IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 1220: Anglo-Saxon Riddles

Wednesday 9 July 2008, 14.15-15.45

Organiser:Alice D. Jorgensen, School of English, Trinity College Dublin
Moderator/Chair:Anne Marie D'Arcy, Department of English, University of Leicester
Paper 1220-a'The Wife's Lament' and 'The Husband's Message' and Their Position in the Exeter Book
(Language: English)
Silvia Geremia, Università di Pavia / Department of Italian, Trinity College Dublin
Paper 1220-bPartitions and the Construction of Identity in Riddles 14 (Horn) and 26 (Book/Bible) of the Exeter Book
(Language: English)
Stephen Graham, Trinity College Dublin
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Mentalities
Paper 1220-cUnmaking the World in the Exeter Book Riddles
(Language: English)
Alice D. Jorgensen, School of English, Trinity College Dublin
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Mentalities
Abstract

A substantial corpus of Latin and Old English riddles survives from Anglo-Saxon England, affording a distinctive perspective both on the meeting of Latin and Germanic poetic tradition and on Anglo-Saxon constructions, and deconstructions, of the self and the world. Aldhelm’s riddle on Creation illuminates his debt to and departure from the late antique poet Symphosius; it exemplifies how the Ænigmata explores God’s world as simultaneously paradoxical and familiar. The Exeter Book riddles present inanimate speakers in human terms, producing multi-faceted personal identities. They draw on the social categories embedded in traditional heroic poetry but subvert and extend them. The world-view they reveal may be Christian but is often deeply pessimistic and violent.