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Daniel Anlezark

stone pillar and almost overwhelms the pagan cannibals of Mermedonia. Despite their differences, all the poems share an interest in two themes, which emerge from the biblical story of the Flood and its theological interpretation: covenant and apocalypse. Genesis A Scholars of Old English poetry generally agree that Genesis A is an early poem, perhaps written as early as the

in Water and fire
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Clare A. Lees

This article explores the contributions of women scholars, writers and artists to our understanding of the medieval past. Beginning with a contemporary artists book by Liz Mathews that draws on one of Boethius‘s Latin lyrics from the Consolation of Philosophy as translated by Helen Waddell, it traces a network of medieval women scholars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries associated with Manchester and the John Rylands Library, such as Alice Margaret Cooke and Mary Bateson. It concludes by examining the translation of the Old English poem, The Wife‘s Lament, by contemporary poet, Eavan Boland. The art of Liz Mathews and poetry of Eavan Boland and the scholarship of women like Alice Cooke, Mary Bateson, Helen Waddell and Eileen Power show that women‘s writing of the past – creative, public, scholarly – forms a strand of an archive of women‘s history that is still being put together.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
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.

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Powerful fragments: Ruin, relics, spolia
Denis Ferhatović

incorporate them, the way an artist would try to make a spolium fit into its surroundings. Beowulf always stands apart among the surviving Old English poetry, even though the scholarship often treats it as paradigmatic. It accumulates, even hoards, references to war plunder. Beowulf comes at the end because it follows the thematic and structural patterns described above, but, unlike the religious verse in Borrowed Objects , has a cloud of uncertainty hanging over it: the narrator cannot say what happens to his heroic pagan characters after death. The order of

in Borrowed objects and the art of poetry
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New translations of Exeter riddle fragments Modor Monigra (R.84), Se Wiht Wombe Hæfde (R.89), and Brunra Beot (R.92), accompanied by notes on process
Miller Wolf Oberman

Modor Monigra (R.84) The phrase dyre cræft sits in the middle of the first of two damaged sections of Modor Monigra (R.84). It struck me, glancing at the poem for the first time, because of its clarity—a small floating raft of remaining language poking up right in the middle of three heavily burned lines. This may be too much to ask of two words, but dyre cræft , or ‘dear craft’, seems to speak to fragmentary Old English poetry as a whole: worthy, glorious, dear, beloved, precious, costly, that which does not come cheap, or easily. Each of these linked

in Riddles at work in the early medieval tradition
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Carolyn Steedman

PRINT.indd 113 16/02/2018 13:07 114 Part I: History English by the autumn of 1926 and there are very full accounts of his first encounters with Old English poetry, by now a cornerstone of the Oxford English degree.41 It appears that his childhood reading of Northern European literature had been in Norse mythology and collections of Icelandic stories – in prose, not poetry.42 Chris Jones points out that Auden was ‘the first Saxonizing poet to receive a university education which would have been familiar to most British students of English during the twentieth

in Poetry for historians
Robert Stanton

objects, and human and animal experience. Like all Old English poetry but especially vividly, the riddles pleasurably combine received fields of knowledge and familiar poetic forms with the surprising, sometimes unsettling aural effects produced by specific lines. I want to tease out some connections between the concepts of sound, noise, and voice as the early medieval English inherited them from the classical and early medieval philosophical and grammatical traditions, and the achievable performative effects of sound via the techniques of English enigmatic poetry

in Riddles at work in the early medieval tradition
Spolia in Old English verse

Borrowed objects and the art of poetry examines seven Exeter riddles, three Anglo-Saxon biblical poems (Exodus, Andreas, Judith), and Beowulf to uncover the poetics of spolia, an imaginative use of fictional recycled artefacts to create sites of metatextual reflection. Old English poetry famously – and for a corpus rather interested in the enigmatic and the oblique, appropriately – lacks an explicit ars poetica. This book argues that attention to particularly charged moments within texts – especially within texts concerned with translation, transformation, and the layering of various pasts – gives us a previously unrecognised means for theorising Anglo-Saxon poetic creativity. Borrowed objects and the art of poetry works at the intersections of recent interest in materiality and poetics, balancing insights of thing theory, and related approaches with close readings of specific passages from Old English texts.

Megan Cavell and Jennifer Neville

focus on solutions, register, allusion, and poetic craft, with authors’ analyses stretching out to touch the sciences and/or critical theory, before returning to the words that stand at the core of the chapters. Studying the riddles has always meant grappling with words and their polysemy, and with translation as an act of interpretation. As Jonathan Wilcox puts it: ‘Riddles with their multiple possibilities become ideal microcosms for the interpretative act of reading all Old English poetry. As a result, riddles richly reward close reading’. 1 Riddles—whether in

in Riddles at work in the early medieval tradition