Here's the latest installment in the regular best-of-quarter collections, the purpose of which is 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 X 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 third quarter (Jul/Aug/Sep) of 2023.

(Also, if you find a great post from some previous month, 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 the main site 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.

2 Answers 2


Peter Shor's question, What evidence do we have that, after her death, Christina Rossetti's brother destroyed some of her poems before he published the rest? is excellent and makes for interesting reading. He provides examples of scholars who state as received wisdom that Wm Michael Rossetti destroyed some of his sister's poems because of their lesbian content, and asks about the basis for this claim.

The question received an equally excellent answer from Gareth Rees. Gareth capably gets to the bottom of a game of whispers (a specialty of his, it seems) and demonstrates that the claim is based on shaky scholarship. His own excellent research skills, and the sound conclusions he draws therefrom, are on full display. Sometimes I think the rest of us are as hewers of wood and drawers of water before him.

The comment thread below that answer, wherein Peter and Gareth trade nuggets of scholarly info, is also exemplary. It shows LitSE at its best, when two fine minds work in concert to advance the common endeavor of sound information and interpretation.

Gareth's equally scholarly answer to my question about the textual history of Wordsworth's sonnet to Toussaint L'Ouverture deserved more love than it got. All that work must have taken several hours, and (as of this writing) the answer has only two upvotes?!

As for myself, I had fun writing an answer to a question by our resident rug-chucking mod about the different texts of Keats's "La Belle Dame Sans Merci", partly because it let me engage with a prior answer by none other than Gareth. I also enjoyed delving into Tagore again for an answer identifying the Bengali originals of some of his translations of his own poems. And I very rarely indulge in purely deconstructionist analyses, but I did take pleasure in writing a non-answer to a question about the nightingale of India.


I'm always impressed by answers that go above and beyond, giving a lot more information than what was asked for in the question or perhaps expected by the OP.

Not exactly the same thing but similar, Matt Thrower's answer to Why Pallas in "The Raven"? (disclaimer: my question) is something I really felt shows SE at its best. Quoting my own comment, it:

sort of showcases what this site and the deeper appreciation of literature is all about: it's possible to enjoy the poem at face value, with a raven just sitting on a bust of any old Greek god, but we can appreciate it much more deeply with all this interpretation and symbolism around the significance of Pallas.

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