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Essays

Every two weeks we publish a new long-form essay which seeks to offer insight and reflection upon public domain works and the oft overlooked histories which surround them. You’ll find pieces on a wide and eclectic range of subjects – from a history of the smile in portraiture to the case of the woman who claimed to give birth to rabbits. Our contributors are drawn from an equally varied pool, from leading writers and scholars – such as Julian Barnes and Jack Zipes – to history and literature PhD students working with fascinating material and seeking an outlet for their more unusual finds. If you’d like to submit (or if you simply have an idea for a good subject) then please visit our submissions page, we’d love to hear from you.

Want the essays off the screen and onto your bookshelf? Then look no further than our “Selected Essays” series.
See here for more info.

Peter The Wild Boy

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces and author of Courtiers: The Secret History of the Georgian Court, on the strange case of the feral child foun…more

On Benjamin’s Public (Oeuvre)

On the run from the Nazis in 1940, the philosopher, literary critic and essayist Walter Benjamin committed suicide in the Spanish border town of Portbou. In 2011, o…more

Stories of a Hollow Earth

In 1741 the Norwegian-Danish author Ludvig Holberg published Klimii Iter Subterraneum, a satirical science-fiction/fantasy novel detailing the adventures of its her…more

A Few Words about F. Scott Fitzgerald

In most countries around the world, 2011 saw the writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald enter the public domain. Scott Donaldson, author of the biography Fool For Love: F….more

Aspiring to a Higher Plane

In 1884 Edwin Abbott Abbott published Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, the first ever book that could be described as ‘mathematical fiction’. Ian Stewart…more

Dog Stories from The Spectator

Dogs who shop, bury frogs, and take 800-mile solo round trips by rail – writer and broadcaster Frank Key gives a brief tour of the strange and delightful Dog Stor…more

Geronimo: The Warrior

In 1906, Geronimo published his autobiography recounting the fascinating story of his life, from his years as a resistance fighter, to his capture and subsequent pe…more