Frank N. Magill’s 1964 15-volume Masterplots is now partially at Archive.org, in open public PDF download. It offers short and precise point-by-point plot summaries of great works, for use by writers needing ideas, for scholars needing a reliable recap, and for the general reader in search of worthy reading.
The series seems likely to be of interest to writers who read my blog, especially as many of the works summarised are now in the public domain. Their plots are thus available to be directly re-worked in new genre-shifted forms and formats. The summaries are far superior to those to be found on the likes of Wikipedia, which often have strong political biases and omissions or are simply inadequate.
15 volume Masterplots:
Masterplots Vol. 5 — Essa-Grea.
Masterplots Vol. 7 — Huon-Last.
Masterplots Vol. 13 — Scho-Sunk.
Masterplots Vol. 14 — Supp-Unfo.
Masterplots Vol. 15 — U.S.A.-Zule.
Archive.org also appears to have the missing volumes available for Archive.org members to ‘digitally borrow’. Although the books usually have poor metadata, often extending even to the titles, which can make it difficult to work out which volumes they are without actually going through and laboriously borrowing each one.
Digest edition (?):
* Masterpieces Of World Literature In Digest Form. This appears to be a one-volume A-Z digest of Masterplots?
Added 500 more plots, of works which had been “crowded off” the original list of 1,000 or so, with older and antique works being here much more noticeable…
* Masterpieces Of World Literature In Digest Form: Second Series — A-Lay. (This is also at Hathi in public flipbook form and Hathi also has the second ‘Laz-Z’ volume in the same format).
Added an additional wealth of world literature including notable essays, biography and autobiography, some poetry, and key works of Chinese and Japanese literature. Here the format necessarily often becomes the concise essay-review…
* Masterpieces Of World Literature In Digest Form, Third Series.