Where to Read Classic Literature Online

With the increasing interest in digital reading technology (i.e Amazon’s ‘Kindle’), there is a definite rise in people looking for ways to read without buying the book. And, this possibility of reading for free provides the individual with the great opportunity to discover, or rediscover, some of the world’s greatest pieces of literature. So, where does one go to read online?

Though the choices are endless, there are certainly some sites that provide a better collection than others. One great site is The Literature Network. Not only is there a number of fantastic works (including short stories and poetry), but this site provides great biographies of the authors, as well as essays and articles about their works.

Read Hans Christian Andersen’s take on “The Little Mermaid” or Emily Bronte’s classic “Wuthering Heights.” Not to mention the site boasts an extensive collection of Shakespearean plays of all types. Be sure to check out some of his fantastic comedies, like “Twelfth Night” or “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for an especially enjoyable read. The site organizes books by chapter, and is easy to navigate.

The Online Literature Library is an equally diverse, if less fancy, database of great classic literature. From Lewis Carroll’s “Adventures of Alice in Wonderland”, to Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”, to Mark Twain’s popular Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn adventures, there are some literary giants present.

Now, the author list is a bit smaller on this site, but the works are major pieces, as opposed to lesser known novels. The books are again organized by chapter. This makes it user friendly. One thing to note is that the text is kind of small, so watch the strain on your eyes.

Classic Reader is also worth checking out. They have a fairly large classic fiction collection, including Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” and Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park.” Additionally, they boast a small, but mighty nonfiction section offering Luther’s “95 Theses,” and Darwin’s “Origin of the Species.” And, it’s all divided by chapters as well, so it’s equally easy to read. And, the font size is great.

Classic Reader also offers a section specifically for young readers, that includes the classic “Aesop’s Fables,” along with Hugh Lofting’s “Doctor Dolittle,” and Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book.” So, spur the interest of classic literature in your younger readers at home.

There is also a small collection of drama, with some theater classics like Henrick Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House”, and Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles,” along with great poetry and even some classic Plato, Virgil, and Aristotle. So, take advantage of this diverse site to read a plethora of great literary options.

And, finally check out “Project Gutenberg”, one of the original online literature projects. They have nearly 30,000 free books in 50 languages in their online library. Their site is a little more complicated to navigate as e-books are to be downloaded, or novels are read flipping page by page, more like a regular book. But, it is an extensive collection, and a wonderful literary resource.

With all these possibilities, start really digging into your reading list today and enjoy some incredible literary works for free.


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