Just as Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley wake up after a long night of carousing with other members of the Lost Generation and a contingent of macho, hard-drinking bullfighters, the sun rises on a new year — 2022. As these disillusioned and drunk expatriates sober up, they face the harsh reality that Ernest Hemingway’s copyright for The Sun Also Rises has expired. My fellow expats — let’s celebrate with a round of Tequila Mockingbirds for everyone in the bar!
On January 1, 2022, Hemingway’s first published novel The Sun Also Rises originally published in 1926, entered the public domain, passing the 95-year term of its original copyright. So what does this mean to most readers?
Readers can expect to free access for the full text of the books on collaborative digital libraries like HathiTrust, the Internet Archive, and Google Books. Moreover, those books can be freely quoted, copied, published, reimagined, or adapted as screenplays or stageplays. Readers can expect many affordable and collectible versions of cherished classics. Take a look at what happened last year, when F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby entered the public domain. Within months, publishers introduced more than a dozen editions: some absolutely beautifully illustrated hardback editions, editions with new illuminating essays, and several paperback editions with new cover art — all at different price points. On January 5, 2021, American writer Michael Farris Smith published the first pastiche based on the classic novel: Nick, a prequel to The Great Gatsby, that was criticized for not providing any deeper understanding of the novel’s protagonist.
Here are some other notable works that are in the public domain as of January 1, 2022:
Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten
Enough Rope by Dorothy Parker
My Mortal Enemy by Willa Cather
Notes on Democracy by H. L. Mencken
Sand and Foam by Kahlil Gibran
Show Boat by Edna Ferber
Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
The Plumed Serpent by D. H. Lawrence
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (adapted into the film Lawrence of Arabia) by T. E. Lawrence
The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes
Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
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Read related posts: What is a First Edition of The Great Gatsby Worth?
The Meaning of the Ending of The Great Gatsby
The Most Beautiful Cover Designs of The Great Gatsby
What Was the Greatest Year for Literature?
The Surprising Original Titles of Famous Novels
For further reading:
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Nick by Michael Farris Smith