Here's the latest installment in what's now becoming a grand old tradition of gathering some particularly good Literature Q&A in order to get some easily available links to show off to people.

Since Literature has a community-run Twitter account, one use for this post will be to gather links for tweeting. But it's also useful for any kind of site promotion - if we want to show off the site to literary friends, it'll be much easier if we have a list of particularly great posts to point to.

Please nominate some exemplary Q&A from the first quarter (Jan/Feb/Mar) of 2019.

  • When choosing nominations, please remember the primary purpose: to showcase our site to people elsewhere in the hope of maybe tempting them to come here. Let's try to focus mainly on great questions with great answers, and perhaps also great unanswered questions (which we can advertise as "hey, why not come and answer this") - not anything with subpar answers, which will tend to give a bad impression and defeat the purpose.
  • Remember that votes don't necessarily reflect quality, and the purpose of this is to promote quality over score. Highly-voted posts are easy to find, underappreciated gems less so.
  • Getting a wide range of different stories represented in our list here would also be nice, but not strictly necessary - feel free to nominate a bunch of Q&A about the same book, if you think they're all outstanding. But don't nominate questions just because they're about your favourite book.
  • Multiple nominated posts per answer here is fine.
  • Feel free to nominate either some of your own posts which you're particularly proud of, or posts from other people which really impressed you.
  • Ideally, some explanation of why the nominated questions and answers are so good would be useful - constructive feedback might give people ideas about what to aim for in the future.

4 Answers 4


Sorry to blow my own trumpet, but I put a lot of effort into my answer here: Was Harry Potter the first magic series to use wands? The question itself seems a bit silly, but in answering it I went to the trouble of researching the history of magic wands in both religious and fictional literature. There's no question that doesn't "deserve" a good answer.


I appreciated:


I nominate Verbose's answer to the question Origin of symbolic interpretation of Prospero's breaking of his staff?. Instead of simply writing that it was Edward Dowden and adding a relevant quote, the answerer (he or she?) first explains the origin of the equation between Shakespeare and Prospero, then the emergence of the understanding that The Tempest was not one of his first plays but the last play that he wrote on his own, and finally how the biographical approach to reading literature combined with the previous points led to the symbolic interpretation of Prospero breaking his staff at the end of the play. This answer definitely deserves a bounty (and many upvotes)!

  • 2
    "This answer definitely deserves a bounty" - your wish is my command.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 5:40
  • 2
    Not too enamoured of the gender binary, but since you asked, "he". 🤓 Thanks for the kind words + thanks @Randal'Thor for the bounty.
    – verbose
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 7:01

For an expert-level question that deserves more attention, see Can three unstressed syllables constitute a substitute foot in Shakespeare? While it is possible to find other examples of three unstressed syllables in a row, finding feet of three unstressed syllables (if such things exist) is a different matter.

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