The Lit Project
It's been a while since I've done any maintenance on these pages. Some things may not work, but I am trying to work out all the bugs.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Bryant, William Cullen
Burroughs, Edgar Rice
Campbell, John W.
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.
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.
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