The Lit Project
Here you can find public domain documents of short stories, poems, speeches, and (occasionally) novels.
Read more by clicking any of the subjects below, or go directly to the authors.
On this page, you can find many classic works of literature, all available as a downloadable pdf file. The works listed here fall into one or more of five broad categories:
- Works that are often taught in literature classes because they are part of the traditional canon.
- Lesser-known works that should be more widely known.
- Works by under-represented groups: minorities, women, Third World writers.
- Works of science fiction and fantasy (especially when they fall into one of the above categories).
- Works that I am especially fond of.
I believe that all the works listed here are in the public domain in the United States. If you are the copyright holder of a work which is still in the public domain, please contact me.
Read this blog post.
Request a Title be Added
I am happy to add any title that is in the public domain in the United States (where my servers are located), especially if you intend to use it in your classroom.
First, check this page on my wiki to see if I already have plans to add it.
If the work in question is not on that list (or you want to upvote a title already in the pipeline), you can do so in any of the following ways:
- Use my contact form to send me an email, selecting "Add a title to the Lit Project" from the "Purpose" dropdown.
- Send me a tweet @kjodle.
- If you are logged into Facebook, you can add a comment at the bottom of this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
The FAQ is now on the wiki.
Support This Project
If you would like to support my efforts here and assist with the expansion of this project, there are several ways you can help:
- If you known a high school or college instructor you think could use these resources, send them an email to let them know about it.
- Share this page using the social media icons at the top and bottom of this page.
- Send me a tweet of thanks at @iswpw or at @kjodle.
- If you are logged into Facebook, you can add a comment at the bottom of this page.
- Send me a gift from my Amazon Wish List.
- Visit my support page to explore other options.
Other Sources of Public Domain Documents
There are many other sources of public domain documents available on the web.
- Project Gutenberg is perhaps the original source for online public-domain documents. They are staffed by volunteers and supported entirely by donations.
- Google Books offers a number of different titles which they have scanned -- so you can see the original document either online or save it as a .pdf file. They include many titles which are in the public domain (at least in the United States) and which you can view in their entirety, but they also include a number of titles which are still under copyright, and only a sample of which is available.
- American Literature contains public domain works from the United States and a limited number of works of world literature.
- The Internet Classics Archive from MIT contains over 400 works of classical literature.
- eBooks @ Adelaide from the University of Adelaide, Australia, carries both epub and html versions of many classic books.
- Feedbooks has many public domain books, in both epud and pdf forms. You can support them by purchasing one of their non-pd books.
- SFFaudio has pdf scans of classic science fiction works.
- Librivox carries free audio book versions of public domain works.
- Voices in the Dark offers audio versions of fairly tales, science fiction, fantasy, horror, poetry, and legends.
Authors, listed alphabetically by last name
Click on each author’s name below to view the resources available. Authors with new content have a red check mark ( ) after to their name. Individual items with a red check mark ( ) are new in the last 90 days. Items with a blue chevron ( ) have been updated in the last ninety days.
New! Teaching materials for some of these items are available in my shop on Teachers Pay Teachers. The authors of these items will have a red file folder ( ) next to their name.
Brian Aldis (b. 1925) is an English writer of novels and short stories. He also edits anthologies and is a successful artist. You can read his biography on Wikipedia .
His short story "Super-Toys Last All Summer Long" served as the basis of the film A.I.
- "Super-Toys Last All Summer Long" — short story, 1969
Benét, Stephen Vincent
Stephen Vincent Benét was an American poet and author, born in 1898. His is best known for his book-length narrative poem of the American Civil War, John Brown's Body (1928), for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1929, and for two short stories, "The Devil and Daniel Webster," and "By the Waters of Babylon."
A line of Benét's poetry would later give the title to Dee Brown's famous history of the destruction of Native American tribes by the United States: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. He died of a heart attack in 1943.
- “By the Waters of Babylon”
— short story, first published in 1937.
The story of a young man who must travel east as part of a coming-of-age ritual, it originally appeared in The Saturday Evening Post with the title "The Place of the Gods."
Bryant, William Cullen
- “Thanatopsis” — poem, 1811.
Burroughs, Edgar Rice
- The Land That Time Forgot — novel, 1918
- The People That Time Forgot — novel, 1918
- Out of Time’s Abyss — novel, 1918
Campbell, John W.
- “Who Goes There?” — short story, 1938
- “A Wagner Matinee” — short story, 1904
- “Night Express” — poem, 1903
- "The Story We Know" — poem, 1980
- “The Most Dangerous Game” — short story, 1923
Du Bois, W.E.B.
- The Souls of Black Folk — 1903
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 - April 27, 1882) was an American lecturer, essayist, and poet, best remembered for leading the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.
- "Concord Hymn"
— poem, 1837
- Essays, First Series — 1841
- Spiritual Laws
- The Over-Soul
- The Poet
- Nominalist and Realist
- New England Reformer s
- The American Scholar
- Divinity School Address
- Literary Ethics
- The Method of Nature
- Man the Reformer
- Introductory Lecture
- The Conservative
- The Transcendentalist
- The Young American
- "The Death of the Hired Man" — poem, 1915
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins
- "The Yellow Wallpaper" — short story, 1892
- Herland — novel, 1915
- “The Birthmark” — short story, 1846
- “The Minister’s Black Veil” — short story, 1837
- “Roger Malvin’s Burial”
— short story, 1832
An annotated version is available on Teachers Pay Teachers .
- “Young Goodman Brown”
— short story, 1835
A teaching packet is available on Teachers Pay Teachers .
Hossain, Rokeya Sakhawat
- “Sultana’s Dream” — short story, 1905
- "The Devil and Tom Walker" — short story, 1824
Jewett, Sarah Orne
- “A White Heron” — short story, 1891
Barack Obama is the first African-American to serve as president of the United States of America, as well as the first president ever to have been born outside the contiguous forty-eight states.
- Inauguration Speech
of 20 January, 2009.
This also includes the poem "Praise Song for the Day" by Elizabeth Alexander and the inauguration benediction by the Reverend Joseph E. Lowery.
- "Politics and the English Language" — Essay, 1946
- “Such, Such Were the Joys” — Essay, 1952
- “The Allegory of the Cave” — From The Republic, translated by Benjamin Jowett, 1871.
- “Apology” — sometimes also called “The Death of Socrates”, translated by Benjamin Jowett, 1871.
Poe, Edgar Allan
- "The Masque of Red Death" — short story, 1842.
Robinson, Edwin Arlington
- “The House on the Hill” — poem, 1896
Thoreau, Henry David
- “Chanson d'Automne” — poem, 1867
Stanley Grauman Weinbaum (April 4, 1902 – December 14, 1935) was an American science fiction author. His career in science fiction was short but influential. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, and raised in Milwaukee, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, first as a chemical engineer major, and later as an English major.
He is best known for his groundbreaking story, "A Martian Odyssey", which presented the sympathetic, yet distinctively alien creature, Tweel.
Read the rest of his biography on Wikipedia
- "A Martian Odyssey" — short story, 1934
- "The Valley of Dreams" — short story, 1934
- "Pygmalion's Spectacles" — short story, 1935
- "The Worlds of If" — short story, 1935
- "The Ideal" — short story, 1935
- "The Point of View" — short story, published posthumously in 1936
- Asimov, Isaac. Asimov on Science Fiction . New York: Doubleday, Year. Print.
- “Stanley G. Weinbaum ”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 19 July 2013. Web. 19 July 2013.
- The "Fourteen Points" Speech delivered to a joint session of Congress after the end of World War One.
X, Y, Z
- “Impressions of an Indian Childhood” — short stories, 1900
- “Why I am a Pagan” — short essay, 1902