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General Literature Collections
Due to copyright, the great majority of online literature collections
on the public part of the Web are of authors before the 20th Century.
The Academy of American Poets
The texts of over 600 poems, both old and new. A "listening booth" provides sound files of more than 100 poets (requires Real Audio 3.0).
Alex: A Catalog of Electronic Texts
Covers American and English authors.
American Verse Project
Electronic versions of volumes of American poetry, published before 1920, can be searched, read and downloaded. May be particularly useful to students of American poetry for research.
The Electric Typewriter
Great articles and essays by the world's best journalists and writers.
The Internet Archive offers over 15,000,000 freely downloadable books and texts. There is also a collection of 550,000 modern eBooks that may be borrowed by anyone with a free archive.org account.
The Online Books Page
Over 30,000 full-text books from Carnegie Mellon University. Most but not all are literature.
The Poetry Archive
Sound files of poets reading their works. You can look up poems by author, title, theme, or form.
Searchable digital archive of 19th and 20th century poetry magazines.
Over 58,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the world's great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired.
Virgo: University of Virginia Library
Hypertext Archives of Scholarly Editions, from the Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia.
Specific Authors, Time Periods, or Groups
A Celebration of Women Writers
"Recognizes the contributions of women writers throughout history" with the goal of promoting "awareness of the breadth and variety of women's writing." Browse by author name, by century or by country.
In addition to the text of the stories, there are translations and lots of background information. From Harvard University.
The life and works of Edgar Allan Poe are explored in this attractive site.
Middle English Prose and Verse
A searchable, browsable collection of Middle English texts, assembled from works contributed by University of Michigan faculty and from texts provided by the Oxford Text Archive.
Open Source Shakespeare
A general source and index for Shakespeare's works.
The Victorian Women Writers Project
Full texts of many works by 19th Century British women.
Walt Whitman Archive
Texts of poetry (including sound recordings), biographical info, and criticism of the American poet.