Meaning of Anthology

What is Anthology:

Anthology refers to a collection of works chosen and published in a single book, volume or medium, which are of particular interest to all of their peers. They can be selected based on their author, style, genre, theme or historical context.

The word comes from the Greek anthos, which means 'flower', and legein, which means 'choose'. Thus, originally the word was used to designate a selection of flowers for a bouquet.

The term is commonly applied in the publishing world to refer to compilations of literary texts in a single volume. For example, an anthology of poems by Pablo Neruda, made up of the author's most emblematic poems; or an anthology of 20th century Latin American fantastic stories by different authors.

By extension, this term also applies to refer to collections or selections of musical or cinematographic classics. Either way, there are as many types of anthologies as there are interests in bringing together different content in one piece. For example, joke anthologies, academic anthologies, etc.

Function of an anthology

The function of the anthology is to provide a representative sample of works by a certain author, style, themes or periods, in order to provide the reader with a more or less comprehensive and clear understanding of the subject. They constitute, in a way, a kind of guide and introduction to the fundamental classics, always at the discretion of the editor.

It follows from this that an anthology always has a didactic purpose, although it is not necessarily addressed to a student audience.

In figurative language, the word anthology is used to highlight the extraordinary and outstanding character of something, phenomenon or person. For example: "The expression on his face was anthology."

See also Compilation.

Characteristics of an anthology

  • They have a didactic or guiding purpose.
  • They start from a unified criterion to establish the corpus.
  • The selection process must start from the prior consultation of other sources.
  • They contain editor's notes, such as clarifications, explanations, relevant dates, sources, etc.
  • They are intended to be as comprehensive and comprehensive as possible.
  • They allow building an overall vision of the issue addressed, be it an author, theme, genre, style or context.
  • Selected pieces are edited according to a common format.

Academic anthologies

Within the academic world, it is common to produce anthologies as a teaching resource to facilitate access to fundamental sources of consultation on a certain topic. These anthologies serve as a minimal reference guide to essential reference texts for the student. They can be theoretical anthologies, aimed at understanding complex concepts; practical anthologies, aimed at solving problems, and theoretical-practical anthologies, in which both aspects are combined.

See also Literature.

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