The Public Domain Review

FULL OF HOT AIR

In the summer of 1937, stories started appearing in the local papers of Nantucket carrying photographs of giant footprints found on a local beach. With the region of New England's long history of sea-serpent sightings, rumors quickly began to circulate reporting that, at last, one of the elusive creatures had come ashore.
THE MONSTROSITY OF NATURE

It is 200 years since "The Year Without a Summer," when a sun-obscuring volcanic ash cloud caused temperatures to plummet the world over. Gillen D’Arcy Wood looks at the humanitarian crisis triggered by the unusual weather, and how it offers an alternative lens through which to read Mary Shelley’s "Frankenstein," a book begun in its midst.
MOSS-TER AND COMMANDER

Obsessed with the smallest and seemingly least exciting of plants — mosses and liverworts — botanist Richard Spruce never achieved the fame of his more popular contemporaries. Elaine Ayers explores the work of this unsung hero of Victorian plant science and how his complexities echoed the very subject of his study.
BETTER TO BE LAUGHED AT, THAN FEARED

Most familiar today as the godfather of Realpolitik and as the eponym for all things cunning and devious, the Renaissance thinker Niccolò Machiavelli also had a lighter side, writing as he did a number of comedies.
THE EMPATHETIC CAMERA

Film was defined at the start by the same protean aspect that made it impossible to define. Was it a way of documenting life, or telling stories? Was it in service of fact or fiction? Art or science? Could the shadow-like findings of the camera ever be trusted as concrete, or as something more than apparition?
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