Saint Aldhelm's Riddles
Published: October 2015© 2015
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 200 Pages
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
200 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.46 in
The first and one of the finest Latin poets of Anglo-Saxon England, the seventh-century bishop Saint Aldhelm can justly be called “Britain’s first man of letters.” Among his many influential poetic texts were the hundred riddles that made up his Aenigmata. In Saint Aldhelm’s Riddles, A.M. Juster offers the first verse translation of this text in almost a century, capturing the wit, warmth, and wonder of the first English riddle collection.
One of today’s finest formalist poets, A.M. Juster brings the same exquisite care to this volume as to his translations of Horace (“The best edition available of the Satires in English” –Choice), Tibullus (“An excellent new translation” –The Guardian), and Petrarch. Juster’s translation is complemented by a newly edited version of the Latin text and by the first scholarly commentary on the Aenigmata, the result of exhaustive interdisciplinary research into the text’s historical, literary, and philological context. Saint Aldhelm’s Riddles will be essential for scholars and a treasure for lovers of Tolkien, Beowulf, and Harry Potter.
Saint Aldhelm’s Riddles
Text, Commentaries, and Translations
“Self-deprecating and occasionally funny, [A.M.Juster offers] some of most thoroughly enjoyable textual commentary you are ever likely to read. But the central pleasure here is, of course, the poems. Juster’s fluid and deceptively simple translations make the whole effort look easy, which is a testament to both Aldhelm’s gift and Juster’s craft.”Micah Mattix, The Washington Free Beacon, January 9, 2016
“There has always been a kind of riddle that, by reason of wit and beauty, is undeniably a poem. Bishop Aldhelm was a great continuator of the tradition, and A.M. Juster has given us Aldhelm in spirited and accurate verse translations. Among my favourite are the riddles for organ, squid, dove, and mouser, but Juster has handsomely rendered them all.”Richard Wilbur, second United States poet laureate
“Juster’s aims are several: to communicate the joys that come with puzzling out some of Aldhelm’s riddles; to suggest the power and importance of the riddle genre in the earliest centuries of the English literary tradition; and to communicate some of the poetic features of Aldhelm’s Latin, most notably his use of alliteration and end-stopped lines. His translations are a fine and much-needed addition to Anglo-Latin literary studies and will open up the wily, alluring pleasures of Aldhelm’s riddling imagination to a large and no doubt appreciative contemporary audience.”Joseph Pucci, Professor of Classics and in the Program in Medieval Studies, Brown University