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Internet Archive
The Internet Archive is the biggest collection of e-texts available. Searching it can be a bit tricky, as the metadata is not held consistently, but persistence can often pay off. The books are almost all held as page images, and can be read online, or downloaded in a variety of formats.

The Open Library
A project of the Internet Archive which allows you to "borrow" (available to read online in your browser for a limited period) a very large collection of books including many which are still in copyright. It is the only way of getting copyright e-books (that we know of) which is both free and legal.

Librivox - free audiobooksLibriVox is a group of worldwide volunteers who read and record public domain texts creating free public domain audiobooks for download from their website and other digital library hosting sites on the internet

Books On-Line Index
Huge index of books on the web. Ex-classics, classics, never-were-classics and maybe-will-be-classics. This is the first place to look if you are trying to find a book online

Project Gutenberg
The original and best web site for free books. Cannot be too highly commended. The late Michael Hart spent 30 years building it up, and it's still going strong. He's a candidate for beatification, at least.
Digital Book Index provides links to more than 103,000 title records from more than 1800 commercial and non-commercial publishers, universities, and various private sites. About 64,000 of these books, texts, and documents are available free, while many others are available at very modest cost.

Forgotten Books
This is the place to go if you want an actual paper book. They have a vast library of books as page scans in .pdf format, assembled from the Internet Archive, Google Books and other sources. They print any of them on demand, at reasonable prices. However, don't pay them for downloads you should be able to get the book free from one of the other sites listed here. 

Brycchan Carey's Anti-Slavery Site
Dr. Brycchan Carey has been collecting mainly 18th Century anti-slavery literature, including accounts by former slaves & writings against slavery by English reformers etc. Also a collection of Cornish folk songs.

messybeast logo Sarah Hartwell's site has a large library of classic and ex-classic books about cats.  Enjoy!

Francis Galton Web Site

Galton was a Nineteenth-century scholar, whose influence, for good or ill, reveberated through the first half of the Twentieth century. Gavan Tredoux, the site's web master, says:
"Despite his colossal achievements, contemporary reputation and far-reaching influence, Sir Francis Galton is no longer known or appreciated beyond specialist circles, perhaps because many of his views have ceased to command the respect of the polite society of university intellectuals. This site corrects the record, collecting a large selection of Galton-related material, including the full text of his autobiography, and the complete, definitive biography by Karl Pearson. Pearson's outstanding biography has long been unavailable, rare even in libraries."

The Victorian Times

A treasure-trove of hand-picked, original Victoriana from British and American magazines of the 1800's. You'll find a wealth of ideas on decorating your home or table in the Victorian style, plus delicious recipes (perfect for hosting your own authentic Victorian tea!) and inspiring craft projects and patterns. Plus, enjoy whimsical stories and poetry, illustrations, pictorial features and cartoons. Taking you from the royal palace to the humble country cottage, every issue brings you a unique, first-hand look at Victorian life.

Internet Sacred Text Archive
Sacred Text LogoAlarge database of e-books, specialising in the sacred books of theworld's religions, but also containing much else of interest --Archaeology, Folklore, Epic Poetry,  and more.. 

Special Requests
Reviews and Recommendations

Alonzo and Melissa and other works by Isaac Mitchell
These intriguing specimens of early American literature deserve to be available to scholars and others.Hugh MacDougall, Secretary, James Fenimore Cooper Society. Isaac Mitchell (1759-1812) was primarily a Republican (Jeffersonian) newspaperman. But he is known today primarily as the author of a work of fiction, Alonzo and Melissa which, in turn, is best known for having been successfully pirated by one Daniel Jackson, Jr., under whose name it was read by countless readers through most of the 19th century.
Requested by Hugh MacDougall, Secretary, James Fenimore Cooper Society.

The Poems of Sidney Lanier
American Civil War Poet; Requested by Byron Marshall

The Ruins, or Meditation on the Revolutions of Empires by Count Constantin Francois Chasseboeuf de Volney
(orig. published, Paris, 1793). Hugh C. MacDougall, Secretary, The James Fenimore Cooper Society says:
"Almost immediately translated into English, it was printed and reprinted throughout the first half of the 19th century. Several American towns (New York and Virginia) were named after Volney, and hundreds of parents inflicted Volney on their male offspring as a first name. Volney, a French Revolutionary who had travelled through tne Near East, advanced a series of radical notions such as that: deserts and other disasters to humanity are caused by Man, not by God; all religions collapse in their own contradictions; provides a very early theory of the development of religious ideas over time; forsees a world government or united nations, based on rationalism; advances the notion that many of Man's first intellectual ideas originated in Africa, amongst a people now despised. His descriptions of the world as seen from space are also very original (and seem to have influenced Shelley's early poem 'Queen Mab.')." 

The Idea of a University by John Henry, Cardinal Newman
His idea is of an institution dedicated to truth and wisdom, which would teach, in addition to its academic curriculum, the ideals of gentlemanliness, morality and self-discipline. The contemptible buzzwords  "entrepreneurship" and "post-modernism" occur nowhere in it. No wonder it's out of print.
Requested by Professor Declan Kiberd of University College Dublin.

Lucan's Pharsalia
Originally written in Latin, approximately A.D. 61-65, by the Roman poet Lucan, its powerful depiction of civil war and its consequences have haunted readers for centuries, and prompted many Medieval and Renaissance poets to regard Lucan among the ranks of Homer, Virgil, and Ovid.
Requested by Paulina Milner

Florio's translation of Montaigne
This is the version Shakespeare used. There are more modern translations, but Florio is one of the great prose stylists.
Requested by Lee Harrison.

Reviews and Recommendations
Special requests

The Public Domain Review
A website after our own heart. Twice a month they publish a review of an ex-classic, with links to the book itself. Sign up for their newsletter now!

Neglected Books
Here you'll find articles and lists with thousands of books that have been neglected, overlooked, forgotten, or stranded by changing tides in critical or popular taste.

Odd Books
Here you may read all about some very strange books including Moles and their Meaning, How to Defend Yourself Against Alien Abduction, The Cardinal's Mistress by Benito Mussolini, and many more. Special features about the notorious rascal Frank Harris (1856-1931), author of that most lascivious and lying autobiography My Life and Loves; Amanda McKittrick Ros (1860-1939), considered by some to be the worst ever novelist and poet, or about Webster Edgerly (1852-1926), a misanthropic writer of dozens of books of self-help and pseudo-scientific crankery

A Penguin a Week
Karyn Reeves, an Australian bibliophile, has set out to collect every Penguin book published before the introduction of ISBN numbers about 3,000 in all. She also read and reviewed one a week for several years, and the reviews are on this site.


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