Full Texts of Classic Works

Renascence and Other Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay (full text)

Renascence and Other Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1917) was the first published collection by this eminent American poet. The book’s title reflects Millay’s 1912 poem of the same name, published when she was just nineteen, and still considered one of her finest. Here you’ll find the full text of this work.

From Dover, a recent publisher of this work that’s now in the public domain:

The poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950) have been long admired for the lyric beauty that is especially characteristic of her early works. “Renascence,” the first of her poems to bring her public acclaim, was written when she was nineteen. Now one of the best-known American poems, it is a fervent and moving account of spiritual rebirth. Read More→

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Charlie by Kate Chopin — full text of a 1900 short story

Kate Chopin’s long short story (very nearly a novella) “Charlie” was written in 1900 but wasn’t published until 1969, when it appeared in The Complete Works of Kate Chopin, edited by Per Seyersted (Louisiana State University Press). 

Published the year following The Awakening (which at the time was deemed scandalous), Chopin sent  “Charlie” to Youth’s Companion, a magazine that had published other stories by her, but it was rejected. It seems that she decided not to send it out again. 

In his analysis of “Charlie,” Francis Booth (excerpted from his book Girls in Bloom: Coming of Age in mid-20th Century Women’s Fiction) writes: Read More→

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The Storm by Kate Chopin (1898) – full text

“The Storm” by Kate Chopin is a short story written in 1898, just a year before what is now her best-known work, The Awakening (a novella). Had it been published it would surely have been just as controversial, since it also explores extramarital passion as its theme. 

At the time these works were written, women — especially married mothers — were supposed to be “the angels in the house.” Any hint of agency over one’s sexual desires in a work of fiction, particularly from a woman’s pen, was considered shocking. The Awakening, now considered a proto-feminist work and a staple in literature courses, was reviled by critics and banned in many quarters long after its publication. Read More→

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A White Heron by Sarah Orne Jewett (full text)

“A White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett (1849 – 1900) is one of this esteemed New England author’s most widely anthologized short stories, originally published by Houghton, Mifflin and Co. in 1886. Shortly thereafter, it was the title story in Jewett’s collection, A White Heron and Other Stories

The story focuses on a city girl named Sylvia who comes to live in the countryside with her grandmother. She meets a hunter who is seeking a rare bird. Sylvia is torn as to whether she should tell him that she spotted the bird. As the story progresses, she grows to love country living and the animals who are part of its habitats.

Sarah Orne Jewett’s short stories and novels reflected her love for the natural surroundings of her native South Berwick, Maine. The coastal community served as the fictionalized setting for most of her novels and short stories. Read More→

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A Wagner Matinee by Willa Cather – 1904 short story (full text)

The short story “A Wagner Matinee” by Willa Cather was first published in the February, 1904 issue of Everybody’s Magazine. It became part of Cather’s first book of short stories, collected under the title The Troll Garden (1906). Following is the full text of  “A Wagner Matinee.”

Plot summary

Clark, a young man living in Boston, finds out that his Aunt Georgiana is coming to town from Nebraska to settle an estate. As a younger woman, Georgiana was an esteemed music teacher at the Boston Conservatory. While on a trip to the Green Mountains of Vermont, she met Howard Carpenter, a man ten years younger than she. The two eloped and began a homestead in Nebraska. Read More→

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