Literary Anthologies

Photo taken by me – The Shakespeare pub sign, Manchester
Preston, England
March 26, 2018 4:34am CST
I am always interested in looking at the editorial choices behind literary anthologies, (collection of works by various authors, rather than a book of writings by a single writer). A book like Best Ghost Stories Of All Time or Comedy Poems, etc., is put together much like top ten lists we see here on here. The editorial process of picking what should or shouldn’t go in the book can be quite a challenge. I would fully expect a horror story collection to include works by Poe, Lovecraft, Bloch, etc. A selection of Elizabethan Verse could hardly leave out Shakespeare, but with 150 Sonnets to choose from, which ones go in and which are to be left out? . When buying anthologies or borrowing them from libraries I check the contents to make sure I haven’t read most or all the included material before. Collections I dislike are those including extracts from longer works, such as selected passages from Milton’s Paradise Lost, or three chapters from a Hemmingway Novel. If it isn’t the complete text, I don’t want to know. There are exceptions such as Lewis Carroll’s poems from the Alice In Wonderland books, as these are self contained complete works in their own right, simply inserted as tales told by various characters including Tweedledee And Tweedledum. I have actually had a few of my own poems and stories in anthology collections. Most of these include only work by new upcoming authors though one book centred on poetry from my home county, Lancashire, puts my work alongside material by William Wordsworth, Sam Bamford and other major poets, which is awesome company to share a book with. Arthur Chappell
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9 responses
@mlgen1037 (29634)
• Manila, Philippines
26 Mar
Interesting. You have a wide array of selections of literature. I am not as adept as you but would like to learn. I like to read but I guess my literary knowledge is not as extensive as yours.
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
26 Mar
@mlgen1037 anthologies of verse and short stories are a good place to start as you get to check out lots of writers over their shorter more accessible works
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@mlgen1037 (29634)
• Manila, Philippines
26 Mar
@arthurchappell thank you. I think I will start from there. Are there available anthologies for Shakespeare? We studied four of his plays during my high schools days but would like to read them again.
2 people like this
• Preston, England
26 Mar
@mlgen1037 You can get collections based on just the histories, comedies or tragedies but if buying, a complete works might be best. You can download any Shakespeare work for free online though
@Courage7 (11766)
• United States
26 Mar
Yes I used to love reading those. These days I havent the inclination anymore.
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• Preston, England
26 Mar
I still love such collections
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@JohnRoberts (60972)
• Los Angeles, California
26 Mar
They could have also called that pub The Will.
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• Preston, England
26 Mar
@JohnRoberts yes that would work as a name
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@Kandae11 (40222)
26 Mar
Awesome! - you are a well recognised poet then.
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• Preston, England
26 Mar
@Kandae11 not as much as I would like yet
@tzwrites (4955)
• Romania
26 Mar
I usually like the Norton Anthologies because the material is usually varied.
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• Preston, England
26 Mar
@tzwrites I like the collections to be varied and eclectic too so I have no idea what is coming next
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@LadyDuck (170588)
• Switzerland
26 Mar
I fully agree with you, that deciding what to put together in an anthology is quite a challenge. I also check the content first, it is important to borrow something that you have almost fully already read.
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@silvermist (20085)
• India
26 Mar
That sure is very nice to share your work along side material by Wordsworth.Yes,I too dislike one or two chapters from a novel included in an anthology.
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• Bournemouth, England
30 Mar
I agree about extracts, although there used to be some excellent annual collections in the 90s under the title 'New Writing', which contained tasters for the latest works by up-and-coming authors.
@HazySue (22546)
• United States
29 Mar
I agree, you need to check the content first. It is a challenge to get together the right combination of stories.