Say What I Am Called: The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book & the Anglo-Latin Riddle Tradition

By Dieter Bitterli

© 2009

Perhaps the most enigmatic cultural artifacts that survive from the Anglo-Saxon period are the Old English riddle poems that were preserved in the tenth century Exeter Book manuscript. Clever, challenging, and notoriously obscure, the riddles have fascinated readers for centuries and provided crucial insight into the period. In Say What I Am Called, Dieter Bitterli takes a fresh look at the riddles by examining them in the context of earlier Anglo-Latin riddles. Bitterli argues that there is a vigorous common tradition between Anglo-Latin and Old English riddles and details how the contents of the Exeter Book emulate and reassess their Latin predecessors while also expanding their literary and formal conventions. The book also considers the ways in which convention and content relate to writing in a vernacular language. A rich and illuminating work that is as intriguing as the riddles themselves, Say What I Am Called is a rewarding study of some of the most interesting works from the Anglo-Saxon period.

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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Old English Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 328 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 0.9in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP002535

  • PUBLISHED NOV 2019

    From: $27.71

    Regular Price: $36.95

    ISBN 9781487525484
  • PUBLISHED MAY 2009

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    Regular Price: $90.00

    ISBN 9780802093523
  • PUBLISHED MAY 2009

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    Regular Price: $87.00

Quick Overview

A rich and illuminating work that is as intriguing as the riddles themselves, Say What I Am Called is a rewarding study of some of the most interesting works from the Anglo-Saxon period.

Say What I Am Called: The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book & the Anglo-Latin Riddle Tradition

By Dieter Bitterli

© 2009

Perhaps the most enigmatic cultural artifacts that survive from the Anglo-Saxon period are the Old English riddle poems that were preserved in the tenth century Exeter Book manuscript. Clever, challenging, and notoriously obscure, the riddles have fascinated readers for centuries and provided crucial insight into the period. In Say What I Am Called, Dieter Bitterli takes a fresh look at the riddles by examining them in the context of earlier Anglo-Latin riddles. Bitterli argues that there is a vigorous common tradition between Anglo-Latin and Old English riddles and details how the contents of the Exeter Book emulate and reassess their Latin predecessors while also expanding their literary and formal conventions. The book also considers the ways in which convention and content relate to writing in a vernacular language. A rich and illuminating work that is as intriguing as the riddles themselves, Say What I Am Called is a rewarding study of some of the most interesting works from the Anglo-Saxon period.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Old English Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 328 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 0.9in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘Say What I am Called is a perpetually engaging book, informed by much knowledge, and with much to say about the Anglo-Saxon riddle tradition.’
    Robert Gotz
    The Journal of Medieval Latin, vol 21:2011

    'Say What I Am Called is an engaging work of considerable erudition. Dieter Bitterli's work reveals that the dialogue going on between the Old English and Latin riddles is much more extensive and multi-layered than has been previously thought, and that the conversation wasn't at all one-sided: the Old English riddles aren't simply cleverly adapting Latin tropes; they also accept—are made possible by—many of the Latin riddle's techniques and assumptions.'
    Thomas Klein, Department of English and Philosophy, Idaho State University
  • Author Information

    Dieter Bitterli is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Zurich.

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