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Tips for Finding Full Text Literary Works

Your best bets for finding full text classics and literary works in print or online.

Download Classics & Primary Sources

Using Google Play Books you can find, read and download free classic works of literature and other primary sources like first hand accounts of historical events, autobiographies, correspondence, diaries, are more.

Good to Know

A work will be free if it is out of copyright or the author or publisher choose to make it free. This brief explanation of length of copyright & publications can help you determine if an author's work might be available for free, full text online.

Works Published After 1978
Life of the author + 70 years.

Works Published 1923-1978
95 years from date of publication.

Works Published Before 1923
All in the public domain.

Here's how to get started:

  1. Enter your author or work title in the search box.
  2. At the top of your result list, select the All prices pull down menu and select free.
  3. Click on the free eBook you want, click on the Free button and start reading or download to your Google Play app. Some free Google Play eBooks will require an existing account with a payment method, but will charge $0.00 to your account.

Google Play

Print Books


 searches our print books and eBooks, some of which are, or include, primary sources. There are a few things you can try to make it easier to pull up primary sources. Here's how:

In Worldcat you can put au: in front of the author's name and search to see if we have anything written by them. 

Example: Try au:William Shakespeare

Want more on WorldCat? Try the How to Use WorldCat Guide.

Twentieth Century Poetry


A full text collection of more than 600 volumes of poetry by 283 poets from 1900 to the present day, including W.B. Yeats, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, Wilfred Owen, Thom Gunn, Fleur Adcock, Paul Muldoon, Tony Harrison, Benjamin Zephaniah and Carol Ann Duffy, and incorporating the poets in The Faber Poetry Library. Must be on campus or have a COM ID to access off campus.

EBSCO eBooks


Search EBSCOhost eBooks. There are lots of great classics that you can find in EBSCOhost eBooks that you can read online or check to download to your device. Must be on campus or have a COM ID to access off campus.

Here's how:

  1. Under the EBSCOhost search box, click on Advanced Search.
  2. Type in the author's name, and use the Select a field pull down menu to choose Author.
  3. Hit Search to get your results. 

Example search: edgar allen poe

Alternatively, you can type a command in the basic search box like this to get the same results:

AR "Poe, Edgar Allan"

In the reuslt list you'll find the eBook Edgar Allan Poe: Selected Tales. Now you can read stories like The Tell-Tale Heart, The Masque of the Read Death, and The Pit and the Pendulum.

Use the links below to see lists of many classics available from these large collections:

Literary Works in EBSCO Literary Reference Center

Search Literary Reference Center to access full text classics such as Aesop's Fables or A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by  browsing the list. Must be on campus or have a COM ID to access off campus. You can browse by:

    • Title
    • Genre
    • Locale

    1. To get started click the Full Text Classics link in the Browse box.

    full text classics

    2. Browse by title, genre or locale by selecting the tab and either typing in what you want, or if you are not yet sure, just scroll down the list to see what is available.

    browse full text classics

    3. Click below the title on Full Text Classic to get the actual work (may be divided into chapters); click on the title to get information about the work such as plot summaries. 


    Guides with Full Text Literary Works


    COM Library has Guides that include full text literature. Look for the Read the Classics and Open Access tabs. 

    Free Downloadable Classics