The Public Domain Review

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Plates from a History of the Carriby Islands (1666)

Friday 30 November 2012 at 14:35

The 9 illustrative plates from The History of the Caribby-Islands: viz. Barbados, St Christophers, St Vincents, Martinico, Dominico, Barbouthos, Monserrat, Mevis, Antego, &c. in all XXVIII (1666), by Charles de Rochefort and translated by John Davies. (All images taken from The History of the Caribby-Islands housed at the Biodiversity Heritage Library, contributed by the John Carter Brown Library) Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/30/plates-from-a-history-of-the-carriby-islands-1666/


Henry Morton Stanley and the Pygmies of “Darkest Africa”

Thursday 29 November 2012 at 19:46

After returning from his disastrous mission to central Africa to rescue a German colonial governor, the explorer Henry Morton Stanley was eager to distract from accusations of brutality with his ‘discovery’ of African pygmies. Brian Murray explores how after Stanley’s trip the African pygmy, in the form of stereotype and allegory, made its way into late Victorian society. On 28 October 1888 the Welsh-American explorer Henry Morton Stanley was entrenched deep in the unexplored Ituri rainforest of the Congo. He had been hacking his way back and forth through the jungle for months in his attempt to relieve the colonial governor Emin Pasha, whose province in the southern Sudan was under siege by a coalition of Sudanese and Arab insurgents under the command of the messianic cleric Muhammad Ahmad. Famished and exhausted, Stanley sent his East-African porters out to pillage what they could from native farms. On this occasion they brought back an unusual prize: a “couple of pygmies”. These “pygmies” were most likely one of several diminutive ethnic groups (including the Aka, Twa, Mbuti and Efé) that still inhabit the forests in the upper Congo Basin. But for Stanley these Africans did not merely represent intriguing ethnographic specimens; they [...]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/29/henry-morton-stanley-and-the-pygmies-of-darkest-africa/


Scientific Amusements (1890)

Monday 26 November 2012 at 20:37

Scientific Amusements, translated from the French of Gaston Tissandier. By Henry Frith ; fully illustrated; 1890; Ward, Lock & co., in London, New York. Harry Houdini’s copy of Scientific Amusements left by his estate to the Library of Congress in 1927. From the Preface: Young people of both sexes, and persons of all ages who have leisure and a taste for that which is ingenious as well as instructive and amusing, may be commended to this remarkably interesting collection of experiments, nearly all of which can be readily performed by an unskilled person who will carefully follow out the directions given. It is surprising how near we are to the most fundamental principles of science when we perform some of the simplest operations. The book is housed at the Internet Archive, donated by Cornell University Library. Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/26/scientific-amusements-1890/


One World or None (1946)

Friday 23 November 2012 at 19:20

A film from the Prelinger Archives showing the horrors of atomic warfare. Made only one year after the end of the Second World War, it is thought to be the first “atomic scare movie”, a genre which would flourish in the U.S. throughout the next decade. 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. Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/23/one-world-or-none-1946/


Examples of Chinese Ornament (1867)

Wednesday 21 November 2012 at 13:47

A selection from the 100 plates featured in the book Examples of Chinese ornament selected from objects in the South Kensington museum and other collections (1867) by Owen Jones. From the Preface: The late war in China, and the Ti-ping rebellion, by the destruction and sacking of many public buildings, has caused the introduction to Europe of a great number of truly magnificent works of Ornamental Art, of a character which had been rarely seen before that period, and which are remarkable, not only for the perfection and skill shown in the technical processes, but also for the beauty and harmony of the colouring, and general perfection of the ornamentation. In the following Plates I have gathered together as great a variety of these new styles of Ornament as have come within my reach, and I trust that no important phase of this Art has escaped me. I have had the advantage of access to the National Collection at South Kensington and the unrivalled collection of Alfred Morrison, Esq., of Fonthill, who has secured the finest specimens from time to time, as they have appeared in this country. From the collection of Louis Huth, Esq., exhibited in South Kensington, and [...]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/21/examples-of-chinese-ornament-1867/


The Sonnets of Michelangelo (1904 edition)

Monday 19 November 2012 at 18:52

The Sonnets of Michaelangelo Buanarotti, now for the first time translated into rhymed English, 2d ed., by John Addington Symonds; 1904; Smith, Elder, & Co., C. Scribner’s Sons in London, New York. Most famous for painting the Sistine Chapel and his sculpture of David, the Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo was also a prolific poet, in his lifetime penning more than 300 sonnets and madrigals. It is in his poetry that many critics have seen present the clearest evidence of his homosexual leanings. The openly homoerotic nature of the poetry has been a source of discomfort to later generations. Michelangelo’s grandnephew, Michelangelo the Younger, published them in 1623 with the gender of pronouns changed, and it was not until John Addington Symonds translated them into English in 1893 that the original genders were restored – the book featured here is the 2nd edition of this work which features an Introduction by Symonds (see here for the 1st edition). Even in modern times some scholars continue to insist that, despite the restoration of the pronouns, the sonnets represent “an emotionless and elegant re-imagining of Platonic dialogue, whereby erotic poetry was seen as an expression of refined sensibilities”. (Wikipedia) The book is housed [...]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/19/the-sonnets-of-michelangelo-1904-edition/


Will Rogers Talks to the Bankers (1924)

Friday 16 November 2012 at 16:50

William Penn Adair “Will” Rogers (1879–1935) was an American cowboy, vaudeville performer, humorist, social commentator and motion picture actor. He was one of the world’s best-known celebrities of the interwar period and by the mid-30s was internationally known as a leading political wit and top-paid Hollywood movie star. At the peak of his success, in 1935, he died when a small airplane he was travelling in crashed in Alaska. He joked about his own early death: When I die, my epitaph, or whatever you call those signs on gravestones, is going to read: “I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I dident like.” I am so proud of that, I can hardly wait to die so it can be carved. In this recording Rogers turns his satirical wit to the world of bankers. (Wikipedia) MP3 Download Internet Archive Link Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/16/will-rogers-talks-to-the-bankers-1924/


Numerical Hands (1797)

Thursday 15 November 2012 at 18:14

Images from an 18th century Italian book entitled Scoperta della chironomia, ossia, Dell’arte di gestire con le mani by Vicenzo Requeno, a Spanish monk living in Italy. The book examines the gestural techniques as recounted in various Greek and Latin authors, concentrating (as illustrated in the images below) on representing numbers with the hand. (All images taken from Scoperta della chironomia, ossia, Dell’arte di gestire con le mani (1797) housed at the Internet Archive, donated by the Getty Research Institute). Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/15/numerical-hands-1797/


The Strangely Troubled Life of Digby Mackworth Dolben

Wednesday 14 November 2012 at 15:22

In 1911 the soon-to-be poet laureate Robert Bridges published the poems of Digby Mackworth Dolben, a school friend who had drowned to death at the age of 19 almost half a century earlier. Carl Miller looks at Bridges’ lengthy introduction in which he tells of the short and tragic life of the boy with whom fellow poet Gerard Manley Hopkins was reportedly besotted. Popular success came late in life to Robert Bridges—not that he much cared. When the journalists finally descended on his house in the summer of 1913 he responded first with indifference; and then not at all, leaving their importuning knocks unanswered. One might suspect that he had learned to hate the press from Tennyson, whose grand performance as Poet and Sage had burdened the Victorians of Bridges’s generation with an interpretation of the role whose hoary magic they could never quite forget, however much they’d come to hate the trick; but Bridges’s own reserve was deeply felt and honestly acquired. He was born in 1844 into a wealthy family of the Kentish gentry, and as such he had no need of ever living by his pen. He loved poetry but studied medicine, believing that a physician’s practice [...]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/14/the-strangely-troubled-life-of-digby-mackworth-dolben/


Robert Louis Stevenson’s Baby Book (1922)

Tuesday 13 November 2012 at 12:48

Stevenson’s baby book, being the record of the sayings and doings of Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson, son of Thomas Stevenson, C.E. and Margaret Isabella Balfour or Stevenson; 1922; John Howell / J.H. Nash, San Francisco . A remarkable record of the first few years of author Robert Louis Stevenson’s life, as noted down by his mother in a “Baby Book”. The book featured above, published in 1922, consists of a facsimile of the original handwritten baby book followed by a transcription. Amid various baby-related milestones, such as first teeth, crawl, walk, etc., we hear reports of a young “Lou” (also called “Boulihasker, Smoutie, Baron Broadnose, Signor Sprucki,.. Maister Sprook”) first engaging with and questioning the world around him… here’s a few little golden snippets: When 1 year old… Jan 13th: Smout gives up his forenoon sleep and calls books “oufs” because he expects to find pictures of dogs in them. 3 years old… April 17th: When Smout was drawing pictures he said “I have drawed a man’s body, shall I do his soul now?” 4 years old… January 10th : When Lou saw the sun looking red he said “It’s just like a great big orange thrown up into the [...]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/13/robert-louis-stevensons-baby-book-1922/