Exeter Book Riddles

(3288 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Exeter, Cathedral Library, MS. 3501 – better known as the Exeter Book (see separate entry) – contains the only medieval collection of English vernacular riddles that has come down to us. The riddles amount to nearly one hundred and are all in Old English with the exception of a single Latin piece (no. 90; here and elsewhere I follow Krapp and Dobbie's standard numbering and edition). There are no solutions accompanying the texts, as was also quite common in Latin riddling, and this has considerably complicated the study of some of the pieces whose solving has been particularly elusive. However, there are some riddles whose answers are provided by means of a runic …

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Salvador-Bello, Mercedes. "Exeter Book Riddles". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 April 2006
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1661, accessed 07 July 2015.]