The Public Domain Review

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Out From Behind This Mask

Thursday 27 July 2017 at 17:16

A Barthesian bristle and the curious power of Walt Whitman’s posthumous eyelids — D. Graham Burnett on meditations conjured by a visit to the death masks of the Laurence Hutton Collection.


Destination Earth (1956)

Wednesday 26 July 2017 at 18:26

Great little promotional cartoon from the height of the Cold War championing not only the wonders of oil but also free-market capitalism. Features the overthrow of the suspiciously Stalin-like leader of Mars named Ogg.


The Heart of Man; Either a Temple of God, or a Habitation of Satan; Represented in Ten Emblematical Figures (1851)

Tuesday 25 July 2017 at 17:10

Ten illustrations which, in a wonderful marriage of word and image, plot out the life of the Christian soul.


The History of Ink: Including its Etymology, Chemistry, and Bibliography (1860)

Wednesday 19 July 2017 at 18:54

Delightful little book from Thaddeus Davids and co, one of the largest ink manufacturers of their time: a wonderful example of form matching content.


Music in the Margins: The Funeral of Reynard the Fox (13th century)

Thursday 13 July 2017 at 18:21

A motley crew of anthropomorphic animals found adorning the lower margins of a finely illuminated book of hours produced in late thirteenth-century England.


Inventing the Recording

Wednesday 12 July 2017 at 18:09

Eva Moreda Rodríguez on the formative years of the recording industry, focusing on the culture surrounding the gabinetes fonográficos of fin-de-siècle Spain.


Micromégas by Voltaire (1752)

Tuesday 11 July 2017 at 19:18

Early sci-fi short story by Voltaire recounting a visit to Earth by Micromégas, an inhabitant of a distant planet which circles the star Sirius, and his companion hailing from Saturn.


The Concealed Erotic Paintings of Sommonte (19th Century)

Thursday 6 July 2017 at 17:53

A wonderfully unique object, at first glance merely a painting of roses, but with hidden erotic scenes beneath.


Lover of the Strange, Sympathizer of the Rude, Barbarianologist of the Farthest Peripheries

Wednesday 5 July 2017 at 18:04

CONJECTURES #5 — Winnie Wong brings us a short biography of the Chinese curioso Pan Youxun (1745-1780). At issue? Hubris, hegemony, and global art history.


The Long, Forgotten Walk of David Ingram

Wednesday 28 June 2017 at 18:54

If three shipwrecked English sailors really did travel by foot from Florida to Nova Scotia in 1569 then it would certainly count as one of the most remarkable walks undertaken in recorded history. Although the account's more fantastical elements, such as the sighting of elephants, have spurred many to consign it to the fiction department, John Toohey argues for a second look.