Lost Literary Classics & Massive Online Troves for Bookish Persuits

This week, Kathryn Shulz organized lists of 11 Lost Literary Classics You Can Download for Free & Eight Massive Online Troves of Great Reading Material. Take a peek at both lists here. Included are brief descriptions of the lost classics as well  as a bit of info for the surely time consuming bounty of online digital databases. Check out the article for all of the info, but below I’ve included links for her suggestions including the free audiobooks (NYmag didn’t include links & some works needed some sleuthing).

The databases range from Project Gutenberg’s Bookshelves to a collection of Renaissance and medieval manuscripts and more. Enjoy!


11 Lost Literary Classics (FREE)

  1. The Last Man by Mary Shelley@Feedbooks @ProjectGut @librivox (audiobook)
  2. The Girl With the Golden Eyes by Honoré de Balzac. @Feedbooks @ProjectGut @librivox (audiobook)
  3. Behind a Mask, or a Woman’s Power by Louisa May Alcott. @ProjectGut @librivox (audiobook)
  4. Steep Trails by John Muir. @ProjectGut @librivox (audiobook)
  5. Among the Tibetans by Isabella Bird. @ProjectGut @librivox (audiobook)
  6. The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams@Feedbooks @ProjectGut @librivox (audiobook)
  7. Plum Bun by Jessie Redmon Fauset. @archive.org
  8. Essays by Michel de Montaigne. @ProjectGut @librivox (audiobook)
  9. Mrs. Spring Fragrance by Sui Sin Far. @washington.edu
  10. Evelina by Fanny Burney. @ProjectGut @librivox (audiobook)
  11. Childhood, Boyhood, Youth by Leo Tolstoy. @Feedbooks 1|2|3 @ProjectGut 1|2|3 @librivox 1|2|3


8 Massive Online Troves of Reading Material (courtesy of New York magazine)

1. The Digital Scriptorium
An online collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts from all over the world. Short of breaking into a museum, there’s no better way to view those manuscripts than digitally, since you can zoom in to appreciate the details.

2. The World Digital Library
My favorite “Surprise me”–style book resource. Sure, you can search it, but you can also click the timeline (8000 B.C. to today), click the globe, and kiss your workday good-bye. Where else will you stumble on a gorgeous illustrated edition of a turn-of-the-last-century Guide to the Great Siberian Railway?

3. Project Gutenberg’s Pirates, Buccaneers, Corsairs, Etc. Bookshelf
Many people have a passing familiarity with Project Gutenberg and its 42,000+ free books; fewer know that you can search it by “bookshelf.” This pirate-y one is my personal favorite, but there are scores of others for browsing everything from detective fiction to erotica.

4. The Emily Dickinson Electronic Archives
The Internet is chockablock with thoroughgoing websites for dead authors, from Beatrix Potter to Franz Kafka. This addition includes vast amounts of Dickinsoniana, including scans of all her extant manuscripts.

5. The Public Domain Review
The old problem with old books was how to find them. The new problem with old books is Whoa, where to start? The Public Domain Review organizes and highlights interesting out-of-copyright works—of all kinds, but its literary collection is excellent.

6. The Darwin Correspondence Project
Writers gonna write, and their letters to, from, and about each other abound on the web. My favorite batch comes from Darwin, who corresponded with everyone from fellow naturalists to his kids. This site contains the full text of 7,500 of his letters and information on 7,500 more.

7. The Digital Public Library of America
Among the newest and most ambitious open-access projects, this one aims to make every offering in our nation’s public libraries, archives, and museums freely available online. Its bookshelf contains 1.5 million volumes and counting.

8. The Poetry Archive Historic Recordings
“Into the valley of death rrrrrooooooooode the 600”: To truly appreciate “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” you must hear Tennyson himself bellow it—as he did, into a wax cylinder, in 1890. That recording and those of 49 other poets are free on this site.


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