The Public Domain Review

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John O. Westwood’s Facsimiles of Anglo-Saxon and Irish Manuscripts (1868)

Wednesday 4 September 2019 at 07:10

Impressive Victorian lithographs of Anglo-Saxon and early Irish illuminated manuscripts from the dark ages and early medieval period.


Woodblocks in Wonderland: The Japanese Fairy Tale Series

Tuesday 3 September 2019 at 02:00

From gift-bestowing sparrows and peach-born heroes to goblin spiders and dancing phantom cats — in a series of beautifully illustrated books, the majority printed on an unusual cloth-like crepe paper, the publisher Takejiro Hasegawa introduced Japanese folk tales to the West. Christopher DeCou on how a pioneering cross-cultural endeavour gave rise to a magnificent chapter in the history of children's publishing.


Octave Uzanne’s “The End of Books” (1894)

Monday 2 September 2019 at 07:11

Over a century before the invention of the e-reader, a French bibliophile imagines how advances in phonographic technology might spell the end of all printed text.


John Margolies’ Photographs of Roadside America

Thursday 29 August 2019 at 07:12

Remarkable collection of photographs documenting the eccentric roadside architecture and ephemera of America.


The History of Burke and Hare and of the Resurrectionist Times (1884)

Wednesday 28 August 2019 at 07:13

An account of the early serial killers, Burke and Hare, and the medical demand for corpses that fueled these murders.


Brilliant Visions: Peyote among the Aesthetes

Thursday 25 July 2019 at 02:00

Used by the indigenous peoples of the Americas for millennia, it was only in the last decade of the 19th century that the powerful effects of mescaline began to be systematically explored by curious non-indigenous Americans and Europeans. Mike Jay looks at one such pioneer Havelock Ellis who, along with his small circle of fellow artists and writers, documented in wonderful detail his psychedelic experiences.


The Golfer’s Rubáiyát and other 20th-Century Parodies

Wednesday 24 July 2019 at 07:14

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám has inspired parodies by cat lovers and car lovers. But it seems to have found a special place in the hearts of golfers.


The Unicorn Tapestries (1495–1505)

Tuesday 23 July 2019 at 07:16

The enigmatic story of the Unicorn Tapestries, whose multifarious medieval symbolism still beguiles.


Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Gold-Bug” (1843)

Thursday 18 July 2019 at 07:16

Poe’s story of a treasure hunt, revealing the fantastical writer’s hyper-rational penchant for cracking codes.


Edward Lear’s Nonsense Botany (1871–77)

Tuesday 16 July 2019 at 07:17

The Victorian artist and writer turns his peculiar brand of verbal and visual invention to the world of plant taxonomy.