Tell me if you have a topic you'd like to see. (Contact: .)
Please also let others know about this site.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Fielde - Misapplied Wit - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Stories about the New Year aren't plentiful.  This Chinese story mentions the New Year and I probably should save it for Chinese New Year, but you can always celebrate that with whatever celestial animal is the topic.  You're probably wondering when the Chinese New Year is for 2019, since the date changes, and what animal is chosen for that coming celebration. says
Chinese New Year in 2019 is on Tuesday, the 5th of February.
According to the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac cycle, the Chinese year beginning in 2019 is the year of the Pig. Each Chinese zodiac year begins on Chinese New Year's Day.
Pig years are believed to be the most unlucky for people born in previous years of the Pig.
Chinese New Year, also known as the "Spring Festival" in modern Mainland China, is China's most important traditional festival, celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar, which consists of both Gregorian and lunar-solar calendar systems. Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February.
China's Spring Festival public holiday starts on the Chinese New Year, and lasts for 7 days.
As it turns out, today's story also include a boar's head and I just couldn't wait!  I trust you will enjoy it, too, as you may have become curious from the story's title.  (I'll add a bit at the end about the author and the anthologies where it can be found.)
This illustration was the second page of the story and I picture our "young literary graduate" there.  I'll give a bit more information at the story's end.

Now a reveal: The head is papier mache at

My copy of the story is in Adele M. Fielde's Chinese Fairy Tales which was a 1912 reissue of her earlier 1893 Chinese Nights' Entertainment, which only added a new Introduction where she states "This book reveals the Chinese mind as it was when untouched by foreign influences."  It's prophetic that she closed her introduction with this statement:
What lies in the future for a persistent nation possessing these characteristics, or what influence such people are to have on the destinies of the other three quarters of the human race, is a problem that in this twentieth century is presented to every serious mind.
As we look at the twenty-first century that continues to be true.  
Adele M. Fielde (March 30, 1839 – February 23, 1916)

See a very brief article about the protest at the National Museum of American History website
Wikipedia's article about Fielde is brief and neither of today's books are mentioned, but she was a fascinating woman prominent in the women's suffrage movement dying shortly before passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.  (I can just picture her in the afterlife loving this woman's protest at the White House on 1917, a year after Fielde's death!)

Wikipedia does mention her missionary work and there's more on that at Boston University's School of Theology "History of Missiology" blog.  Surprisingly that article tells at first she "did not fit in with the Baptist missionary community. Her dancing, card-playing, and associations with the diplomatic community resulted in her dismissal from the mission."  She was later reinstated and went back for 20 very influential years.  The article mentions all her books and even includes her "Journal of American Folklore" article on “The Character of Chinese Folk-Tales.”

Thinking about her twenty years in China, it's interesting that her books of Chinese tales are dedicated "To THE WOMEN OF FAR CATHAY Who were my beloved companions in serious work and in needed recreation" -- for such a serious woman, she managed to add to our recreation.
All illustrations in the books are by anonymous Chinese illustrators
The Chinese proverb quoted on the title page fits the following section on Public Domain.
Photo by Jarred Craig on Unsplash
Public Domain Day
From's article, "2019 in public domain":
2019 is the first year since 1998 in which the majority of media from a previous year enters the public domain after the expiration of its copyright term.  2019 is also the first year in this annual process, where 1923 work become public domain that year, then 1924 works in 2020, and so on forward.
Under the Copyright Term Extension Act, books, films, and other works published in the United States in 1923 will enter the public domain in 2019.  Additionally, unpublished works whose authors died in 1948 will enter the public domain. Foreign works from 1923 that were never published in the United States may be in the public domain as well. This is the first time since January 1, 1998, that a new group of works will enter the public domain in the United States. From now on, works governed by the Copyright Act of 1909 will enter the public domain at the end of the 95th calendar year from publication. For example, 1924 works will enter the public domain on January 1, 2020, 1925 works in 2021, and so forth.

The article gives additional information, including about foreign works and authors works that had time added after their deaths.

Please check other entries in "Keeping the Public Domain" here for sources of Public Domain stories to read.  For January 1, 2019 I'm celebrating the return of works entering the Public Domain in the United States.

No comments: