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Here's the latest installment in the regular best-of-quarter collections, intended to gather some particularly good Literature Q&A in order to get some easily available links to showcase our site.

One use for this post could be to gather links for promotion on Literature's community-run Twitter account. 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 fourth quarter (Oct/Nov/Dec) of 2020.

(Also, if you find anything from previous months, feel free to go and post answers on any of the older posts linked above. The date of the meta answer doesn't matter - late entries are still more than welcome! - only the date of the post on main that's being nominated.)

  • 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.
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My answer will lack all originality, since the answers I want to highlight were also submitted by verbose during the Rabindranath Tagore reading challenge:

Reading these answers will convince you that they couldn't be written by simply scraping something from Google Books.

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I think shoover's answer to the question Can the influence of the 1918 “Spanish flu” pandemic be seen in T.S. Eliot's “The Waste Land”? is among the very best answers I have read on this site. It may be the single best answer I've ever read here. The detailed, well-crafted answer is supported by excellent research into very recent scholarship on T. S. Eliot and the influenza pandemic. The list of references is impressive. It comprises ten works including doctoral dissertations, scholarly essays, and monographs. Shoover also mentions blog and magazine articles that draw parallels between the 1918 pandemic and the COVID-19 outbreak of our own time. This answer exemplifies the site at its best: sound, accessible scholarship that illuminates a work of literature while connecting it to our everyday lives.

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The Rabindranath Tagore topic challenge, which ran throughout the first two months of this quarter, was not only our most successful topic challenge so far in terms of questions and question askers, but also attracted the most answers, the latter almost entirely due to the efforts of verbose, who has answered 15 of the 21 Tagore questions on the site so far. All of those answers are worth reading, containing a mixture of literary analysis and interpretation, knowledge of the Bengali language and culture, searching the bibliography of Tagore, etc. It's hard to choose a best one among so many great detailed answers, but since I probably shouldn't list all of them in one meta post, let me highlight his answer to my question What is the significance of "southern" in Tagore's poem "A Hundred Years From Now"? for its incredibly above-and-beyond coverage of so many different aspects relating to this poem.

verbose became the top user of the quarter by reputation gained (the 4th user in the history of the site to top a quarterly league, after myself, Tsundoku, and Gareth Rees) and the top user of the month for both November and December (the 5th user to top two monthly leagues, after myself, Tsundoku, Gareth Rees, and Spagirl). A well-deserved prize, as he not only slaughtered the Tagore topic challenge with answers, but also revived a huge number of old questions with great new answers.


Another great Q&A from the 4th quarter of 2020 is Gareth Rees's Were English poets of the sixteenth century aware of the Great Vowel Shift? - a very interesting topic for understanding the history of English literature, with the question itself and both answers (from the OP and Peter Shor) being well-researched and informative.

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