Search results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 39 items for :

  • Refine by access: All content x
Clear All
James Paz

59 2 The ‘thingness’ of time in the Old English riddles of the Exeter Book and Aldhelm’s Latin enigmata What do we make of the transformation of things over time? Maybe one also ought to ask what things make of us over time: how are human beings transformed by the things that carry the traces of our voices and our bodies when we are gone? The Old English and Anglo-​Latin riddling traditions give voice to things, as if they could answer such a question. Yet, for the most part, criticism has focused on the rhetorical device of prosopopoeia, whereby the human

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Abstract only
Aldhelm’s leech riddle – Peter Buchanan
Peter Buchanan

mihi composuit nomen fortuna cruentem [fortune has made for me a bloody name] (2). 1 So begins, and ends, modern critical attention to Aldhelm’s enigma of the leech or sanguisuga , which has been classified by Nicholas Howe as a standard exemplum of Isidorian etymologising wordplay, 2 and which has generally suffered the same neglect that others of Aldhelm’s Enigmata have endured, except in those rare instances where Anglo-Latin is relevant to the interpretation of the Old English riddles. 3 However, Aldhelm’s riddle of the

in Riddles at work in the early medieval tradition
The early medieval contexts of Aldhelm’s cat riddle
Megan Cavell

place-names. 4 There is, however, one fascinating Anglo-Latin poetic riddle that explores the role of this animal in vivid detail: Aldhelm’s Enigma 65, Muriceps (‘mouse-catcher)’. After placing Aldhelm’s cat in her wider historical and comparative contexts, I provide a close reading of this unique riddle—an exciting case study, given the limited depictions of cats that survive from the early medieval period. I argue that the semi-domesticated nature of early medieval English cats is evident in Aldhelm’s poem, which employs imagery of the mouser’s role as a domestic

in Riddles at work in the early medieval tradition
Tracing an insular riddle topos on both sides of the English Channel
Mercedes Salvador-Bello

It is well known that riddling was particularly conspicuous as a literary genre in the British Isles. Indeed, riddles were much appreciated in monastic circles because their compact format conveniently favoured the teaching of Latin vocabulary, rhetoric, syntax, and metrics. Dating from about 686, Aldhelm’s Enigmata constitute the earliest riddle collection produced in England that has come down to us. Following in Aldhelm’s steps, Tatwine and Eusebius, both contemporary with Bede, took up the composition of a collection each. 2 In turn, an anonymous author

in Riddles at work in the early medieval tradition
Megan Cavell, Jennifer Neville, and Victoria Symons

The riddling tradition of early medieval England was a vibrant one: numerically speaking, riddles outnumber all other types of poetry that survive from this period. The earliest extant collection of riddles composed in England is Aldhelm’s Enigmata : a round hundred of mostly brief poems wrought in Aldhelm’s characteristic, alliterative-flavoured Latin verse on topics ranging from the celestial to the mythical, from the exotic to the emphatically prosaic. Aldhelm begins his collection with a verse preface that serves as a literary manifesto, laying out both

in Riddles at work in the early medieval tradition
Words, ideas, interactions

Riddles at work is the first volume to bring together multiple scholarly voices to explore the vibrant, poetic riddle tradition of early medieval England and its neighbours. The chapters in this book present a wide range of traditional and experimental methodologies. They treat the riddles both as individual poems and as parts of a tradition, but, most importantly, they address Latin and Old English riddles side-by-side, bringing together texts that originally developed in conversation with each other but have often been separated in scholarship. The ‘General Introduction’ situates this book in its scholarly context. Part I, ‘Words’, presents philological approaches to early medieval riddles—interpretations rooted in close readings of texts—for riddles work by making readers question what words really mean. While reading carefully may lead to elegant solutions, however, such solutions are not the end of the riddling game. Part II, ‘Ideas’, thus explores how riddles work to make readers think anew about objects, relationships, and experiences, using literary theory to facilitate new approaches. Part III, ‘Interactions’, explores how riddles work through connections with other fields, languages, times, and places. Together, the sixteen chapters reveal that there is no single, right way to read these texts but many productive paths—some explored here, some awaiting future work.

Robert Stanton

. Ultimately, on a broader and more ambitious scale that I can only gesture towards, I want to follow the lead of Maurizio Bettini in the subtitle of his 2008 book Voci to ponder the possibilities of a ‘sound anthropology’ of early medieval England. 2 Certain fundamental concepts of sound and voice going back to Aristotle reached early medieval England via the grammarians Priscian and Donatus, the encyclopaedist Isidore of Seville, and the early medieval scholar and writer Aldhelm, whose work on poetic theory and his own Latin riddle collection make him a vital bridge

in Riddles at work in the early medieval tradition
Megan Cavell and Jennifer Neville

medieval world. At the same time, however, the chapters in this section also remind us that the riddles continue to interact with us now. Note 1 See, for example, Greg Delanty, Seamus Heaney, and Michael Matto, eds, The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation (New York: Norton, 2010); A. M. Juster, trans., Saint Aldhelm’s Riddles (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015); Miller Oberman, The Unstill Ones: Poems (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017).

in Riddles at work in the early medieval tradition
Abstract only
Megan Cavell and Jennifer Neville

Let us return to the beginning. In bringing together a hundred riddles about a multitude of topics, from a variety of perspectives, and imbued with echoes of a wide range of sources, Aldhelm’s verse collection presents us with a clear literary manifesto. We have a manifesto of our own. Unlike Aldhelm, we do not position ourselves as sole progenitors. Rather, we celebrate the communal practice that is riddling—whether composing, solving, interpreting, or editing. We aim to draw together the individual voices of the riddles and of the chapters of this

in Riddles at work in the early medieval tradition