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Get a Lit. Professor’s Expert Knowledge Without the Cost of Tuition (Free Online Annotated Literature)

When you’re reading one of the great classics, are you suspicious that you might be missing something? The story is enjoyable, but these are supposed to hold deep meaning, some of which is tough – or perhaps impossible – to discern without some context or specific knowledge.

Maybe the idea that you won’t completely understand a novel has kept you from even attempting it.

While there are times I want to just enjoy a novel as I receive it – without looking anything up or trying to find meaning that isn’t immediately apparent to me – other times I want all the details. I want the deeper understanding of a text that you can get from

  • historical context
  • connections to previously published literature
  • biographical information about the author
  • anything that helps further clarify the piece and its possible interpretations

This is why I love annotated editions. They give you the expertise of a professor. Right on the page. For free. And without forcing you to read at a particular time or speed. You could even tackle a great tome in just 10 minutes a day if that’s all the time you can spare.

To get you started, here’s a list of free online annotated classics. I’ve only included resources that are easy on the eyes – no clicking on links that will take you to the bottom of the page and back again.

Click on the first lines to start reading the free annotated editions listed below.

Then show off your own professorial knowledge by adding to the collaborative annotations of poetry, novels and nonfiction at Poetry Genius.

 

Check out these resources from around the Web…

beowulf

 

Beowulf

 

 

 

iliad

 

Book One of The Iliad by Homer

 

 

 

ulysses

 

Ulysses by James Joyce

 

 

 

encantadas

 

The Encantadas or Ennchanted Isles by Herman Melville

 

 

 

moby 1

 

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville

 

 

 

paradise

 

Paradise Lost by John Milton

 

 

 

huck

 

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

 

 

 

 

…and this long list of novels from BookDoors.

emma

 

Emma by Jane Austen

 

 

 

mansfield

 

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

 

 

 

northanger

 

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

 

 

 

persuasion

 

Persuasion by Jane Austen

 

 

 

pandp

 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

 

 

 

sands

 

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

 

 

 

jane

 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

 

 

 

wuthering

 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

 

 

 

evelina

 

Evelina by Fanny Burney

 

 

 

copperfield

 

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

 

 

 

expectations

 

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

 

 

 

frankenstein

 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

 

 

 

 

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