Skip to: Navigation | Content | Sidebar | Footer

100 Awesome Open Courses for Bibliophiles

Book lovers and collectors don’t have to stop learning after they graduate college. There are loads of free courses to take online that will supply you with reading lists, information about the history of books and manuscripts, linguistics, foreign literature, ancient texts and more. Here are 100 awesome open courses for bibliophiles.


Take these courses to explore great writers, compare styles, and learn about the writing tradition.

  1. Introduction to Fiction: Compare narrative styles of Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Joseph Conrad. [MIT]
  2. American Literature: Those who love reading authors like Toni Morrison will love this class. [MIT]
  3. Reading Fiction: This course will introduce you to works by Mary Shelley, James Joyce, Thomas Mann and others. [MIT]
  4. Forms of Western Narrative: Consider the best in storytelling, from Homer to Cervantes. [MIT]
  5. Charles Dickens: The Life of the Author: Find out how Dickens’ own life inspired many of his stories. [New York Public Library]
  6. Detective Fiction: Lovers of detective stories will also want to check out this open course. [MIT]
  7. The Life and Works of Vladimir Nabokov: Study Navokov’s manuscripts and half century-career in this seminar. [New York Public Library.
  8. An Adventure with Words: James Joyce’s Ulysses: Study one of modern fiction’s greatest works, Ulysses. [Columbia]
  9. Literary Studies: The Legacy of England: You’ll study the themes and influence of works by Austen, Shakespeare, Wilde, Swift, Browning, James and others. [MIT]
  10. World Literature: Study works by writers from Latin America, Australia and Oceania and North America. [NJIT]
  11. Analyzing Pride and Prejudice: Austen junkies will love this class on one of her most famous works. [DePaul University]
  12. Reading Fiction: Dysfunctional Families: This is a fun course for anyone wanting to analyze character development and relationships in works by Nathaniel Hawthorne and others. [MIT]
  13. Yale Books and Authors: This bundle of videos includes poetry, author profiles and more. [Yale]
  14. Medieval Literature: Medieval Women Writers: You’ll study some of the oldest literature written by women in this course. [MIT]
  15. Sherlock Holmes: Listen to excerpts from Sherlock Holmes stories, plus analysis. [Miami Dade College]
  16. Comedy: Discover what "makes" comedy in literature, drama and films. [MIT]
  17. Popular Narratives: Masterminds: Anyone who loves reading mysteries or analyzing plot structure will appreciate this course about masterminds. [MIT]
  18. This Goodly Land: Read and analyze literature and narrative styles from Alabama. [Auburn University]
  19. Tragedy: You’ll better understand tragic works and tragic characters after taking this course. [MIT]
  20. Center for Scholars and Writers: These recordings feature analysis of pieces by Joyce Carol Oates and others. [New York Public Library]
  21. Tolkien at Oxford: Lord of the Rings fans can study Tolkien’s style and invented languages here. [University of Oxford]
  22. Women in Literature: The reading list for this course features books by Charlotte Bronte, Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and others. [Wikiversity]
  23. Victorian Literature and Culture: Study John Stuart Mill, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll and others. [MIT]
  24. Renaissance Literature: Read Utopia, The Aerie Queene and Dr. Faustus as part of this course. [MIT]
  25. Major English Novels: Read some of the most important literature of modern times, like Mrs. Dalloway and Moll Flanders. [MIT]
  26. 20th Century Fiction: Consider the role of the author and various "experimental" characters in works by Kafka, James, Faulkner, Conrad and others. [MIT]
  27. Contemporary Literature: Literature, Development, and Human rights: Discover how contemporary novels are tackling major human rights issues. [MIT]
  28. Medieval English Literature: Bibliophiles who love medieval literature can study Troilus and Criseyde here. [Seattle Pacific University]
  29. Major European Novels: Learn more about the everyday people of the times by reading European novels like Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina. [MIT]
  30. Studies in Fiction: Rethinking the American Masterpiece: Reconsider what constitutes the American masterpiece in American fiction. [MIT]
  31. Literary Interpretation: Literature and Photography: Bibliophiles should appreciate how literature mixes media in this course. [MIT]
  32. Literary studies reading lists: Here you’ll find ideas of authors to add to your reading list, like Ray Bradbury, Margaret Atwood, Willa Cather and Richard Russo. [Wikiversity]
  33. Theory and Practice of Non-linear and Interactive Narrative: This is another course that examines how narratives in different media are relayed. [MIT]

Foreign Literature

Learn how different cultures produce different literary traditions, from China to Latin America and beyond.

  1. Spanish Poetry: This crash course in Spanish poetry is actually a video seminar. [Villanova]
  2. Introduction to European and Latin American Fiction: Read works by Christa Wolf, Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Emile Zola and others. [MIT]
  3. Topics in South Asian Literature and Culture: You’ll study common themes in works from India, Bangladesh and other South Asian cultures. [MIT]
  4. Introduction to Asian American Studies: Study the literature and culture of Asian Americans from the 19th century to today. [MIT]
  5. Traditional Chinese Literature: Poetry, Fiction and Drama: You’ll get to study classic Chinese works in this class. [MIT]
  6. Italian Literature: From the Medieval Period to the present, study Italian poetry, prose, drama and history writing. [Wikiversity]
  7. Introduction to Contemporary Hispanic Literature: 20th century Spanish and Latin American literary traditions and trends are studied in this course. [MIT]
  8. Japanese Literature and Cinema: Read works by Haruki Murakami and other principal Japanese artists. [MIT]
  9. European Thought and Culture: Consider how European intellectual and cultural history shaped literature and modern Western social traditions. [MIT]
  10. Introduction to Latin American Studies: As a part of this course, you’ll gain an understanding of culture, politics and traditions that influence Latin American literature. [MIT]
  11. Introduction to French Culture: This French language course uncovers French traditions like the republic, equality, peace and fraternity. [MIT]


Bibliophiles who are also interested in linguistics will enjoy learning about the style, expression and language of the books they read.

  1. Introduction to Linguistics: Understand the basics of human language. [MIT]
  2. Language and its Structure: Syntax: Study modern syntax in this course. [MIT]
  3. Linguistics Lectures: From grammar to linearization to expression, these linguistics lectures cover a variety of topics. [University of Arizona]
  4. Topics in Linguistics Theory: Study formal semantics and the theory of speech. [MIT]
  5. MInd, Self + Language: Understand how linguistics can impact human thought processes, social control and freedom. [University of Arizona]
  6. Structure of English Words: Study Latin and Greek morphology, Indo-European languages, and more. [Stanford]
  7. Topics in Linguistics: Creole Languages and Caribbean Identities: Readers of Creole and Caribbean literature, like works by Jean Rhys, will appreciate this course. [MIT]
  8. Old English: Learn more about Old English and hear recordings of the old language here. [University of Oxford]
  9. Conceptual Structure: Here you will study style and patterns of language. [Case Western Reserve University]
  10. Pragmatics in Linguistic Theory: Discover theories of context dependency, focus and topics. [MIT]
  11. Advanced Syntax: You’ll be able to appreciate your favorite authors on a whole other level after taking this course. [MIT]

Books and Manuscripts

Learn about manuscripts, book trading and more from these courses.

  1. Eye on Europe: Prints, Books and Multiples: Study books and manuscripts as aesthetic media, from 1960-now. [Museum of Modern Art]
  2. Biblio Book School: Get information about the book trading and selling world. [Bibliophile Group]
  3. Comic Abstraction: Image-Breaking, Image-Making: consider comics as influential media, both content-wise and aesthetically. [Museum of Modern Art]

Poetry and Drama

You’ll get to analyze poetry, drama, and their forms and functions in these courses.

  1. Shakespeare: You’ll get to read Shakespeare’s major comedies, tragedies and histories in this course.[MIT]
  2. Prizewinners: Read works by Novel Laureates Derek Walcott and Seamus Heaney. [MIT]
  3. Major Poets: Poets covered in this class include Thomas Wyatt, Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser and more. [MIT]
  4. Major English Writers II: Study the Romantic and Victorian British poets Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake and Keats. [Harrisburg Area Community College]
  5. First World War Poetry Digital Archive: Read poetry from WWI here. [Oxford University]
  6. Southern Spaces Poets in Place: Listen to poets read their pieces in places that relate to their work. [Emory University]
  7. Poetry: A Fine Excess: Listen to recitations from a 3-day poetry fair. [Emory University]
  8. Studies in Drama: Stoppard and Churchill: Consider how settings, models and materials in Stoppard and Churchill influence audiences. [MIT]
  9. Beowulf: Study one of the most influential poems of all time. [Wikiversity]
  10. Studies in Poetry: Does Poetry Matter: Discover how poetry is fighting to be relevant in the modern world. [MIT]
  11. 20th Century Irish Poetry: You’ll tackle W.B. Yeats in this course. [MIT]
  12. What’s the use of beauty?: Consider how beauty is depicted in prose, essays, novels and lyric poetry. [MIT]
  13. English Renaissance Drama: Study Shakespeare and English theatre during the Renaissance. [MIT]
  14. Too Hot to Handle: Forbidden Plays in Modern America: You’ll read Eve Ensler, Rachel Corrie, George Bernard Shaw and others in this class. [MIT]
  15. Special Topics in Literature: Milton’s "Paradise Lost": Serious Milton fans will enjoy tackling "Paradise Lost" in this much detail.
  16. Understanding Theatre: This course will help you understand more when you read plays. [Utah State]

Ancient Texts

From mythology to the Bible, these courses will be fascinating for those interested in studying and reading ancient texts.

  1. Classical Literature: The Golden Age of Augustan Rome: The literature you’ll study in this course impacted modern Western and American literature, too. [MIT]
  2. The Lindisfarne Gospels: Discover how the Gospels were created, and how the book was used. [The British Library]
  3. Foundations of Western Culture: Homer to Dante: Consider the ancient works of Homer and Dante, Ovid, Virgil, and more. [MIT]
  4. Psalms and Wisdom Books: This course can help you read the Bible more effectively. [Covenant Theological Seminary]
  5. Classics Lectures: Those who love reading the classics will learn a lot about the history, languages and culture of the times. [University of Oxford]
  6. Classical Mythology: Learn more about Greek and Roman mythology here. [Missouri State University]
  7. Virgil’s Aeneid: Get an in depth look at this iconic work. [Stanford]
  8. Biblical Hermeneutics: You’ll study the language structure, taxonomy and style of the writings from the Bible here. [Concordia Seminary]
  9. The Bible: Consider the Bible as a narrative text here. [MIT]
  10. Ancient Philosophy: Take this course to study the ancient Greek philosophical traditions and how they’ve impacted literature and culture in the West. [MIT]
  11. The Ancient World: Rome: Study the history and culture that produced ancient Roman texts and mythology. [MIT]


Discover the varying styles of nonfiction works here.

  1. Travel Writing: Learn about travel books and how to write about travel from this course. [MIT]


In these courses, you’ll learn new ways of understanding and breaking down what you love to read.

  1. Writing About Literature: You’ll learn how to analyze literature and poetry in a whole new way when you take this course. [MIT]
  2. Literature and Ethical Values: You’ll compare works by Plato and Aristotle to the writings of Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill to explore literature and ethics. [MIT]
  3. The Literature of Crisis: Study the works of Shakespeare, Plato, and Virgil to understand how we manage crisis. [Stanford]
  4. Modes of Reading: Discover the many ways to read, analyze and interpret literature. [Warwick]
  5. Introduction to Literary Theory: Take your reading to the next level when you take this course on literary theory. [MIT]
  6. Literary Arts: These lessons were designed to turn everyday readers into critical thinkers and writers. [Banff Centre]
  7. Monarchs, People and History: If you enjoy reading historical fiction about kings and queens, check out this course. [UMass Boston]
  8. Writing arts: Discover the processes and lives of authors here. [Wikiversity]