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1:14 AM
@Bookworm High in the HNQ, mate.
@Randal'Thor I'm weirdly torn. I came away from the Tagore challenge with a greater admiration for Tagore than I had had before—I was dimly aware that his English translations were dreck, but while I liked his Bengali originals well enough, I hadn't studied them before the challenge. By contrast, I've never particularly liked Naidu, and the more I read of her poetry, the less I like it.
The only reason there are so many questions is that she uses references that Indian readers would get right away, but folks on LitSE would not. And they're easy to answer, so they get on HNQ because the answers come quickly.
1:37 AM
The questions that take longer to answer (like the one on suttee, or the one I just answered about the nightingale of India) are more interesting, but not because Naidu's poems are themselves any good. At least in the case of the suttee poem, its very badness makes for an interesting question.
I like Naidu as a personality (she was funny!) but not as a poet, I mean.
6 hours later…
7:40 AM
"Rise, Mother, rise, regenerate from thy gloom" is a pretty clunky line. I can't help but be reminded of Lt. Cmdr Data's poetry youtube.com/watch?v=SySZdvsFYt4
@verbose That's so often the case - the less interesting questions go HNQ and the more interesting ones stagnate in obscurity.
Rep comes from HNQ, but answering an interesting question is its own reward. Plus you might get bounties or answer-of-the-quarter nominations for the latter.
Btw, your answer to my "nightingale of India" question is one of the most detailed, elaborate, and informative "dunno"s I've ever seen :-)
7 hours later…
2:29 PM
Q: In Wallace Stevens' "The Plain Sense of Things", what is the meaning of the verse, "No turban walks across the lessened floors?"

Denkof ZwemmenIn Wallace Stevens' "The Plain Sense of Things", the meaning of every sentence, the sense of every verse, every image, is clear and straightforward; nothing is impressionistic or vague - except for the last verse of the second stanza: "No turban walks across the lessened floors." The verse that p...

1 hour later…
3:31 PM
> The deathbed confession of James Allen, a nineteenth-century highwayman in Massachusetts. He requested a copy of his printed memoirs be bound in his skin and gifted to John Fenno, a man who had resisted Allen's attempt to rob him; it is the only known anthropodermic book bound with the consent of its source.
Word of the day: anthropodermic book
2 hours later…
5:21 PM
@Bookworm It must be nice to find this poem "clear and straightforward"!
2 hours later…
7:12 PM
@ClaraDiazSanchez Thanks for sharing! Who is the second poet he names? "Throughout the ages from Keats to .... "? I couldn't catch the name despite replaying a couple times
7:24 PM
@Randal'Thor Is that a good thing or a bad thing? That answer might be the most explicitly deconstructive one I've ever written, barring perhaps this one, which is about deconstruction, not really deconstructive in itself
@verbose The poet is named "Jorkemo", who was presumably active some time between the 20th and 24h centuries (and so unknown to us, but not to Mr Data)
@ClaraDiazSanchez Oh ah. That clears it up. Thanks!
We need a user on this site with the handle @Jorkemo
@verbose It would be interesting to see if anyone caught the allusion. I'd bet a few people on SFF would get it.
@GarethRees TIL, via The Graunaid, that Emily Wilson is the daughter of the journovelist A N Wilson and the scholar Katherine Duncan-Jones.
Funny that she's seen as a Shakespeare scholar. I knew her as a Sidney scholar; she had edited The Old Arcadia; his major works, a selection of his poems,
and his miscellaneous prose, plus written a biography.
Of course she edited tons of Shakespeare too, and wrote a biography, but it's weird that scholars of Elizabethan literature are almost always referred to as "Shakespeare scholars". The same happens with the baseball commissioner A Bartett Giamatti, father of actor Paul Giamatti, who was a Spenser scholar. But when he died in 1989, the sporting press called him a Shakespearean.
@ClaraDiazSanchez I certainly wouldn't've
7:52 PM
@verbose A good thing. If the answer is unknown, then that's the answer, but a well-argued "dunno" is always better than a simple "dunno".
On SFF (which aims for objectivity more than we do, but measures objectivity via authorial intent), it's come up a couple of times on meta whether questions whose answers are unknown should be closed as opinion-based. (Spoiler: no, they shouldn't.)
Why would a question whose answer is unknown be a candidate for closure as opinion-based?
I mean, we don't know whether Shakespeare wrote the Ur-Hamlet, but it's perfectly reasonable to ask whether he did.
"What would this character have done if this thing happened in this story" is also a question whose answer is unknown, but it's often not a good question because any answer would be pure speculation.
Sometimes a good answer can be built based on character analysis, but sometimes there's just no information on which to base an answer.
Fair enough
but that means only that whether a question is opinion-based or not depends on the question
Like, I don't think "Did Kyd write the Ur-Hamlet?" is opinion-based
Here's a couple of those SFF meta discussions, if you're interested.
@verbose Right, and consensus has always been against closing just because the answer is unknown.
but "why didn't the person who gives a detailed description of Ophelia's drowning take a moment to fish her out of the water instead?" is opinion-based.
H'm maybe I should ask that question just to see what happens
8:08 PM
But there is a grey area sometimes. This question was actually closed for a while and then reopened after I gave a detailed argument in an answer.
@verbose Are you looking for a Watsonian or Doylian answer? :-)
@Randal'Thor Yes
@Randal'Thor Thanks. What are FPs? (Though maybe I should ask @Mithical that since they were the ones who used the initialism). Also, you misspelled "Machiavellian"
What counts as canon for SFF purposes? Are The Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor considered Star Wars canon, for example?
@verbose Not sure of the context as I couldn't find "FPs" on the page, but maybe First Posts (as in the review queue)?
Interesting how the argument on SFF seems to be that discussions should be bound by canon, whereas most literature scholars appear to agree that the canon needs to be opened up
@Randal'Thor here
8:23 PM
@verbose What counts as canon depends a lot on the particular story/series/universe. In Doctor Who, for example, the official position is that there is no canonicity, which sort of makes sense given the level of self-contradiction to be found in a show about time travel that's been running for 60 years. For Star Wars, here's the answer:
A: How is canonicity of derivative works determined for Star Wars?

ValorumCanonicity in the Star Wars universe is, as of April 2014 determined by a working group comprised of representatives of Disney and LucasFilm known as the Lucasfilm Story Group. The primary change made is that the old canon system (G-Canon, T-Canon, etc.) has been nuked from orbit and only the ori...

@verbose I'd say that's the main point of divergence between the SFF and Literature sites.
@verbose Ah, False Positives.
@Randal'Thor kinda weird to limit canon like that when you consider that the whole point of myths and legends is that everything is canon, and internal consistency is beside the point.
8:46 PM
Some sci-fi and fantasy does strive to be internally consistent.
I guess the advantage of a canon-based approach is it leads to more objectively verifiable answers: "the answer is this, because the author said so, end of story" is easy to judge as correct if that's the standard of the site, whereas a deeper analysis answer might need deeper knowledge to even judge whether it's a good answer or not.
I don't know how the canon-based approach came to dominate SFF.SE historically. I'm a relative newcomer there (only joined in 2014, by which time the site was already 3 years old and well established).

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