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Table of contents for Famous Writers and Books In The Public Domain

  1. Famous Writers and Books In The Public Domain: A-G
  2. Famous Writers and Books In The Public Domain: H-P
  3. Famous Writers and Books In The Public Domain: Q-Z

Continuing the list of famous writers and books in the public domain. This is by no means a complete list, merely a starting point for entrepreneurial screenwriters and filmmakers. Please remember that this list is for the original stories by these authors. Many of these works have already been produced for film and television and contain famous story elements particular to that adaptation that are not in the original works. Those story elements are not in the public domain. Only the original story from the original work by these authors.

For example, the original story of Snow White by the Brothers Grimm differs greatly from the story in Walt Disney’s more famous animated version. If you were to adapt a version of Snow White and used elements from Disney’s version like the Prince waking Snow White up with a kiss, then you would be in violation of Disney’s copyright. Another example is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein which is in the public domain. If you’re adaptation includes a version of Frankenstein’s monster with bolts in his neck, then you would be in violation of Universal’s copyright of Frankenstein with Boris Karloff.

If you know of other famous books and writers in the public domain, please let me know and I will update this list.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

I can’t stand his writing, but it’s all in the public domain so go ahead and try to make a watchable version of The Scarlet Letter or The House of the Seven Gables.


Not Simpson, but the Greek guy who wrote the epic poems the The Odyssey and the The Iliad, both of which are in the public domain.

James Joyce

You’ll have to wait a few years before you’ll be able to film an adaptation of Finnegan’s Wake. If you start now, you might be able to finish reading it by the time it falls into the public domain. Until then, you can adapt some of Joyce’s other well known works like Ulysses and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Franz Kafka

This unique writer from Prague has a few stories that have fallen in the public domain. The most famous being The Metamorphosis.

Rudyard Kipling

Some, but not all, of Kipling’s work is in the public domain including The Jungle Book.

Jack London

All of this pioneering American writer’s body of work is in the public domain. His most famous stories include The Call of the Wild and White Fang.

H. P. Lovecraft

All of this bizarre horror writer’s work before 1923 is in the public domain. For his post 1923 work, do your research as many of his stories are involved in complicated copyright disputes.

Herman Melville

All of this author’s work is in the public domain. His most famous story is the required reading for high school students Moby Dick.

Edgar Allan Poe

Roger Corman has exploited much of Poe’s work and you can too. All of this macabre author’s work is in the public domain. His more famous works include The Raven, Murders In The Rue Morgue, The Mask Of Red Death, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, The Black Cat, The Pit And The Pendulum and The Tell-Tale Heart.

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