The Public Domain Review

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

A Dictionary of Modern Slang, Cant, and Vulgar Words (1860)

Tuesday 26 September 2023 at 14:58

This Victorian dictionary collects the cant of thieves, the slang of costermongers, and many other argots.


Behold the Nebulous Smear: ‘Abd al-Rahmān al-Sūfī’s Illustrated Book of Fixed Stars (ca. 1430)

Thursday 21 September 2023 at 17:41

The greatest astronomical work of its age, this Arabic book represents each constellation twice: once from below and once from above.


A Careful Selection of Whisk Ferns (1837)

Tuesday 19 September 2023 at 16:17

Curious two-volume illustrated book on bonsai which dispensed not only with the vessels but with the trees themselves.


Liquid Bewitchment: Gin Drinking in England, 1700–1850

Wednesday 13 September 2023 at 13:04

The introduction of gin to England was a delirious and deleterious affair, as tipplers reported a range of effects: loss of reason, frenzy, madness, joy, and death. With the help of prints by George Cruikshank, William Hogarth, and others, James Brown enters the architecture of intoxication — dram shops, gin halls, barbershops — exploring the spaces that catered to pleasure or evil, depending who you asked.


George Washington Williams’ History of the Negro Race in America (1882–83)

Tuesday 12 September 2023 at 13:27

A work of millennial scope by a self-taught African-American historian.


The Works of Mars (1671)

Thursday 7 September 2023 at 13:03

Manesson’s book encompasses theories of fortifications from their origins in designs developed in the sixteenth century by Michelangelo.


The “Madame B Album” (ca. 1870s)

Wednesday 6 September 2023 at 13:53

A leatherbound volume of some hundred photocollages, featuring elaborate, fantastical watercolour settings for photographic portraits of friends, family, and pets.


Travelling Tales: Kalīlah wa-Dimnah and the Animal Fable

Tuesday 25 July 2023 at 12:37

Influencing numerous later animal tales told around the world, the 8th-century Arabic fables of Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ’s Kalīlah wa-Dimnah also inspired a rich visual tradition of illustration: jackals on trial, airborne turtles, and unlikely alliances between species. Marina Warner follows these stories as they wander and change across time and place, celebrating their sharp political observation and stimulating mix of humour, earnesty, and melancholy.


A Distinct Phenomenon in Itself: C. V. Raman’s Discovery of Why the Sea is Blue (1921)

Thursday 20 July 2023 at 10:27

On a voyage from England to Bombay, C. V. Raman penned a short paper that forever changed how we see the sea.


Hokusai’s Illustrated Warrior Vanguard of Japan and China (1836)

Wednesday 19 July 2023 at 17:22

This book by Hokusai assembles images of famous Japanese and Chinese warriors, both historical and legendary.