What’s Entering the Public Domain in 2022: The Sun Also Rises, Winnie-the-Pooh, Buster Keaton Comedies & More

Ernest Hem­ing­way “made the Eng­lish lan­guage new, changed the rhythms of the way both his own and the next few gen­er­a­tions would speak and write and think. The very gram­mar of a Hem­ing­way sen­tence dic­tat­ed, or was dic­tat­ed by, a cer­tain way of look­ing at the world, a way of look­ing but not join­ing, a way of mov­ing through but not attach­ing, a kind of roman­tic indi­vid­u­al­ism dis­tinct­ly adapt­ed to its time and source.” So writes the late Joan Did­ion, a writer hard­ly with­out influ­ence her­self, in a 1998 reflec­tion on the author of such nov­els as A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and  The Old Man and the Sea.

The lit­er­ary phe­nom­e­non that was Hem­ing­way began in earnest, as it were, with The Sun Also Ris­es. Hav­ing been pub­lished in 1926, his first full-length nov­el now stands on the brink of the pub­lic domain. So do a vari­ety of oth­er works that launched sto­ried careers: William Faulkn­er’s first nov­el Sol­diers’ Pay, for instance, or A.A. Mil­ne’s Win­nie-the-Pooh, which intro­duced the now-beloved tit­u­lar bear to the read­ing pub­lic. Hav­ing cel­e­brat­ed his 90th anniver­sary back in 2016 with the addi­tion of a new pen­guin char­ac­ter to the Hun­dred Acre Wood, Win­nie-the-Pooh remains the core of what has devel­oped into a for­mi­da­ble cul­tur­al indus­try.

The work of Hem­ing­way, too, has inspired no small amount of com­mer­cial enter­prise. (Did­ion writes of Thomasville Fur­ni­ture Indus­tries’ new “Ernest Hem­ing­way Col­lec­tion,” whose themes include “Kenya,” “Key West,” “Havana,” and “Ketchum.”) But now that work itself has begun to come legal­ly avail­able to all, free of charge: “any­one can res­cue them from obscu­ri­ty and make them avail­able, where we can all dis­cov­er, enjoy, and breathe new life into them.”

So writes Jen­nifer Jenk­ins, Direc­tor of Duke’s Cen­ter for the Study of the Pub­lic Domain, in her post on Pub­lic Domain Day 2022. In it she names a host of oth­er 1926 books sim­i­lar­ly set for lib­er­a­tion, includ­ing Langston Hugh­es’ The Weary Blues, T. E. Lawrence’s The Sev­en Pil­lars of Wis­dom, Agatha Christie’s The Mur­der of Roger Ack­royd, and H. L. Menck­en’s Notes on Democ­ra­cy.

The deep­er we get into the 21st cen­tu­ry, the wider the vari­ety of media that falls into the pub­lic domain. Jenk­ins high­lights silent-film come­dies like For Heaven’s Sake with Harold Lloyd and Bat­tling But­ler with Buster Keaton, as well — the mid-1920s hav­ing seen the dawn of the “talkie” — as sound pic­tures like Don Juan, the “first fea­ture-length film to use the Vita­phone sound sys­tem.” Unlike in pre­vi­ous years, a large num­ber of not just musi­cal com­po­si­tions but actu­al sound record­ings will also come avail­able for free reuse. These include records by jazz and blues singer Ethel Waters, oper­at­ic tenor Enri­co Caru­so, cel­list Pablo Casals, and com­pos­er-pianist Sergei Rach­mani­noff. And as for those wait­ing to reuse the work of Joan Did­ion, rest assured that The White Album will be yours on Pub­lic Domain Day 2091.

On a relat­ed note, the Pub­lic Domain Review has a nice post overview­ing the sound record­ings enter­ing the pub­lic domain in ’22.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ernest Hemingway’s Very First Pub­lished Sto­ries, Free as an eBook

Hear the Clas­sic Win­nie-the-Pooh Read by Author A.A. Milne in 1929

Watch the Great Russ­ian Com­pos­er Sergei Rach­mani­noff in Home Movies

Safe­ty Last, the 1923 Movie Fea­tur­ing the Most Icon­ic Scene from Silent Film Era, Just Went Into the Pub­lic Domain

The Pub­lic Domain Project Makes 10,000 Film Clips, 64,000 Images & 100s of Audio Files Free to Use

Libraries & Archivists Are Dig­i­tiz­ing 480,000 Books Pub­lished in 20th Cen­tu­ry That Are Secret­ly in the Pub­lic Domain

Cre­ative Com­mons Offi­cial­ly Launch­es a Search Engine That Index­es 300+ Mil­lion Pub­lic Domain Images

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

by | Permalink | Comments (2) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (2)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.