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ERIC Number: EJ1153368
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1938-0399
Riddle Hero: Play and Poetry in the Exeter Book Riddles
Higl, Andrew
American Journal of Play, v9 n3 p374-394 Spr 2017
The author discusses the Exeter Book riddles, some of the earliest poems in English, specifically Old English, as perfect examples of how play and poetry intersect. Their playfulness, he claims, is most apparent in the original manuscript, but notes that few modern readers read Old English. The orthography of the manuscript also helps to make the play of the poems more obscure. Moreover, contemporary readers nearly always encounter the riddles in modern editions and with modern English translations, and editors and translators often provide the riddles with clear divisions and interpretive notes. They sometimes offer their own solutions to the riddles (although the actual manuscript provides no explanation for them). All of which leads to a different and less playful experience for readers of the riddles. The author explores what it means to play the riddles in their original context, making the individual reader the riddle hero ("haeleþ") whom the text calls on to construct playful worlds of imagination and language. He examines how the Old English riddles demand to be played and how they oscillate playfully between the mundane, the sacred, and the obscene.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A