The Unexpected Treasure of the 'Implement Trope': Hierarchical Relationships in the Old English Riddles. / Neville, Jennifer.

In: Review of English Studies, Vol. 62, No. 256, 2011, p. 505-519.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



The Old English riddles are generally valued for their triviality—for their humour and their connection to ordinary life. In this article, however, I argue that the characteristic incongruity of the riddles can be much more than a genre-marker. In one group of riddles, the so-called ‘implement riddles’, descriptions that, on the surface, seem to be too ridiculous to be true and thus instantly dismissible can be seen to present a remarkable discussion of dangerously radical ideas about reciprocal obligation and mutual power sharing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-519
Number of pages15
JournalReview of English Studies
Issue number256
Early online date27 Jan 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011


This open access research output is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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