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Here are the books that just entered the public domain.

Emily Temple

January 3, 2023, 12:04pm

In 2019, for the first time in over two decades, a new crop of literary work entered the public domain: everything first published in the United States in 1923 became available for reusing, recycling, and remixing. Since then, we’ve had a steady stream of new, free-to-use content: In 2020, books by E.M. Forster, Edna Ferber, and Edith Wharton became available. 2021 brought us everything published in 1925, “the greatest year for books”—including, of course, The Great Gatsby (yes, a sequel was published immediately, with plenty more in the works). And last year, notably, A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh passed through the veil, leading, inevitably and unfortunately, to this.

So what’s on the table this year? On January 1st, 2023, all books that were first published in 1927 entered the public domain in the United States. Here’s a selection of the most interesting:

Herbert Asbury, The Gangs of New York

Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop

Agatha Christie, The Big Four

Countee Cullen, ed., Caroling Dusk: An Anthology of Verse by Black Poets of the Twenties

Franklin W. Dixon, The Tower Treasure (The Hardy Boys #1)

Franklin W. Dixon, The House on the Cliff (The Hardy Boys #2)

Franklin W. Dixon, The Secret of the Old Mill (The Hardy Boys #3)

Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger” and “The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place,” the last two stories from The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (which means Holmes himself is now in the public domain)

E.M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel

Ernest Hemingway, Men Without Women

Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

Franz Kafka, Amerika

Anita Loos, But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes

Edith Wharton, Twilight Sleep

Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse


So get those remixes ready! But don’t you dare make Mrs. Ramsay into an axe murderer. Hasn’t she suffered enough?

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