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In accordance with our meta agreement to have topic challenges, and since the list of suggestions has a single highest-voted entry at the start of this month (+6, -1), it is time to announce the next topic challenge! Throughout June 2019, our topic challenge, proposed by Christophe Strobbe, will be

Elizabethan Prose.


What's a topic challenge?

See the meta posts linked above, and also this main meta post. In short, during June we should all try to read any stories, novels, pamphlets or other prose work that are part of Elizabethan literature (i.e. published between 1558 and 1603).

Participation is not obligatory in any sense, but those who participate will be forever remembered in the annals of our history. And of course it goes without saying that questions on other works are more than welcome during June too; they just won't count as part of this topic challenge.

Below is the original presentation of this topic challenge, which contains several reading suggestions:

Elizabethan prose fiction is a relatively neglected genre compared to drama (Shakespeare, Marlowe etc.) and poetry (Shakespeare, Spenser, Sidney, etc.). It includes works such as

The term "novel" is hard to apply to these works. Elizabethan prose also includes non-fiction such as George Puttenham's The Arte of English Poesie (an influential handbook on poetry and rhetoric), The School of Abuse by Stephen Gosson and An Apology for Poetry by Philip Sidney.

There was travel writing by people such as Richard Hakluyt, Thomas Coryat and James Davis.

Elizabethan authors also wrote tracts and pamphlets, such as Greene's Groats-Worth of Wit (famous for its allusion to Shakespeare as an "upstart crow"), The Murder of John Brewen (possibly by Thomas Kyd) and Have with You to Saffron-Walden by Thomas Nashe.

Finally, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie by Richard Hooker is a great piece of prose characterised by a dignity that I have not yet seen anywhere else.

What's next?

  • Vote here for the next topic challenge, or propose your own!
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List of all questions posted in June 2019


The highest-voted of these is What does ketha mean?, with a score of 6 at the end of the month.

The most viewed is What is a Cawdle?, with approximately 150 views during the month.

This reading challenged generated 14 questions, the same number is the August 2018 topic challenge on Nalo Hopkinson's work.

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