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An anthology or anthology ( Greek ἀνθολογία ANTHOLOGIA , German , collection of flowers ' . See the Latin Lehnübersetzung florilegium ), also Spicilegium (, Gleanings'), a collection of selected texts or excerpts in book form or in a broader sense is a thematic compilation of literary , musical or graphic works. It is a form of publication for which an editor is responsible. The term “flower harvest”, which can be etymologically traced back to the Greek, is mostly used in its Latin loan translation as “ Florilegium ” in order to express the selection of texts that were considered to be of high quality or exemplary and which were characteristic of the anthologies of Greek and Roman antiquity.

In antiquity, anthologies shaped the tradition of authors rated as exemplary as the publication of exemplary works, especially epigrams . In addition to the compilation of selected texts by various writers, the term anthology was also used for the selection of texts by a single author.

A special form of the anthology is the reader . If texts by different writers are compiled for didactic purposes, one speaks of a chrestomathy (Greek: 'learning something useful'). In the smooth transition to anthology and florilegium, this term refers primarily to a sample collection of prose texts or excerpts by well-known authors for teaching purposes.

In general, anthologies contain texts previously published elsewhere, while the periodically appearing muses contain almanacs in the form of a poetic “ vademecum ”, a selection of previously unpublished poems for the coming year. In the paperbacks, which are also published annually, different fictional or prosaic, but sometimes also non-fictional texts are published. The delimitation, however, is more ideal ; here, too, the term anthology has been gaining ground since the beginning of the 19th century.

History of the anthologies

The term anthología , which in ancient Greek actually means 'collecting flowers', was used for the first time as the title of a compilation of anthologies by the Greek astronomer Vettius Valens (2nd century AD). Together with the subsidiary form ἀνθολόγιον anthológion and the Latin loan formation florilegium , the term remained in use throughout the Byzantine period and the Latin Middle Ages until modern times and then in the 18th century was also used in the national languages ​​in general for collections of poetry , aphorisms or less often also prosaic texts and occasionally dramatic excerpts enforced.

Compilations of epigrams already existed in antiquity . In the time of Hellenism , the flower metaphor was established for such collections of poetry - for example through the στέφανος ' wreath ' of the philosopher and poet Meleager of Gadara (70 BC) and Philip of Thessaloniki.

Based on them and the "Cyclos des Agathias " (about 560), the Byzantine theologian Konstantinos Kephalas created an anthology organized into categories around 900, which has been expanded many times. The Heidelberg Codex Palatinus ( Latin for 'Palatinate Manuscript') gave it the name Anthologia Palatina . Also in Byzantium , the humanist Maximos Planudes edited the Anthologia Planudea around 1300 . In the late Middle Ages , collections of everyday Latin poetry such as Carmina Burana were created - a topic that the French classical philologist Joseph Justus Scaliger continued in 1573 .

The Erasmus of Rotterdam also gave anthologies didactic functions, as in the Adagiorum Collectanea sentence collection (1500).

Unpublished poems by Benjamin Neukirch appeared after 1700 , and in 1781 Friedrich Schiller called his collection of poems Anthology . An important French anthology of poetry was Le Parnasse contemporain 'The contemporary Parnassus' (1866, 1871, 1876) by Alphonse Lemerre .

In the 17th and 18th centuries there are synonymous names such as "Treasure Chamber", "Pattern Collection", "Helicon", "Stock", "Flower Harvest" and in the 19th century also "(Poet) Album", "Poet's Book" , " Parnassus ", "Declamatorium" (lecture book), "Hausschatz", "Balladen-, Liederschatz" u. Ä .; the conceptual transitions are fluid.

The fantastic literature received its collection in 1941 by Jorge Luis Borges . The anthology de l ' Humor Noir (1937) was written by the French André Breton . In 1956 Walter Höllerer compiled the poetry book in the middle of the century . Afterwards - with increasing interest and wealth of the readership - various anthologies emerged.

The texts published in anthologies are currently compiled according to different criteria or selection points of view; Compared to the original intentions of an exemplary, exemplary text collection with the claim to canonization, contemporary anthologies also pursue other goals today, for example as a representative overview of certain authors, genres or literary directions that indicate the origin or development of a literary epoch or, above all, in Anglo-American American space sometimes also document the literary work of a single author. The selection can also be arranged according to thematic or motivic aspects or focal points.

Aspects of anthologies

Most anthologies are dedicated to a specific point of view. There are a number of specific options for this:

See also


  • Günter Häntzschel: Anthology. In: Literaturwissenschaftliches Lexikon · Basic concepts of German studies. Edited by Horst Brunner, Rainer Moritz . 2nd, expanded edition. Erich Schmidt, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-503-07982-3 , pp. 19-21.
  • James Hutton: The Greek Anthology in Italy to the Year 1800. Ithaca (NY) 1935.
  • Hauke ​​Kuhlmann u. Florian Pehlke: Lyrical things to take away. Wilhelm Christian Müller's "Collection of German poetic masterpieces of the 18th century." In: Wilhelm Christian Müller. Contributions to the music and cultural history of Bremen around 1800 , ed. v. Christian Kämpf, Bremen 2016, ISBN 978-3-944552-88-0 , pp. 83-98.

Web links

Wiktionary: anthology  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Walter Benjamin : Review of the 'Anthologie de la nouvelle prose française…' In: Collected writings. Vol. III: Criticisms and Reviews. Edited by Hella Tiedemann-Bartels. 3rd edition Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1989, pp. 78-79, here p. 78; if the author of the collected texts is responsible, one speaks of Silvenliteratur (Wolfgang Adam: Poetic and Critical Woods. Investigations into the history and forms of writing 'on occasion'. Carl Winter, Heidelberg 1988, ISBN 3-533-04036-4 , p . 79f.)
  2. ^ Günter Häntzschel : Anthology. In: Horst Brunner, Rainer Moritz (Hrsg.): Literaturwissenschaftliches Lexikon. Basic terms of German studies. 2nd, extended edition, Erich Schmidt, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-503-07982-3 , p. 19f.
  3. a b c d e Günter Häntzschel: Anthology. In: Horst Brunner, Rainer Moritz (Hrsg.): Literaturwissenschaftliches Lexikon. Basic terms of German studies. 2nd, extended edition, Erich Schmidt, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-503-07982-3 , p. 20.
  4. See also Heike Gfrereis (Ed.): Basic Concepts of Literary Studies. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 1999, ISBN 978-3-476-10320-8 , p. 10.
  5. Peter von Matt (ed.), Beautiful stories German storytelling from two centuries , Philipp Reclam jun., Stuttgart 1992, ISBN 3-15-058840-5 .