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A written analysis of some subject, which purports to be thorough and comprehensive. The famous model for this literary form is Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (1621). The Canadian critic Northrop Frye, in Anatomy of Criticism (1957), discusses the anatomy as an important category of fiction similar to the Menippean satire. A humorous display of extensive and detailed knowledge, as in Melville's account of whaling in Moby‐Dick (1851) or Thomas Pynchon's rocket‐lore in Gravity's Rainbow (1973), is characteristic of this genre.

Subjects: Literature.

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