Jonathan Wilcox
Search for other papers by Jonathan Wilcox in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Humour and the Exeter Book riddles
Incongruity in Feþegeorn (R.31)
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

Incongruity is the sine qua non for humour, as any good humour theory will suggest, conjuring up an appropriately inappropriate doubleness. But incongruity alone is never sufficient to explain humour. This chapter brings together consideration of humour theory with the interpretation of Feþegeorn (R.31) to ponder whether riddles can provide a key to understanding the humour of early medieval England. Pinpointing humour always requires an awareness of the multiple frames within which the comic stimulus works. For literary humour, this requires a sensitivity to register (with implicit questions of expectations of genre) as well as to meaning (attending to the doubleness of diction) and to context (since performance and social context plays a significant role). Interpreting humour also requires a fine-tuned sense of the timing of the revelation of doubleness, and here memory plays a significant role, since earlier tellings (of a riddle or of a joke) allow an audience to usefully anticipate the upcoming resolution.

  • Collapse
  • Expand

All of MUP's digital content including Open Access books and journals is now available on manchesterhive.

 

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 602 391 22
Full Text Views 68 23 0
PDF Downloads 89 22 0