On January 1, a new batch of classics has entered the public domain. Those who do not know what the public domain means, copyrighted works (books, movies, music, etc.) enter the United States’ public domain after 95 years. This meaning they are freely accessible for the public.
This also means that there could be different retellings of classic works, tales like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. So it will be exciting to see what new creative interpretations people imagine. When they become available, readers will read them for free online on sites, like Project Gutenberg. It may not be on the website right away. Give it some time. It takes a while to transfer to text for online reading.
Here is a list of creative works published/released first in 1926. However, here is a list of some highlights that may catch your eye:
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Miline
The big headliner of this year is this childhood classic. Who can’t but fall in love with the adorable Winnie the Pooh? Now you can enjoy him and his little friends over and over again with it being entered into the public domain. But remember, it’s the book by A.A. Milne, not the Disney movie that is copyright free. But don’t take it from, let Ryan Reynolds explain it to you.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway’s most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. (Credit: Scribner Book Company)
Enough Rope by Dorothy Parker
Known as the wittiest woman in America and a founder of the fabled Algonquin Round Table, Dorothy Parker was also one of the Jazz Age’s most beloved poets. Her verbal dexterity and cynical humor were on full display in the many poems she published in Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Life and collected in her first book in 1926. The poems in Enough Rope range from lighthearted self-deprecation to acid-tongued satire, all the while gleefully puncturing sentimental clichés about the relations between men and women. (Credit: Vintage)
The Land by by Vita Sackville-West
The Land, published in 1926, is a didactic hymn to the Kentish countryside. Divided into four sections according to the four seasons, its structure and subject matter bring to mind Virgil’s Georgics, but instead of conjuring up a bucolic idyll, The Land recounts ‘the mild continuous epic of the soil’, with robust descriptions of the selfless toil of ploughmen, craftsmen, beekeepers and shepherds, and sonorous evocations of the cultivated landscape and its wildlife. With its stark, timeless simplicity, the poetry touches on profound themes, placing the mortality and hardship of Mankind in the context of an ambiguous and cyclical Nature. (Credit: Createspace)
Check out other works by Vita Sackville-West in the publica domain here.
The Castle by Franz Kafka
Left unfinished by Kafka in 1922 and not published until 1926, two years after his death, The Castle is the haunting tale of K.’s relentless, unavailing struggle with an inscrutable authority in order to gain access to the Castle. Scrupulously following the fluidity and breathlessness of the sparsely punctuated original manuscript, Mark Harman’s new translation reveals levels of comedy, energy, and visual power, previously unknown to English language readers. (Credit: Schocken)
Color Struck by Zora Neale Hurston
Color Struck is an early play by the American author, anthropologist, and filmmaker Zora Neale Hurston which draws on her experience of growing up in an all-black rural region of Eatonville, Florida. Originally published in 1926 in Fire!! magazine, it was not actually staged during the Harlem Renaissance. The play’s title focuses on colorism, the idea that people in the black community were judged based on the hue of their skin. The lead character Emma is terrified that her partner will leave her for a lighter-skinned woman and the play plots the consequences of being “color struck” — escalating anger, low self-esteem, paranoia, and schizophrenia. Because of Emma’s “psychotic obsession with color”, she is unable to truly be happy, love, overcome oppression, and consequently is “the only miserable character (Credit: Wikipedia)
Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner
A group of soldiers travel by train across the United States in the aftermath of the First World War. One of them is horribly scarred, blind and almost entirely mute. Moved by his condition, a few civilian fellow travellers decided to see him home to Georgia, to a family who believed him dead, and a fiancée who grew tired of waiting. Faulkner’s first novel deals powerfully with lives blighted by war. (Credit: Vintage Classics)
Mary by Vladimir Nabokov
Mary is a gripping tale of youth, first love, and nostalgia–Nabokov’s first novel. In a Berlin rooming house filled with an assortment of seriocomic Russian émigrés, Lev Ganin, a vigorous young officer poised between his past and his future, relives his first love affair. His memories of Mary are suffused with the freshness of youth and the idyllic ambience of pre-revolutionary Russia. In stark contrast is the decidedly unappealing boarder living in the room next to Ganin’s, who, he discovers, is Mary’s husband, temporarily separated from her by the Revolution but expecting her imminent arrival from Russia. (Credit: Vintage Classics)
The Land of Mist by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Land of Mist (1926) is a novel by British writer Arthur Conan Doyle, most famous for his Sherlock Holmes stories. Heavily influenced by Doyle’s growing belief in Spiritualism after the death of his son, brother, and two nephews in World War I, the book focuses on the character Edward Malone’s at first professional, and later personal interest in Spiritualism. (Credit: Wikipedia)
Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence
Although ‘continually and bitterly ashamed’ that the Arabs had risen in revolt against the Turks as a result of fraudulent British promises of self-rule, Lawrence led them in a triumphant campaign which revolutionized the art of war.
‘Seven Pillars of Widsom’ recreates epic events with extraordinary vividness. In the words of E.M. Forster, ‘Round this tent-pole of a military chronicle, T.E. has hung an unexampled fabric of portraits, descriptions, philosophies, emotions, adventures, dreams.’ However flawed, Lawrence is one of the twentieth century’s most fascinating figures. This is the greatest monument to his character and achievements. (Credit: Penguin Classics)
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Then, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with an apparent drug overdose.
However the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information, but before he could finish reading the letter, he was stabbed to death. Luckily one of Roger’s friends and the newest resident to retire to this normally quiet village takes over—none other than Monsieur Hercule Poirot. (Credit: William Morrow Paperbacks)
Fine more of Christie’s novels in the public domain here.
The Plumed Serpent by D.H. Lawrence
The story of a European woman’s self-annihilating plunge into the intrigues, passions, and pagan rituals of Mexico. Lawrence’s mesmerizing and unsettling 1926 novel is his great work of the political imagination. (Credit: Vintage)