Latest Newsletter

The Public Domain Review

Vol.8 #11

New Essay

Early Modern Memes: The Reuse and Recycling of Woodcuts in 17th-Century English Popular Print

Expensive and laborious to produce, a single woodcut could be recycled to illustrate scores of different ballads, each new home imbuing the same image with often wildly diverse meanings. Katie Sisneros explores this interplay of repetition, context, and meaning, and how in it can be seen a parallel to meme culture of today.

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Our Mid-Year Fundraiser is Launched!

We need your support! Special postcard packs up for grabs!

We are a not-for-profit endeavour and survive on reader donations to keep the project alive. Become a “Friend of The Public Domain Review” with an annual donation and help us continue into the future! Perks of becoming a Friend include being the recipient of our exclusive postcards packs sent out twice a year, each set curated around a different theme. Or, if you prefer, you can simply give a one-off donation.
Deadline for latest set of postcards themed on “TRAVEL” is… June 12th!

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New Collection Items


The Bakemono Zukushi “Monster” Scroll (18th–19th century)

Brilliant and ghoulish array of shapeshifting monsters from Japanese folklore.

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Ernst Haeckel’s Jellyfish

Haeckel’s stunning illustrations of medusae, in whose ethereal forms he glimpsed a reflection of his first wife, who died tragically at the age of 29.

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Mary Wollstonecraft’s Adventures in Scandinavia

Letters Written during a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, the book produced after the radical philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft took her infant daughter to Scandinavia in search of stolen treasure.

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E. T. A. Hoffmann’s Strange Stories

English translation of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s Nachtstücke published in 1816, a collection of supernatural horror short stories including his classic The Sandman.

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The Sky: A Film Lesson in “Nature Study” (1928)

Short educational film on what can be seen in the night sky through a telescope, including a look at constellations, the mountains of the moon, the planets, and the surface of the sun.

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Caption Competition #9

Each month we offer up an image calling out for verbal adornment and you — the cunning, witty, and imaginative reader — submit your caption. From the entries a worthy winner will be chosen and rewarded with their choice of either: i) a beautiful PDR tote bag; ii) a selection of postcards from our back catalogue; or iii) a whopping 20% discount in our prints shop! Here’s this month’s image (deadline 13th June). Enter your caption via the comments for the relevant post on either Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. (See our past winners here.)

From our Friends at JSTOR Daily…


The Magic Lantern Shows that Influenced Modern Horror

Eighteenth and early nineteenth century audiences were delighted and horrified by these spectral apparitions conjured in dark rooms.

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Beautiful prints to buy in our online shop!

Get the PDR on your walls

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.

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