The Public Domain Review

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

The Philosophy of Beards (1854)

Tuesday 8 May 2018 at 18:09

Eccentric Victorian book arguing a strong case for the universal wearing of a beard – that essential symbol of manly distinction since ancient times.


Iconology of a Cardinal: Was Wolsey Really so Large?

Thursday 3 May 2018 at 13:22

Characterised as manipulative, power-hungry, and even an alter rex, Henry VIII's right-hand man Cardinal Thomas Wolsey has been typically depicted with a body mass to rival his political weight. Katherine Harvey asks whether he was really the glutton of popular legend, and what such an image reveals about the link between the body, reputation, and power in Tudor England.


First recording of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (1909)

Monday 30 April 2018 at 17:17

First known recording of the popular African American spiritual performed in 1909 for Victor Studios by the Fisk University Jubilee Quartet.


Utagawa Hiroshige: Last Great Master of Ukiyo-e

Wednesday 25 April 2018 at 16:25

Highlights from the fantastic collection of Hiroshige prints held at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.


Letters to Dead Authors (1886)

Tuesday 24 April 2018 at 15:11

Twenty-two letters written by Andrew Lang (1844–1912) to bards, poets, and novelists from Homer to Rabelais to Austen.


Made in Taiwan? How a Frenchman Fooled 18th-Century London

Wednesday 18 April 2018 at 18:28

Benjamin Breen on the remarkable story of George Psalmanazar, the mysterious Frenchman who successfully posed as a native of Formosa (now modern Taiwan) and gave birth to a meticulously fabricated culture with bizarre customs, exotic fashions, and its own invented language.


Hans Holbein’s Dance of Death (1523–5)

Tuesday 17 April 2018 at 17:37

Holbein's series of action-packed scenes in which Death intrudes on the everyday lives of people from various levels of society — from pope to physician to ploughman.


Häxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages (1922)

Wednesday 11 April 2018 at 18:47

Curious and groundbreaking mix of documentary and silent horror cinema, written and directed by Benjamin Christensen.


The Book of Exposition: A Collection of 15th-Century Erotica from the Middle East (1900)

Tuesday 10 April 2018 at 18:35

A collection of fifteenth-century erotica from the Middle East, translated with a lengthy opening essay by the anonymous English Bohemian.


Swedish House-Gymnastics (1913)

Thursday 5 April 2018 at 18:25

These wonderful photographs, which make such innovative use of multiple exposure, are from a 1913 book by Theodor Bergquist, Director of the Swedish Gymnastic Institute in the Bavarian spa town of Bad Wörishofen.