Anthologies and Miscellanies


Site Information: Accepting the principle that a discussion of the canonization of literary texts can never be separated from a discussion of the ways in which they were published, circulated, and put to use in the schools, this site aims to provide a historical and theoretical context for the still-contested canon of English poetry. One purpose, then, is to allow users to see how poets, and indeed even poetry in general, have been received by a reading public since the 18th century.[1] To that end, these pages contain Tables of Contents (TOC) for anthologies, miscellanies (including the Dodsley Group), and beauties volumes of English poetry, which might be put to any number of uses:  for example, one can compare the contents of any number of late 20th century anthologies, whether general, as in the Norton, or field-specific, as in the recent spate of collections of Romantic and Victorian poetry, in order to see how each age and even how each volume shapes period, canon, and the distinctions between "major" and "minor" writers. This last distinction is quite often visible in the basic categorical differences between anthologies on the one hand, and all other types of collections on the other, for it is in the one that we read poems of excellence, the "best of English poetry," and it is in the other that we read poems of interest. Out of the differences between a principle of selection (the anthology) and a principle of collection (miscellanies and beauties), then, comes a difference in aesthetic value, which is precisely what is at issue in the debates over the "proper" material for inclusion into the canon. Finally, this site also functions as a kind of anthology itself; we are not digital archivists per se -- though we have tried to be as broadly inclusive as possible -- and in the end what we have compiled is a list of texts, generally selected because they are somehow representative of critical tradition, of genre, of 'the spirit of an age,' of epistemological ruptures.

Note: As of September 1997, this page is now linked to and overlaps with Romantic Circles' Anthologies Page, edited by Harriet Linkin, Laura Mandell, and Rita Raley.

Theoretical Apparatus: For a further summary and analysis of the categories we employ in these pages and for a theoretical meditation on the distinctions among them, see the site philosophy. Also relevant is the web site Romantic Canons: A Bibliography (and an argument) (Laura Mandell).

Technical Note: We have reproduced these TOC as exactly as we were able and have done what we could to make these web pages look like the printed pages themselves. These lists may also be viewed alphabetically by editor (where known) and in chronological order. Another sub-page lists those volumes designed for use in the schools. With the help of other contributors, we have begun expanding the historical perimeters of this site in a sub-page on period anthologies.

Search the Site:We have search engines in operation for two archives attached to this site: one at UC Santa Barbara and one at Miami University.

Contributions, suggestions, and corrections are welcome: 
Laura Mandell <> and Rita Raley <raley at>
Last Revised:  November 4, 2002

(six volumes or fewer; larger collections are listed below):

Collections larger than 6 volumes:

Mid-18th Century Miscellanies: The Dodsley Group



20th century anthologies:


[1] A few things about this need qualification:  first, what exactly constitutes a "reading public" is of course far from uniform in the years around 1800 and a thorough chronicle of this would involve the dual project of investigating the history of the standardization of a particular vernacular as the national language (here Standard English, what would be the object of a kind of litmus test for literacy), on the one hand, and investigating the whole history of education reforms and and transformations in print culture, on the other. Analyzing the audience for each separate text included here is beyond the scope of this site, other than to make a few general pronouncements about the audiences for anthologies and miscellanies as a whole.
Finally, we hope evenually to increase the historical breadth of this site, so that it reaches back to earlier collections and is brought up into the 20th century as well. As it is, we have begun in a period roughly coterminous with our separate research interests: that of the 18th and 19th centuries, though the site is now broadening its perimeters and becoming more concerned with the history of anthologies and miscellanies in general -- see, for example, our sub-page on period anthologies.

[2] Harold Forster, Supplements to Dodsley's Collections of Poems (Oxford: Oxford Bibliographical Society, 1980).

Laura Mandell, Miami University
Rita Raley, University of California, Santa Barbara

Page Created:  March 1997