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Old English Riddles: From the Exeter Book

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Old English Riddles: From the Exeter Book Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this new and revised edition of a popular Anvil Press classic, Michael Alexander presents a selection of these ingenious and enigmatic poems—with possible “solutions” given in an appendix—in versions that capture their peculiar, often ribald, suggestiveness and vigor.

The riddles survive through the Exeter Book, a manuscript dating back to the year 1000, left to Exeter Cathedral by its first bishop, Leofric. Yet the poems, drawn as they were from an earlier tradition, predate the Exeter Book perhaps by centuries. Although scholars once believed them to be the work of one eighth-century poet, Cynewulf, the variety of styles, subject matter, and levels of literary sophistication make it likely that they were the work of many authors over many years. They provide invaluable insight into life in Anglo-Saxon England, reflecting the everyday concerns and attitudes of an essentially agricultural and pious society. Some refer to the natural environment, animals, and the climate; others describe household objects or farming implements, even weaponry. In their expressive concision, the riddles are striking poems.

Michael Alexander was, until his recent retirement, honorary professor of English at St. Andrews University in Scotland. Educated at Oxford, Perugia, and Princeton universities, he is the author of three Penguin Classic titles, The Earliest English Poets, Beowulf, and The Canterbury Tales: The First Fragment. His other works include The Poetic Achievement of Ezra Pound (1981) and A History of English Literature (2000). His latest work, Medievalism: The Middle Ages in Modern England, was published by Yale University Press in 2006.

Synopsis:

A new, revised edition of an ancient English Classic from England's oldest independent poetry press.

About the Author

Michael Alexander was Honorary Professor of English Literature at St Andrew's University, Scotland. He translated "The Earliest English Poems" and "Beowulf" (both Penguin Classics). His critical study "The Poetic Achievement of Ezra Pound" (1979) won a Scottish Arts Council Book Award. He published "A History of Old English Literature". He is currently working on a monogram ["Medievalism"] for Yale University Press.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780856463785
Author:
Alexander, Michael
Publisher:
Anvil Press Poetry
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Poetry
Subject:
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Subject:
Anthologies-United Kingdom Poetry
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20071031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
96
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

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Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » United Kingdom » Poetry
Fiction and Poetry » Classics » Old English Language

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Product details 96 pages Anvil Press Poetry - English 9780856463785 Reviews:
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A new, revised edition of an ancient English Classic from England's oldest independent poetry press.
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