Parts of an anthology and their characteristics (structure)

Simon Doyle
Parts of an anthology and their characteristics (structure)

The anthology It is a compilation of different texts that are related to each other, either because they belong to the same author, or that they are by different authors but with a common theme..

The anthology has the advantage of gathering in a single place the most outstanding or notable on a subject or author; therefore, it requires research and analysis to select what is truly important.

The term comes from the Greek "anthos" which means "flowers" and "legein" which means "to choose". It can be said then that in the anthology the best of several pieces are selected to regroup them in a new product, be it literary, musical, scientific, etc..

The best known and most popular anthologies have been in the field of poetry, short stories and essays, but there can be musical, film anthologies and in almost any artistic field.

Every anthology is partial, personal and arbitrary, since it obeys the subjective criteria of its compiler.

However, all in general fulfill the function of offering the reader various angles or points of view on the topic addressed, presenting them with the greatest possible impartiality, so that it is the reader himself who deepens and draws up a conclusion based on what has been read, seen or heard.

Likewise, the presentation of the anthology must have a coherent order, be it chronological, deductive or inductive..

Main parts of the anthology

In the following case, the parts that a written anthology should have will be explained, that is, related to some literary genre, although many of them are perfectly transferable to any other type of anthology, such as a musical, cinematographic anthology, of works of art, etc..

Cover page

Where the data of the compiler, editor or author of the anthology will appear and, of course, its name or title. It may or may not be accompanied by an image, illustration or photograph allusive to the content, or one that is simply decorative.


Short text in which the author dedicates the work to one or more people and / or institutions. It should not be confused with acknowledgments, since the latter refer to those who collaborated to carry out the project.

In some cases the dedication may be to people who have already passed away or even to non-human entities (to God, to life, etc.).


It is a sheet where the basic data of the anthology appear, such as the name of the work, the name of the author, the date, the name of the publisher, etc..

If it is a school or university work, then the data of the school or university, city and country of the same will also appear, as well as the subject to which the work belongs.

In some cases, the name of the teacher of the subject is also placed, as well as the grade or year and section to which the author belongs (in this case, the student)..


It is the list of all the chapters that the anthology contains with the number of the page where each one begins.

It should be structured from the most general to the most particular and subtopics or subchapters can be included to better organize the information. You can go to the beginning or the end of the post.

The index is very useful because it helps to locate the reader without having to leaf through the entire book to quickly find a particular piece of information..

The index is the part of the book that is made last, since the page number reported in it has to coincide with the real page number, and this cannot be known until the complete content is available and be sure that it will no longer be modified.

Foreword or introduction

It is the rational explanation of the work; an introduction that places the reader in what he is about to find, explaining how the work is presented in terms of division, chapters, etc..

The prologue can be written by the author himself or by someone who knows a lot about the subject, who previously read the anthology and wants to comment on it for the readers.

In short, the prologue is where it is explained how and why the content was organized in the way it was done and the points that should be taken into account for reading comprehension are noted.

To write the prologue, you can use a direct wording (personal, speaking directly to the reader in the first person) or indirect (more impersonal, written in the third person, establishing a greater distance between author and reader).

The prologue is not a fictional text, so it must have a logical order and a coherent structure. It may or may not include at the end the thanks to those who participated or contributed to the making of the anthology.

For all of the above, it is understood that the prologue, despite being at the beginning of the book, is written at the end of its elaboration.

Fragment identification

As already explained, the anthology is a collection of parts, therefore, those parts must be clearly identified.

Whether each chapter of the book belongs to a different author, or that in the same chapter there are paragraphs or fragments of different authors, they must be accompanied (either at the beginning or at the end) by the title of the work and the name of the author of the selected fragment.

Likewise, it must be cited in quotation marks, with italic typeface (italics) or preceded with the word “Fragment” so that it is clear which parts of the book are your own and which ones belong to the compiler..


They are compiler reviews that give a guide to the reader to facilitate reading comprehension. They can be done at the beginning of each chapter or where the compiler deems appropriate.

Another meaning of anthology

As already mentioned, the anthology brings together outstanding, notable, superior pieces, worthy of being highlighted.

That is why the meaning of "anthology" is also commonly used as a term to describe something very good, extraordinary, worthy of being highlighted ... then it will be something from an anthology or something anthological. 


  1. Definition of Anthology. Recovered from and
  2. Elaboration of anthologies (2007). Academic Training Unit for Teachers of the Autonomous University of Aguascalientes. Recovered from
  3. Anthology. Recovered from

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