The Public Domain Review

This is just an automatic copy of Public Domain Review blog.

American Day in Tripoli, Libya (1962)

Saturday 22 October 2011 at 12:02



Filmed at Tripoli International Fairground eleven years after independence from Italian colonial rule and seven years before a group of military officers led by a 28 year old Muammar al-Gaddafi staged a coup d’état against King Idris bringing the monarchy to an end and beginning Gadaffi’s 42 year rule.

National Archives and Records Administration – ARC Identifier 37715 / Local Identifier 151.56 – [AMERICAN DAY IN] TRIPOLI, LIBYA – Department of Commerce. (1913 – ). Silent. DVD copied by IASL Master Scanner Timothy Vollmer.

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


Buffalo Dance (1894) 14sec

The Cook (1918) 18min

The Thief of Bagdad (1924) 2hr20min

Five Minutes to Live (1961) 1hr14min

VD is for Everybody (1969) 1min

American Day in Tripoli, Libya (1962) 14min

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

Cyrano De Bergerac (1950) 1hr53min

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/10/22/american-day-in-tripoli-libya-1962/


What Makes Franz Liszt Still Important?

Monday 17 October 2011 at 22:06

This week sees the 200th anniversary of the birth of Franz Liszt. Leon Botstein, President of Bard College and music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra, explores what we can still learn from the life and music of Liszt.

Marking anniversaries of the birth and death of historic figures, particularly in music, is somewhat akin to commemorating annually the date of death of family members. It is never quite clear whether we are struggling to remember those to whom we were once close as we pursue our lives without them, all in an effort to assuage the guilt that comes with the natural tendency to forget, or whether we are indulging in a form of nostalgia, shaped in part by using the selective memory of the past to make claims about what our present and future lives ought to be but have seemingly little chance of becoming. And as we commemorate we rarely penetrate beneath the surface of received opinion, revising a set of inherited judgments.

In our concert life these anniversaries become easy excuses to justify a comfortable and unexamined account of what history has bequeathed as “great” music. Marking the 100th or 200th anniversary rarely leads to a change in the concert repertory. We belabor the obvious. One might consider the Gustav Mahler centenary in 1960 as an exception since it took place at the beginning of a Mahler revival. But the two-year extended Mahler remembrances that are justified by the 100th anniversary of his death (2011) and the 150th of his birth (2010) have functioned to ossify a sentimental historical portrait and further enshrine the central place Mahler’s music has in the orchestral repertory.

The Four ages of Franz Liszt, as published in The Etude magazine, 1913.

The case of Franz Liszt, who was born in 1811 and died in 1886, is more complex. Celebrating the 200th anniversary of his birth ought to have been an opportunity to revisit a figure who helped define Romanticism, the role of the piano on the stage and in the home, and, most importantly, how music functions for most of the literate public. Yet our attention to him remains largely muted and ambivalent. Only a few of his works are still in the standard orchestral repertory — the piano concertos and one tone poem Les Preludes. Pianists bring out a few select works in recital, mostly to display the virtuosity they demand. This is in stark contrast to Chopin, his contemporary, whom Liszt championed. The choral and organ music are never performed. If one compares this to Liszt’s output, not only for the piano, (which is gargantuan in scope), one cannot help but be struck by the obscurity that most of his music has fallen into. The last effort in a major city to revive Liszt’s music took place in New York in the 1970s under the leadership of Pierre Boulez.

If we choose to remember Liszt more than in passing, it is as the legendary and charismatic personality he was, with all its complexities — his notorious love life, his turn to religion, his relationship with Richard Wagner and Wagner’s second wife, Liszt’s daughter Cosima. There never has been a better subject in music history for a Hollywood movie. He was classical music’s most successful, colorful, and long-lived superstar; he acquired and retained more groupies than any one before or since.

Photograph of Franz Liszt taken in 1858, featured in Die berühmten Musiker by Lacroix Jean, Kunstverlag by Lucien Mazenod, 1946.

We may also choose to recall that he was likely the greatest and most facile pianist that ever lived and perhaps the most influential teacher of the instrument. Liszt’s pupils and their pupils dominated the musical landscape for generations. He defined the personality of the concert pianist, even though, ironically, Liszt gave up concertizing relatively early in his career. Perhaps we also acknowledge Liszt’s uncommon generosity to and support for his contemporary composers, from Chopin and Wagner to Grieg and Saint-Saëns, as well as his influence on a younger generation, including Mahler, Richard Strauss, and Jean Sibelius.

As the bicentenary comes to a close without much ado, what have we missed? What indeed might we still learn and profit from taking a deeper and more comprehensive look at Liszt and his career?

First, Liszt ought to remind us that our approach to music should not be dependent on some construct of nationality that helps prop up the popularity of a composer. Reputations in classical music after Beethoven seem increasingly dependent on nationalist enthusiasms. We seek Hungarians to perform Bartók, Russians Tchaikovsky, the English Elgar, the French Debussy, and Americans Copland and Ives. Liszt defies this easy categorization. He was at one and the same time crucial to what we now regard as quintessentially Hungarian, German, and French. His reach as an artist and composer transcended national categories and reminds us of the limitations of nationalist appropriations and stereotypes.

Top: Hungarian Stamp from 1961 celebrating 150th anniversary of Liszt's birth. Bottom: German stamp from 1996 celebrating the 100th anniversary of his death.

Second, Liszt’s art bridged all genres. At the heart of his music for the piano was improvisation, an art sadly lost in what we now term classical music. Few, if any classical musicians can do it. Notation in his piano music sought to mirror an art that was spontaneous and tied to a moment of performance. His elaborations and fantasies for the piano based on the operatic works of others suggest many ways of freely adapting and altering music we like and wish to remember. The same can said for his transcriptions of works by Bach and Beethoven, where music written for one medium is translated into another. Liszt’s piano versions of the Beethoven symphonies (Beethoven was a composer Liszt venerated and spent a lifetime advocating) were particular favorites of that brilliant eccentric, Glenn Gould. We musicians would be well served by following Liszt’s example by liberating ourselves from some delusive ideology of faithfulness to historic texts, adapting old and new music into the framework of our own new music, and altering it to reach a generation of listeners accustomed to new sounds and a novel acoustic environment. Liszt did that using the piano, and by so doing he helped create an enthusiastic audience of spectators.

Third, Liszt pioneered in rendering music an art form connected to literature, painting, and narration. His notion that instrumental music can and should evoke character, landscape, plot, emotion, and ideas (for example in his tone poem Die Ideale, based on Schiller) laid the groundwork for what we now take for granted as the musical semantics and rhetoric we encounter in music for film and television. The magic in Liszt was that just music alone sufficed to spur the audience’s imagination. Playing Liszt and listening to his work reminds us of the power of music to tell and augment a story and evoke and embellish a memory. This is particularly the case with respect to the connection between spirituality and religion and music, as Liszt’s late orchestral work From the Cradle to the Grave and his massive oratorio Christus make clear.

Pastel impression of Liszt by the German artist Franz von Lenbach (1836–1904), ca. 1880, currently at the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich.

Fourth, Liszt was a tireless innovator, never content to repeat himself. Without Liszt’s experiments in the uses of harmony and sonority and the shape of musical form (for example, the stress on single melodies and motives and therefore imaginative repetition in works of considerable duration) much of late Romanticism and Modernism, particularly that associated with Wagner, would be unthinkable. He harbored few prejudices and was, to the end of his days, receptive to the work of younger composers and enthusiastic about new ideas — as his generous treatment of Russian composers amply suggests. We live in too segmented an environment, where the classical and the popular are still segregated, except for occasional all too facile efforts at so-called crossover works and events. Originality was just one of the goals Liszt pursued. He borrowed happily from others and sought to integrate diverse influences into a synthetic and syncretic expressive musical art form. That expansive tendency helped lend him early on in his career as a composer the ill deserved reputation of being all too facile and superficial.

Fifth, consistent with his adherence to improvisation and transcription, he defined interpretation as a creative act, even when performing a Beethoven sonata, as close to a “sacred” text as exists in the 19th-century piano literature. He added and subtracted, inserted transitions, and refashioned the meaning of historic masterpieces. Perhaps the best known is his adaptation of Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy into a work for piano and orchestra.

A more protean, gifted, generous, and versatile figure in music’s history can hardly be imagined, one who sought to keep the past alive and to link tradition with the contemporary. From Liszt we can learn that mere imitation and endless repetition of the same will not do and will condemn an art form to a form of living death. Virtuoso par excellence that he was, he despised mere athleticism in music — the single-minded obsession with speed, accuracy, circuslike tricks, and above all, arbitrary affectation in the rendering of music, attributes that have come to define our contemporary concert life. He demanded that performance and composition be kept together and define the performing musician. And yet he reveled in the theater of performance, with lightness and irony.

Photograph of Liszt in his music room in Weimar in 1884 - published in Modern Music and Musicians, University Society, New York, 1918

However, in order to gain the full measure of Liszt’s achievement and to benefit from his example far more of his music needs to be heard on the concert stage. Two great symphonic works, the Dante and Faust symphonies—although they have made periodic comebacks—need to be a regular part of the repertory. The same applies to the many orchestral tone poems, from Orpheus to Tasso. And the great choral music (the Missa solennis and the 13th Psalm, for example) should return to active life and take their place alongside the Mozart Requiem and Handel’s Messiah. Last but not least, there is the endless treasure trove of piano music well beyond the Transcendental Etudes.

Liszt was the first composer-performer to find ways, as a pianist and conductor, to reach a wide public, to make music accessible and enjoyable to more than a self-styled elite of connoisseurs. He did so by connecting music to the public’s wider interests, in poetry and prose, in politics, in history, and in art and religion. He wrote on music, including a biography of Chopin. He ran a court theater in Weimar where he gave the first performances of Wagner’s Lohengrin and Schumann’s Genoveva. He laid the foundations of Hungary’s modern musical life by founding Budapest’s conservatory. He used his fame and artistry on behalf of political and humanitarian causes.

What we can and must learn from Liszt is precisely what it means to be a musician, and to be, as a musician, at the center of a community’s political and cultural life, and to do so fearlessly, courageously, and generously. He set an example of what it requires to be, truly, a citizen of the world as a composer and performer, as one who broke rules and conventions to chart new paths. That was the message contained in Arnold Schoenberg’s 1911 centenary appreciation of Liszt. The very same exhortation needs repeating a century later. The difference is that in 1911 Liszt the composer had become largely derided. Today he is no longer controversial, just neglected.

Franz Liszt Fantasising at the Piano (1840) by Josef Danhauser - depicting Liszt playing in a Parisian salon on a grand piano made by Conrad Graf, who commissioned the painting; on the piano is a bust of Ludwig van Beethoven by Anton Dietrich; the imagined gathering shows seated Alexandre Dumas, George Sand, Franz Liszt, Marie d'Agoult; standing Hector Berlioz or Victor Hugo, Niccolò Paganini, Gioachino Rossini; and a portrait of Byron on the wall.



Leon Botstein is music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. He is founder and coartistic director of the Bard Music Festival, which celebrates its 22nd season this year at Bard College, the institution he has served as president since 1975. He is the editor of The Musical Quarterly and the author of many articles and books. For his contributions to music he has received the Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Centennial Medal of the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art. He is a recipient of the Carnegie Foundation’s Academic Leadership Award and a member of the American Philosophical Society.


Links to Works


Download and more info from Internet Archive


Download and more info from Internet Archive


  1. Allegro maestoso
  2. Quasi adagio
  3. Allegro vivace
  4. Allegro marziale animato

Download and more info from Internet Archive


Download and more info from Internet Archive


Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/10/17/what-makes-franz-liszt-still-important/


For The Term of His Natural Life (1927)

Saturday 15 October 2011 at 13:05



Considered to be the greatest of Australia’s silent films, it was also the most expensive, costing 50 times more than the average film of the time. Directed by Norman Dawn, and based on the 1870s novel by Marcus Clarke, it tells the tale of a wrongful imprisonment and the hero’s dramatic attempts at escape. Starring George Fisher as Richard Devine/Rufus Dawes/John Rex and Eva Novak as Sylvia Vickers.

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


Buffalo Dance (1894) 14sec

The Cook (1918) 18min

The Thief of Bagdad (1924) 2hr20min

Five Minutes to Live (1961) 1hr14min

VD is for Everybody (1969) 1min

American Day in Tripoli, Libya (1962) 14min

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

Cyrano De Bergerac (1950) 1hr53min

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/10/15/for-the-term-of-his-natural-life-1927/


VD is for Everybody (1969)

Saturday 15 October 2011 at 12:26



From the Internet Archive courtesy of the A/V Geeks: “The American Social Health Association was always experimenting with new ways to educate the public about venereal disease. They helped produce the first VD education film, “Fit to Fight”, in 1918 in order to educate soldiers being shipped abroad to fight in the first World War. Although this popular TV public service announcement informs the public that everybody is susceptible to venereal disease, strangely, it also seems to imply that having VD will make you successful, attractive and happy. Also, the song is quite infectious…”.

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


Buffalo Dance (1894) 14sec

The Cook (1918) 18min

The Thief of Bagdad (1924) 2hr20min

Five Minutes to Live (1961) 1hr14min

VD is for Everybody (1969) 1min

American Day in Tripoli, Libya (1962) 14min

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

Cyrano De Bergerac (1950) 1hr53min

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/10/15/vd-is-for-everybody-1969/


Superstitions About Animals (1904)

Friday 14 October 2011 at 11:49


Superstitions about animals, by Frank Gibson; 1904; W. Scott publishing co. ltd; London, Newcastle-on-Tyne, New York.

Author’s Note: My sole object in writing this little book has been to do something towards arousing a more general interest in a subject which has at no time obtained the attention it deserves. Yet there is no subject which so fully repays the thoughtful student as that of Natural History. In bringing together some of the most common superstitions about animals, and dealing with them in a light and popular way, I trust my object will in some measure be attained. If by the publication of this unpretentious work only a little of the prevalent superstition is swept away, and further interest is created in the wonders of the animal kingdom, I shall be more than amply rewarded. FRANK GIBSON. Bishop Auckland, July 1904.

Internet Archive 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)

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/10/14/superstitions-about-animals-1904/


World War II from the Air

Thursday 13 October 2011 at 16:09

A selection of World War II aerial photographs collected from Wikimedia Commons, including the Allied bombing of Hamburg, scenes from Operation Market Garden, and views of Birkenau extermination camp in Poland. Each photograph links through to its Wikimedia Commons page where you will find more information on the image and higher resolution versions.



























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

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/10/13/world-war-2-from-the-air/


Stories of a Hollow Earth

Monday 10 October 2011 at 21:45

In 1741 the Norwegian-Danish author Ludvig Holberg published Klimii Iter Subterraneum, a satirical science-fiction/fantasy novel detailing the adventures of its hero Niels Klim in a utopian society existing beneath the surface of the earth. Peter Fitting, author of Subterranean Worlds: A Critical Anthology, explores Holberg’s book in the wider context of the hollow earth theory.

Illustration showing a citizen of Martinia wearing a wig, from the 1845 English edition of Niels Klim’s Journey Under the Ground.

In 1818 John Cleves Symmes, Jr, issued his “Circular Number 1,” sending copies to “each notable foreign government, reigning prince, legislature, city, college, and philosophical society, quite around the earth”:

I declare that the earth is hollow and habitable within; containing a number of solid concentric spheres, one within the other, and that it is open at the poles twelve or sixteen degrees. I pledge my life in support of this truth, and am ready to explore the hollow, if the world will support and aid me in the undertaking.

The fortunes of the idea that the Earth was “hollow and habitable within,” from classical references to the underworld to esoteric and New Age writers today, have been recounted elsewhere, most notably by Walter Kafton-Minkel in his Subterranean Worlds: 100,000 years of dragons, dwarfs, the dead, lost races & UFOs from inside the earth (1989). Symmes’s theories led to a number of fictional visions of the “world within”, most immediately, Adam Seaborn’s 1820 novel Symzonia – a work which has often been attributed to Symmes himself; and the novel with its diagrams and drawings was for some time cited as evidence that the world is hollow. In a somewhat different way, Symmes’s conviction that there were openings at the poles also led to the establishment of perhaps the most famous American naval scientific expedition, the “United States Exploring Expedition” which was commissioned to explore the South Pacific and led to the establishment of a national museum of natural history – the Smithsonian Institute. (The history of the expedition and its origins in Symmes’ ideas is recounted in William Stanton’s 1975 The Great United States Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842).

Sectional View of the earth Showing the Opening at the Poles, a diagram from Symzonia by Capt. Adam Seaborn (probably a pseudonym used by Capt. John Cleves Symmes)

Symmes, however, was not the first to argue that the Earth was hollow; nor is Symzonia the first novel set in a hollow earth. There are of course numerous narratives – dating back to Greek and Roman texts – of descents into the underworld, but hypotheses about vast channels or chasms inside the Earth appear to be a much more recent idea advanced by some European thinkers in the 17th and 18th centuries as an explanation of volcanoes, whirlpools and the like. This period is filled with a variety of now discarded cosmological hypotheses, many inspired by the attempt to reconcile scriptural accounts of Creation with scientific observation: hypotheses about the movement of the sun, the earth and the stars, about the universality of the great Flood, about creation and the origins of life, and about the earth’s own formation. Among the proponents of now abandoned theories about the composition of our planet was Edmond Halley (better known for the comet which bears his name), who proposed (in a paper explaining the movement of the magnetic poles published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 1692) that the earth was hollow: “that the seemingly solid earth is actually a shell about 500 miles thick containing three smaller concentric spheres… each sphere separated from the others by about 500 miles of atmosphere.”

Diagram from Edmond Halley's paper explaining the movement of the magnetic poles which was published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 1692


While it is perhaps relatively easy to follow the theories of inner cavities or of a passage between the poles (in writers like Thomas Burnet and Athanasius Kircher in the late 17th century), and to see their relationship to a text like the anonymous 1721 Relation D’Un Voyage Du Pole Arctique Au Pole Antarctique Par Le Centre Du Monde, (which describes a channel running through the Earth from pole to pole), it is much more difficult to understand how the idea of the hollow Earth emerged as part of Halley’s explanation of the motion of the magnetic poles. Even more inexplicable is the depiction of the hollow earth some fifty years earlier – complete with inner sun and earth – in Ludvig Holberg’s 1741 subterranean utopia, The Journey of Niels Klim to the World Underground. This is a far greater imaginative leap, for instance, than Jules Verne’s well-known account of a descent into the bowels of the earth through a dormant volcano (Voyage au centre de la terre, 1865). Verne’s narrative of the discovery of a vast underworld cavern formed during an earlier geological period seems much more plausible than Holberg’s invention of two entire inner worlds – one a planet inhabited by intelligent trees, the other the underside of the earth’s crust, as vast as the outer crust on which we live, and populated with a fantastic variety of intelligent life forms.

First published in Latin in 1741, The Journey of Niels Klim to the World Underground, with a new theory of the Earth and the History of the previously unknown Fifth Kingdom (Nicolai Klimii iter subterraneum, Novam Telluris theoriem ac Historiam Quintae Monarchiae adhuc nobis incognita exhibens) was quickly translated into a number of European languages. (The first English edition dates from 1742). As with Verne’s Voyage, the adventure begins with the descent into a cave, although here the hero falls through a hole into the subterranean world, discovering: “that the conjectures of those men are right who hold the Earth to be hollow, and that within the shell or outward crust there is another lesser globe, and another firmament adorned with lesser sun, stars, and planets”.

Illustration showing Niels Klim with the tree-people of Potu, from the 1845 English edition of Niels Klim’s Journey Under the Ground

On the central planet, Klim discovers a happy and prosperous utopian land of intelligent, mobile trees. In his subsequent travels around the planet Klim encounters many bizarre varieties of intelligent trees, and each species forms a separate social grouping. It is these sections of the novel that have earned Klim a place in the history of utopia. But in the final sections of the work Holberg turns from utopia and social satire to fantasy: Klim is expelled from the utopian land of Potu to the underside of the earth’s crust which is inhabited by many other fantastic creatures, all of which – plant and animal species alike – are intelligent and gifted with speech; and then he discovers a race of human savages, who, of all the creatures of the subterranean world, “alone were barbarous and uncivilized”. Klim takes it upon himself to civilise them, and uses his knowledge to manufacture gunpowder and to conquer all of the countries of the firmament, becoming a tyrant – the “Alexander of the Subterranean world”. When his subjects eventually rebel, he is forced into flight and falls into the same hole through which he had previously fallen, thus returning to Norway.

The Journey of Niels Klim was widely known in the 19th century: the narrator of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” includes the “Subterranean Voyage of Nicholas Klimm” among his readings, while the poet Thomas de Quincy began a translation of Klim sometime in the mid-1820s. Giacomo Casanova (better known for his Memoirs) wrote a lengthy subterranean utopia — L’Icosameron (1788) — in which he acknowledges the importance of Holberg’s novel; while Mary Shelly mentions in her diary that she read Klim as she was writing Frankenstein. Fictional settings inside the earth can be found throughout the 19th and 20th centuries – from Edgar Allen Poe’s “Ms. found in a Bottle” (1833) and his unfinished “Narrative of A. Gordon Pym” (1837), through to Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s The Coming Race (1871), Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Pellucidar novels, beginning with At the Earth’s Core (1922); and more recently there are authors like Raymond Bernard and William Read who continue to argue that the Earth is hollow.

Illustration showing the tree-people of Potu pronouncing judgement on their dead king, as is their custom, from the 1845 English edition of Niels Klim’s Journey Under the Ground

Born in Bergen, Norway at the time of the Dano-Norwegian monarchy, Ludvig Holberg (1684–1754) is probably the most European of Scandinavian writers before Ibsen and certainly the best known; he is often referred to as the “father” of Danish and Norwegian literature. He was a writer, essayist, philosopher, historian and playwright who travelled extensively throughout Europe and is often credited as bringing the Enlightenment to the Nordic countries. In fact, the author of The Journey of Niels Klim was far better known for his “Introduction to Natural and International Law“ and his theatre (he has been described as the “Moliere of the North”). Like Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726), Klim is a combination of social satire, utopia and the fantastic. But Swift’s shipwrecked narrator is a much more familiar (and plausible) utopian narrative device than is Holberg’s imagination of a hollow earth. Holberg never explains who “those men … who hold the Earth to be hollow” are, and none of his critics have been able to identify them. As long as Holberg’s sources continue to be a mystery, The Journey of Niels Klim to the World Underground must be considered the first presentation of the idea of the hollow earth.



Peter Fitting is professor emeritus of French and Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto. His work has focused primarily on utopian fiction and on 20th century science fiction. In 2004 he published: Subterranean Worlds: A Critical Anthology, (Wesleyan UP). For more information on these topics and samples of his work see: The Society for Utopian Studies and Science Fiction Studies.


Links to Works


Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/10/10/stories-of-a-hollow-earth/


General Pershing March – Imperial Marimba Band (1918)

Wednesday 5 October 2011 at 23:50



A rousing march composed by the Vandersloot Publishing Company in honour of General “Black Jack” Pershing who led American troops in World War One.

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)

Gurdjieff's Harmonium Improvisations (1949)

General Pershing March - Imperial Marimba Band (1918)

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/10/05/general-pershing-march-imperial-marimba-band-1918/


Slavery in North Africa – the Famous Story of Captain James Riley

Monday 3 October 2011 at 22:38

When Captain James Riley published in 1817 the account of his and his crew’s capture and enslavement at the hands of a group of North African tribesmen it became an immediate hit, readers being enthralled by this stark reversal of the usual master-slave narrative they were all so used to. Robert C. Davis, author of Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters, looks at the story in the context of other similar tales of Europeans being taken as slaves on the North African coast.

In 1817, the American sea captain, James Riley, published An Authentic Narrative of the Loss of the American Brig “Commerce,” Wrecked on the Western Coast of Africa , in the Month of August, 1815, with an Account of the Sufferings of the Surviving Officers and Crew, who were Enslaved by the Wandering Arabs of the Great African Desert or Zahahrah. More recently, Captain Riley’s memoire has been reprinted, though with a title that better fits modern sensibilities: Sufferings in Africa: the Incredible True Story of a Shipwreck, Enslavement, and Survival on the Sahara (New York: Skyhorse, 2007). This edition, along with a fictionalized version by Dean King, called Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival (New York: Back Bay Books, 2005) enjoy respectable sales for reprints of a book nearly two centuries old.

Captain Riley’s story is pretty well summed up by the original title of his book. While sailing from Gibraltar to the Cape Verde Islands, Riley’s mid-sized merchant ship got lost in the fog and wrecked on the west Moroccan coast. Trapped on shore and having run out of both food and water, Riley and the surviving crew threw themselves on the mercy of some passing Berber tribesmen, who promptly enslaved and carried them off into the desert. Abused, underfed, and overworked, the captives were nearly dead when their masters sold them to an Arab trader, who bought the Americans on Riley’s promise of ransom if they returned to the coast. The rest of An Authentic Narrative recounts the survivors’ slightly less brutal journey over desert and mountains to the port city of Mogador (modern Essaouira) and their eventual freedom.

Like many another adventure story, Captain Riley’s tale was essentially ghost written. The real author was Riley’s “respectable friend, Anthony Bleecker [or Bleeker], Esquire of New York,” called in as Riley himself put it, “to smooth down the asperities of my unlearned style.” Starting with Riley’s logbook, notes, and recollections, Bleecker applied his own “talents, judgements, and erudition,” and in under a year came up with a narrative rich in emotional, and even spiritual themes. In the process, Bleecker spun what had actually been a fairly short adventure – the whole story, from the shipwreck until the survivors’ return to Mogador, lasted barely two months, of which only the first three weeks were spent as slaves of the Berbers – into an epic tale of survival against both human and natural odds.

An Authentic Narrative was hardly the first Christian enslavement account – though it was nearly the last to be set in North Africa. Other unlucky travellers had also been shipwrecked on the wild Atlantic coast of Africa, south of Agadir, and a few of them survived to produce similar accounts. Paul Baepler, in White Slaves, African Masters (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), offered several tales of brutal treatment by such slaves, made worse, if possible, by the terrifying and bleak Saharan landscapes and by the desperate conditions they were forced to share with the nomadic Berbers, who themselves lived on the margins of survival. One was by Robert Adams, an African-American sailor whose ship ran aground in the fog in 1810, several hundred miles south of where Riley came ashore. Adams was a slave for over three years and with his wandering masters made it as far as Timbuktu. Another castaway, the American woman Eliza Bradley, supposedly spent eight months in Berber hands, though some have questioned her account as “a work of anonymous fiction that also plagiarizes large sections from James Riley’s best-selling account”.

The captivity accounts of Riley, Adams, and Bradley (if indeed she existed) were not typical examples of the genre, however. Far more common were the stories of European and American Christians who fell into the hands, not of nomadic Berbers but of Barbary corsairs. Of these we have scores of examples, published and unpublished, in languages ranging from Latin and Spanish to Italian, French, Portuguese, English, Dutch, German, and Icelandic. The earliest date back to Miguel de Cervantes, a slave in Algiers from 1575-80; among the last was the Italian poet Filippo Pananti’s Narrative of a Residence in Algiers, published the same year as Riley’s Authentic Narrative. The corsairs who captured them were professional slavers, ranging the entire length of the Mediterranean and (after 1600) out into the Atlantic, as far afield as the Cape Verde Islands and Iceland. These freebooters took their captives from merchant ships, fishing boats, and any village they could sack, selling them in the slave markets of Salé on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, or in Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, on the Barbary Coast. Some captives – the very wealthy and many women — were bought by dealers who specialized in ransoming and were often well treated, more as hostages than as slaves. The great majority were properly enslaved, though, worked hard by their masters, regularly beaten and sold when they were no longer fit or profitable. At least an eighth of the captives were allocated to the state, its share in recompense for supporting the corsairs. They were set to work on state projects – building the harbor, or fortifications, digging in quarries, serving as longshoremen; or rowing in the galleys. Those sold to private masters were either used as house servants or farm laborers or rented out to potters, tanners, construction bosses, or water sellers. A lucky few managed run shops or taverns, paying their masters a monthly fee for the privilege. Women not suitable for ransoming generally ended up in the harem of wealthy corsairs or the ruling pasha, either as serving maids or concubines.

Illustration from William Okeley's Ebenezer: or, a Small Monument of Great Mercy (London, 1675).

Whereas Captain Riley experienced his captivity within the confines of a small and socially simple nomadic band, those Europeans taken to Barbary were thrown into crowded cities that teemed with myriads of slaves, free Christians, renegade Christians (who had “taken the turban”), Turkish janissaries, Jews, Arabs, Berbers, Greeks, and black Africans. In its heyday Algiers was immensely powerful, one of the richest cities on the Mediterranean, and, like Salé, a kind of merchant republic, run by the same corsairs who had grown rich through slaving. Each of those Barbary slaves who wrote about it portrayed different aspects of captivity – Francis Knight and João Mascarenhas portrayed life as galley slaves; Emanuel d’Aranda and Chastelet des Boys described many other kinds of slave labor, plus the daunting task of arranging their own ransom. Louis Marot and William Okeley, on the other hand, were fairly successful slave entrepreneurs, who also managed to escape from their bondage; the American Joseph Foss and the Italian Filippo Pananti wrote at length about the conditions of slavery during the institution’s last years. Many of these captivity narratives are now being republished. Those that have not are often available on line, for anyone who knows where to look.

Nevertheless, it is James Riley’s spare account of slavery and in its barest and bleakest terms that has consistently outsold all the rest of these narratives combined. Its American debut was soon followed by a British edition and within a year a French translation, titled Naufrage du brigantin américain El commerce, perdu sur la côte occidentale d’Afrique, au mois d’août 1815 (Paris: Le Normant, 1818); the following year saw a German version. Back home, An Authentic Narrative was republished no fewer than eighteen times by 1860. Like any best seller, the book also accrued its share of celebrity blurbs. Henry David Thoreau and James Fenimore Cooper both praised it, and, above all, Abraham Lincoln included it in his 1860 campaign biography – along with Pilgrim’s Progress and The Bible – as one of the books that had shaped his youthful development.

Detail of an illustration of a slave market in Algiers from Pierre Dan's Historie van Barbaryen en des zelfs Zee-Roovers (Amsterdam, 1684)

The modern appeal of An Authentic Narrative certainly stretches beyond its illustrious American readership – there have been two French re-publications in just the last two years. Its popularity says a great deal about the public’s new fascination with the Muslim world and the whole “clash of civilizations” thesis, which has so dominated political discourse since 9/11. Perhaps it is no surprise Riley’s story has taken a greater hold on the modern imagination than those set in the cities of Barbary. His austere and desperate tale revolves around a restricted cast of characters, like a Chekhov play – Riley himself and his few American comrades; their nameless handful of Berber tormenters; the Arab, Sidi Hamet, who effectively rescued them; and the English consul, William Willshire, who redeemed them and set them free. The simplicity and intimacy of Riley’s story – which closely resembles contemporary American captivity accounts, where settlers fell into the hands of American Indians – presents an uncluttered narrative arc, a Dantean tale of the descent of a lost wanderer into the hell of bondage and despair, only to rise again through a redemption earned by steadfastness. It is a tale fit for the movies (Dean King made a documentary), which may explain its enduring popularity in comparison with the more complex and subtle Barbary enslavement narratives, where victims and persecutors, the damned and the saved, the righteous and the foolish are often so much harder to tell apart.



Robert C. Davis is a professor of Italian Renaissance and pre-modern Mediterranean history at Ohio State University. He has appeared in a number of television documentaries, on shipbuilding, Carnival, and the Mediterranean slave trade, in addition to authoring numerous books including Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500-1800 in 2004.


Links to Works


Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/10/03/slavery-in-north-africa-%e2%80%93-the-famous-story-of-captain-james-riley/


Thief of Bagdad (1924)

Sunday 2 October 2011 at 14:32



This swashbuckler film, directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Douglas Fairbanks, tells the story of a thief who falls in love with the daughter of the Caliph. The film, strong on special effects of the period (flying carpet, magic urn and fearsome monsters) and featuring massive Arabian-style sets, also proved a stepping stone for a scantily-clad Anna May Wong, who portrayed a Mongol slave. Fairbanks considered this to be his personal favorite of all of his films, according to his son.

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


Buffalo Dance (1894) 14sec

The Cook (1918) 18min

The Thief of Bagdad (1924) 2hr20min

Five Minutes to Live (1961) 1hr14min

VD is for Everybody (1969) 1min

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

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2011/10/02/thief-of-bagdad-1924/