchlin.

In his medicinal incantations Fludd used the Hebrew form of the name of Jesus which, he claimed, possessed immense magical potency. He equated Jesus Christ with the kabbalistic angel Metattron, the heavenly form of the Jewish Messiah, (UCH, 2 1621: 2-5). He was said to be the soul of the world, pervading it through-out (“anima mundi”), or Anthropos (UCH, 2 1621, Tract II, Sect I: 8-9). Fludd states that “Hochmah” (Wisdom in the kabbalistic Tree of Life) is the same as the “Verbum” (the “Word” in the Christian Gospel of John who is identified with Jesus Christ). The Christian “Word” is the same as the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, “Aleph. This Christian Messiah is the most potent medicine for all human ills. The “Verbum”, or Metattron-Christ-Messiah, is the form of God himself, residing in the the sun.

In Fludd’s medical theories the operation of the aerial nitre, or quintessence, in the human body was of critical importance to health. It was said to originate in the tabernacle of the aerial spirit which was the sun. The essence of the aerial nitre was celestial light. It was breathed in by the lungs and carried to the heart, where it was separated from the air and dispersed as the vital spirit through-out the body. In his short text, the “Tractatus de Tritico” (the “Tractate on Wheat”) , which re-appeared in his Anatomiae Amphiteatrum (1623) and also in the Philosophia Moysaica (1638), Fludd described the distillation of the aerial nitre from the wheat using the heat and light of the sun’s own rays. Fludd claimed that this distilled spirit was the universal panacea, whose generative celestial fire had been drawn out of the sun.

All of Fludd’s treatises were lavishly illustrated with extraordinary engravings, unique in their form and subject-matter, which have the visionary quality of a genuine spiritual seer and which exerted an influence on his contemporary occultists such as Michael Maier, Jacob Boehme and Johannes Mylius. Fludd himself designed these images and they were engraved by the artisans employed at his publishers. (Some of his own original drawings still exist for the first volume of the Utriusque Cosmi … Historia, 1617).

Fludd’s concepts of the creative and healing forces of light were illustrated by diagrams, the principles of light and darkness being represented by two intersecting cones, or pyramids. The base of the “pyramidis formalis” was placed in the Empyreum of God, signifying rays of divine light, while the base of the “pyramidis materialis” was located on the earth pointing upward towards God. Fludd described these diagrammatic forms as “pyramides lucis”, “cones of light,” claiming to have invented them himself, although they seem to be based on antique and medieval optical theory. Within the lozenge shape created by the intersection of the downward and upward pointing cones, Fludd placed the sun, since the nature of this sphere balanced the oppositions of spirit and matter, male and female, sulphur and mercury.

From the outset in the “Macrocosm” (UCH, 1617) Fludd’s cosmogony was based on the three generative principles which were those conceptualised by Paracelsus in his own alchemy, namely, those of light, darkness and water, from which emerged the three primary elements that constituted matter, that is, Salt from darkness (as the “prima materia”), Sulphur from light (as the soul) and Mercury from water (as the spirit). These, in turn, produced the four qualities of antique and medieval physics, the qualities of heat, cold, dryness and moistness. Fludd’s alchemical cosmology was explained by a series of intricate geometrical diagrams of great power and beauty.

In the third book of the “Macrocosm” Fludd also offered another interpretation of the structure of the universe, complementing his earlier alchemical visualisations, but expressed musically. He analysed what he claimed to be the “Musica Mundana”, the musical forms that pervaded and structure universal creation based on the musicology and mathematics of the ancient Greek, Pythagoras (UCH, 1, 1617, pp. 79-81). The fifth chapter of the “Musica Mundana” included an illustration of a cosmic lyre.

Fludd achieved a certain notoriety in his own time for his early support of the “Rosicrucian Manifestos” in his treatise the Apologia (1616) (expanded into the Tractatus Apologeticus, 1618). The two texts, which came to be called the Rosicrucian Manifestos, consisted of the Fama which appeared in 1614, followed by the Confessio in 1615. They were published anonymously in Kassel and they have been the subject of extensive debate in regard to their origins and authorship (see Donald R. Dickson, The Tessera of Antilia (Leiden: Brill, 1998), pp. 32-36). The authors never revealed themselves but they called for supporters to join the Rosicrucian movement, claimed to have been in existence for centuries. Those who responded by publishing letters to the Rosicrucians were a heterogeneous group of Protestants, mostly of a radical reformist character, as well as adherents to antique philosophy and magic (kabbalists, followers of Hermes Trismegistos – a mythical Egyptian sage, as well as practitioners of magic on the model of Cornelius Agrippa (a sixteenth century German sage) and of Paracelsus.v The Manifestos seem to have been written to counteract the re-conversionary activities of the Jesuit order in central Europe. Said to be supporters of a legendary figure of the fourteenth century, Christian Rozenkreutz, there never did exist in reality any such entity as the Rosicrucian Order in the seventeenth century. It could be said, however, that there did exist a popular Rosicrucian movement whose supporters developed the original ideas of the founders and in which Fludd’s influence was a dominating factor.


(All images in the public domain, courtesy of Deutsche Fotothek)



Urszula Szulakowska has been a lecturer in the History of Art at Sydney University, Queensland University, Bretton Hall College and the University of Leeds (1977-2011). Currently she is Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. She has published extensively on the history of art and alchemy including monographs: The Alchemy of Light (Brill: 2000), The Sacrificial Body and the Day of Doom (Brill: 2005) and Alchemy in Contemporary Art (Ashgate: 2010), as well as many learned articles and papers in scholarly sources.


Links to Works


Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/09/13/robert-fludd-and-his-images-of-the-divine/