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Supplements to the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library
A Commentary on The Old English and Anglo-Latin Riddle Tradition
Andy Orchard

This volume is a companion to The Old English and Anglo-Latin Riddle Tradition. Its extensive notes and commentary on hundreds of Latin, Old English, and Old Norse–Icelandic riddles illuminate and clarify the multifaceted and interconnected nature of a broad, international tradition. Within this commentary, readers will encounter a deep reservoir of knowledge about riddles produced in both Latin and Old English during the Anglo-Saxon period, and the literatures with which they were in dialogue.

Riddles range from those by prominent authors like Aldhelm, Bede, Alcuin, and Boniface to those presented anonymously in collections such as the Exeter Book. All are fully discussed, with particular attention paid to manuscript traditions, subject matter, solutions, style, sources, parallels, and recommendations for further reading. Consideration is given to running themes throughout the collection, comparisons to other riddles and to other literature more broadly, and important linguistic observations and manuscript readings. The commentary also lists the manuscripts and earlier editions for each riddle, extensive catalogues of proposed solutions, and additional bibliographic references. Following the general discussion of each riddle there is detailed line-by-line annotation.

This authoritative commentary is the most comprehensive examination to date of the bilingual riddle tradition of Anglo-Saxon England and its links to the wider world.