The Public Domain Review Newsletter: Blubber Town; Optics; Insects; False young men, and more...

Published by The Public Domain Review on July 10th, 2019 1:22pm.

The Public Domain Review
Vol.9 #14

New Essay

The Myth of Blubber Town, an Arctic Metropolis

Though the 17th-century whaling station of Smeerenburg was in reality, at its height, just a few dwellings and structures for processing blubber, over the decades and centuries a more extravagant picture took hold — that there once had stood, defying its far-flung Arctic location, a bustling urban centre complete with bakeries, churches, gambling dens, and brothels. Matthew H. Birkhold explores the legend.

Read More »       

New Collection Items


Optics Illustrations from the Physics Textbooks of Amédée Guillemin (1868/1882)

Exploring various aspects of the science of optics, these illustrations were all featured in the French science writer Amédée Guillemin’s popular textbooks — many used to explain the phenomenon of birefringence, or double refraction: the colourful results of light waves moving through material at unequal speeds.

Read More »

Fabre’s Book of Insects (1921)

Condensed and beautifully illustrated English version of the ten-volume series on insects by Jean-Henri Fabre in which he brought out the beauty and drama in the lives of creatures that had hitherto been regarded with horror, if regarded at all.

Read More »

The False Young Man (1937)

Recording by the legendary musicologist Alan Lomax of Abner Boggs singing a heartrending rendition of this popular murder ballad.

Read More »


Visit our Prints Shop and get the PDR on your walls!

Beautiful prints to your door

We’ve teamed up with a host of excellent print partners to offer for sale on the site hundreds of museum quality prints of an ever-expanding selection of favourites from the PDR archives. All custom made to the highest standards. All profits going back into the project.

Start exploring here »


From our friends at Jstor Daily


The Movable Tent Cities of the Ottoman Empire

The most lavish among them were festooned with colorful appliqué and brightened with gilded leather.

Read More »


Our collection of recommended books

A hand-picked selection of recently published books (within the last 15 years or so), all of which in someway tap into the tastes and concerns of The Public Domain Review. There are many beautiful facsimiles and reproductions of works we’ve featured on the site, as well as fascinating books on a wide range of historical periods and themes, including many penned by our very own essay contributors.

Start exploring here »


Join us at our other homes

And now also on...


You are receiving this email because you signed up for The Public Domain Review Newsletter. If you'd like to not receive these emails anymore you can here.