Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book/Annotated/XII. The 'Obscene' Riddles

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Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book  (1963) 
translated by
Paull Franklin Baum


Obscene is a troublesome word for both legal and lay minds, but there is nothing uncertain about these few Anglo-Saxon riddles which go under that name. Most of the editors have been shy about their double meanings. Tupper, for example, puts the matter delicately, saying of 74 below, that the solution is not “the chief concern of the jest.” Their interest today is as specimens of primitive humor sheltered behind the natural ambiguity of all riddles, which found a place in that book which the Bishop donated to this cathedral library.