Riddles and Materialism

The plurality of a world of things described in the Exeter Book Riddles seems thwarted by metrical monotony. It is a serious problem that these poems are written using the same meter that appears in all the other written Old English poetry, from Beowulf to the Metres of Boethius. (1) But an important task of … Read more Riddles and Materialism


So just a minor update made recently: “Resignation” is now “Resignation A & B” and I added the split in that poem that scholars have posited since the ASPR was released. I also observed that Muir breaks the very-short “Partridge” into two pieces, the bulk of it tagged “Homiletic Fragment III.” I’ll consider the case … Read more Updates

Riddles rationale

Now that I’m about 62 poems in to my revision process of the Exeter Book Riddles, I thought I should finally come out with the rationale behind this translation of these poems, so important to the extant canon and so commonly read and appreciated. One of the big issues I have with Old English poetry … Read more Riddles rationale

“Wyrd bið ful aræd” (The Wanderer, line 5b)

To check the commentary volume of Bernard J. Muir’s magisterial The Exeter Anthology of Old English Poetry: An Edition of Exeter Dean and Chapter MS 3501 (1994) one might be forgiven for concluding that the primary issue with this gnomic, gnarled half-line is a matter of grammar: “Mitchell-Robinson (p. 271) translates, ‘Fate is wholly inexorable’.” … Read more “Wyrd bið ful aræd” (The Wanderer, line 5b)

More Riddles revised

Did just a few more Riddles tonight — #60-65. #60 (“Reed Pen”) is interesting because it sits in a group of just riddles (following a slightly different version of #30 (“Wood”), not translated here), but also because it is considered by some to be categorizable with the so-called “Elegies.” Following Kathleen Davis’s chapter in the … Read more More Riddles revised