An anthology is a collection of writings or songs. Anthologies can focus on just one genre-such as a poetry anthology. Or, an anthology can include various types of writing grouped around a specific time period or subject. One example would be an anthology of Southern literature or an anthology of Latin American literature.
Anthologies typically have an editor instead of a single author. Even when they are focused on the writings of one author, such as an anthology of the works of Shakespeare, an editor often choses the works that are included and arranges them in the order to be printed.
A collection of Shakespeare's poetry
A collection of comic strips about the Peanuts Gang
A collection of short stories by writers from the American South
A collection of essays and speeches from the Civil Rights Movement
Examples of Anthologies in Literature:
One of the earliest examples of anthology, even before the term was used, is a volume of Chinese poetry is the "Classic of Poetry" or "Book of Song." This is a collection of Chinese poems from sometime between the 7th and 11th century B.C.
The term "anthology" derives from "Anthologia," which means a collection or garland of flowers. In the 1st century, Meleagar of Gadara collected poem on the theme of flowers and titled his work "Anthologia."
If you have ever taken a literature course at the college level, you are probably familiar with the Norton's anthologies. There are many different anthologies published by Norton, including The Norton Anthology of English Literature, The Norton Anthology of American Literature, and The Norton Anthology of World Literature. These anthologies include major works-stories, drama, and poetry-that are part of the "canon" of literature for the specific anthology described.
100 Best-Loved Poems, compiled by Phillip Smith, is an anthology of popular poetry in the English language. These poems were chosen for popularity and significance, and include works by Shakespeare, Donne, and Marvell.
Literary Terms Examples