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Here, rather late, is 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 first quarter (January/February/March) of 2024.

List of all questions asked during 2024 Q1

List of all answers posted during 2024 Q1

(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 literary works 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 work or writer, if you think they're all outstanding. But don't nominate questions just because they're about your favourite work or writer.
  • 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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I'd like to highlight some impressive story identification from Ayshe, who managed to track down some obscure references from some very scanty information. Chief among these are A children's book with a rhyme naming cities in western England and A children's book with a rhyme about a badger's home - not to mention Children's book about a cat named Clara and a cat named Mrs. Cat, which I too attempted to find, but completely failed.

I would also like to nominate Verbose's question Did Ibsen have any known response to Shaw's Quintessence of Ibsenism?, which led me into an enjoyable deep dive into Shaw and Ibsen's correspondence.

And finally I am grateful for EJoshuaS's polite, persistent questions on Taras Shevchenko, which led me to finally read The Kobzar and thus reach a greater appreciation of Ukrainian poetry.

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I'd like to nominate the question What is the significance of counting up to twelve in “Keeping Quiet”, and verbose's answer to this question.

Here, archthegreat (the OP) and verbose have discovered an aspect of this famous poem by Pablo Neruda — the association of counting to twelve with the numbers on a clock — which does not seem to be mentioned in any of the online commentaries on this poem.

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Question and Answer

For both question and answer, I'd like to nominate Is Chain Rhyme an ambiguous term? Or are Chain Rhyme and Chain Verse different things?. Malady's question usefully asks about two terms that sound interchangeable, and as usual, Gareth Rees's answer is a model of clarity, comprehensiveness, and scholarship, including his very own translation of a poem written in 16th C French.

Answers

Gareth's answer to What does "we are not careful" mean in this context? is similarly scholarly, delving into the meaning and possible translations of the rare Hebrew verb חֲשַׁח.

Laurel's answer to What is this children's book referenced in Little Dorrit? convincingly identifies a very specific illustration from a very specific book, when it seemed like there was no way to narrow down the the work being asked about in the question. The answer received a well-deserved bounty from Peter Shor.

Mithical's belated answer to a question that was nearly three years old was well-researched, well-argued, and very helpful. Full disclosure, the question is mine: How does the trans community view Gore Vidal's 'Myra Breckinridge'?

 

Shameless self-promotion

In two cases, I thought I was asking a question essential to understanding the associated novel:

Neither has been answered. The latter would have qualified for a badge if those were still handed out. H'm, I guess it's time I bountied these.

And I had a blast answering Who inspired the poem "Addicted to Proof"? Poe's law FTW.

Finally, an answer on editions of Malory took a lot of time and effort toward a rather negative aim. Understandably, it wasn't well-received, but I'm proud of it.

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