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In accordance with our meta agreement to have topic challenges and a later meta agreement to have topic challenges lasting for two months and overlapping by one month, it is time to announce the January–February 2021 topic challenge.

Based on the number of votes (+4), the second topic challenge of the year 2021 will be

the works of Theodor Fontane


What's a topic challenge?

See the meta posts linked above, and also this main Meta post. In short, during January and February 2021 you are invited to try to read at least one work by the German author Theodor Fontane and ask questions about it.

Participation is not obligatory in any sense, and questions on other works are more than welcome during January and February too; they just won't count as part of this topic challenge.

How can I take part?

By getting hold of the one or more works by Theodor Fontane and asking good questions about it (or them). Questions about these works should be tagged with , and either the work's title (for book-length works) or (for Fontane's poems). We'll keep a list of all such questions in an answer to this meta post.

Below is Tsundoku's presentation:

The German novelist and poet Theodor Fontane (1819 - 1898), whose bicentenary was celebrated last year [i.e. in 2019], is known as a representative of realism and is known for novels such as Effi Briest, Frau Jenny Treibel and Der Stechlin. His works are now in the public domain; see Theodor Fontane on Wikisource and Archive.org.

Below are a few English translations that are either in the public domain or publicly available for other reasons:

Feel free to add links to other translations and online texts below.

What's next?

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List of all questions posted in this topic challenge

  1. Does the original German version of Fontane's Tay Bridge poem contain the same literary references? by Rand al'Thor, 04/01/2021 (HNQ; 5 votes, 1 answer).
  2. Was Fontane's Tay Bridge poem compared to McGonagall's at the time? by bobble, 03/02/2021 (6 votes, no answer).
  3. Why did Fontane choose to write "The Tragedy of Afghanistan"? by bobble, 06/02/2021 (4 notes, no answer).
  4. What is this passage saying about Precentor Jahnke? by Rand al'Thor, 16/02/2021 (3 votes, 1 answer).
  5. What would it mean for a 19th-century German soldier to "wear the cross"? by Rand al'Thor, 18/02/2021 (HNQ; 9 votes, 4 answers).
  6. Why does "The Tragedy of Afghanistan" suddenly switch to second-person in the second-to-last verse? by bobble, 20/02/2021 (5 votes, 1 answer).
  7. What's the significance of the name "Johnnie" in "The Bridge by the Tay"? by bobble, 20/02/2021 (1 vote, no answer).
  8. What is known about the last book Theodor Fontane worked on? by bobble, 20/02/2021 (HNQ; 7 votes, 2 answers).
  9. What is the significance of "Come, Effi"? by Rand al'Thor, 26/02/2021 (1 vote, no answer).
  10. What is the "Isle of the Blessed" and why should a girl see it before marriage? by Rand al'Thor, 27/02/2021 (HNQ; 9 votes, three answers).

The highest-voted and most viewed are What would it mean for a 19th-century German soldier to "wear the cross"? and What is the "Isle of the Blessed" and why should a girl see it before marriage?, both with a score of 9 and approximately 2k views during the months of January and February. (Both of them went HNQ, and the second one was still on HNQ at the end of February, so it's hard to be sure of its exact view count at that moment, but probably somewhere around 1800-1900, similar to the first one at ~1840, since it was at ~1950 on the morning of 1 March after leaving the HNQ list.)

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