This authoritative site should be of interest to faculty and upper division students studying English poetry and the history of literary canons. Based on the authors' researches at the British Library, this site presents tables of contents, some prefatory and introductory material, and occasionally the authors' notes from almost one hundred anthologies, miscellanies, and beauties collections of English poetry from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. Authors Laura Mandell, Assistant Professor of English at Miami University of Ohio and Rita Raley, English doctoral student at The University of California at Santa Barbara, both researchers of canon formation and the history of the anthology form, write in the introduction, "this site aims to provide a historical and theoretical context for the still-contested canon of English poetry."
The main page begins with a discussion of the site's purpose. This is followed by the poetry collections themselves, identified by editor, title, and date and grouped in chronological order within the categories Anthologies; Collections Larger than 6 Volumes; Mid 18th Century Miscellanies: The Dodsley Group; Miscellanies: Beauties; and 20th Century Anthologies. The titles act as links to the tables of contents, which the authors have attempted to reproduce as faithfully as possible. Other links make it possible to view the collections chronologically or alphabetically be editor; another subpage lists those collections designed for use in the schools.
This site should prove a unique source of both raw material and theoretical background. As the authors discuss in the introduction, the data allow users to see how individual poets have been received by the reading public over the centuries; how each era shapes the notions of period, canon, and "major" and "minor" writers; and can provide a basis for any number of comparative studies. Included are links to other sites by the authors, for example Laura Mandell's Romantic Canons: A Bibliography (and an argument), which develop the theoretical framework and provide references for further study. The authors intend to expand the historical perimeters of the site with links to subpages based on related topics and to increase its representation of earlier collections as well as its representation of 20th century collections. This site is linked to the collective web resource, Romantic Circles (http://www.inform.umd.edu/RC/rc.html).
_Anthologies and Miscellanies_ is clearly laid out and straightforward in use. The basic introductory material and all of the title lists are provided on the main page. This makes the main page quite long but does not create any significant delays in browsing the content. The authors intend to provide a search engine in the near future, a welcome addition as this will allow the data to be manipulated in ways specifically useful to the researcher.
Joseph A. LaRose
Assistant Professor of Bibliography
The University of Akron
August 26, 1997