Sunday, May 22, 2011

Collection Vs. Anthology

This is a public service announcement. I don't think the writers who regularly read my blog need this explained to them, but I feel like saying it anyway:

A short story anthology is a book of stories by multiple writers. Like a literary magazine or journal, but big (and bold and brassy).

A short story collection is a book of stories by one author. Well, a book of stories by one author is always a collection, but a collection can be a book of stories by multiple authors, just because "story collection" contains the more specific concept of "anthology," but not the other way around (like all squares are parallelograms but not all parallelograms are squares, all anthologies are collections, but not all collections are anthologies). However, of all the anthologies I own, very few are described only using the term collection, though some are described using both terms.

So a collection is by one author; an anthology is by several.

Depending on the dictionary you check, you might find one that says, down the list, that an anthology can be a collection by one author. This may be technically correct, but it's always down the list and it's never used that way in the literary community. So don't use it that way.


  1. Philistines!

    Bunch of savages on this internet...


  2. Ha ha, well that wasn't uncomfortable or complicated!! Good job!