The Ex-Classics Web Site

What's A Classic?

What is a classic book? Some people confine it to ancient Greek and Latin works; others use it to describe books by Isaac Asimov or Barbara Cartland. Our definition is a book which has been read, enjoyed, and had an influence on people over two or more generations. In the final analysis, there is no other test than survival.

What's an Ex-classic?

An ex-classic is a book which used to be a classic, as defined above, but is no longer read much, or at all.

Why this web site?

When reading the blurb etc. to a book by Charles Dickens or Charlotte Bronte, say, you will often come across sentences like "Favourite reading included . . ."

If it's good enough for them, you think, it's good enough for me. So off you go to the library or bookshop, to be met first with blank stares and then with the information that the book has been out of print for decades. This web site is dedicated to rescuing these works from obscurity and making them available online, both for reading directly, and for downloading.

What do we have?

History and Biography

 · Foxe's Book of Martyrs
 · The History of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating
 · The Newgate Calendar
· Pico della Mirandola, by Thomas More et al.
· The Life of Beau Nash, by Oliver Goldsmith.
 · A History of the Protestant Reformation in England, by William Cobbett.
 · The Martyrdom of Man, by Winwood Reade

 · The Memoirs of Jozef Borowlaski, The Last Court Dwarf

 · The Memoirs of Lętitia Pilkington  

 · The History of King Richard the Third, by Thomas More



 · Hudibras by Samuel Butler
 · The Poetical Works of Ossian, by James Macpherson
 · The Rowley Poems, by Thomas Chatterton
 · Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, edited by Thomas Percy
 · The Ingoldsby Legends, by The Rev. Richard H. Barham

 · The Poems of John Skelton

 Ex-classic Ballads & Short Poems
Chevy Chase
The Shepherd Swaine
Bonnie Annie Laurie, by William Douglas
Lilliburlero, by Thomas Wharton
Sally in our Alley, by Henry Carey
The Vicar of Bray
Johnnie Cope, by Adam Skirving
Casabianca, by Felicia Hemans
The Song of the Shirt, by Thomas Hood
The Sands of Dee, by Charles Kingsley
Christmas Day in the Workhouse, by George Sims


 · Gil Blas by A-R LeSage, Trans. Tobias Smollett
 · The Devil on Two Sticks by A-R. LeSage
 · Knocknagow, by Charles Kickham
 · The Guardian Angel, by Paul de Kock
 · A Groat's Worth of Wit Bought with a Million of Repentance by Robert Greene
 · Out of the Hurly Burly by Max Adeler


 · The Anatomy of Melancholy, By "Democritus Junior" (Robert Burton)
 · The Consolation of Philosophy, by Boethius
 · Scepsis Scientifica, or the Vanity of Dogmatizing, by Joseph Glanvill


 · The Masterpiece, and other works of "Aristotle, the Famous Philosopher"

 · Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies

 · The Book of Household Management, by Mrs. Isabella Beeton

 · English as She is Spoke, by Pedro Carolino and Jose da Fonseca

 · The Metamorphosis of Ajax, by Sir John Harington

In preparation

· The Real Story of John Carteret Pilkington

· Radical Roundhead Pamphlets

· More Crimes from the Newgate Calendar

Ex-classics at Other Web Sites

· Collections
· Special requests

What do you think?

Any comments about this site or its contents:? E-mail me ( here) We have an occasional newsletter - please say if you want to be added to the mailing list. We never give out your details to spammers, or anyone else, for that matter.

No-Copyright notice

This site and its contents are public domain and free to the world. Anything in it may be copied and distributed free of charge or obligation. [There are one or two exceptions to this, which are clearly marked where they occur.] We expect this policy to be passed on - anyone who copies our texts or web pages and tries to claim copyright for themselves is stealing - not from us, but from you, and from everyone. An example of what we mean.

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