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ance and one of execution. The focus on English sources unfortunately subverts the interdisciplinary character of the medieval and Renaissance periods which is central to Braswell's methodology. One section is so comprehensive as to include paperback bibliographies in Old and Middle English chiefly of interest to undergraduates, yet the material of Renaissance handwriting is not sufficiently supported by strong sections on Italian libraries, literature and history (Spain is perhaps more generously treated). The ample list of journals includes several general serials of arguable relevance, but omits Renaissance Quarterly. Panofsky's Studies in Iconology is in, but Seznec's equally useful Suroival of the Pagan Gods is not. Complicating this weakness are technical problems. Item 558 is not an incipitario of Livy manuscripts but of lyric manuscripts (the misconstruction is apparent even in the annotation). The index has uncomfortable inconsistencies, the promised cross-referencing is not full enough to be truly useful (the section on Italian libraries should certainly refer us to Odier's history of the Vatican collections, listed later and misnumbered in the index), and in item 262 the erratic proofreading has resulted in a howler. Notwithstanding these complaints, the Handbook is an achievement. Though too expensive to serve as the student's vadernecurn the author would wish it, the book's objective - to produce a truly complete study of manuscripts - will make it useful well beyond the audience for which it is intended. (GERMAINE WARKENTrN) F.H. Whitman. Old English Riddles Canadian Federation for the Humanities, Monograph Series No III Distributed by P.O. Meany Publishers. xii, 236. $7.95 paper It is rare to find a book that one cannot say something good about. Professor Whitman's own acknowledgment of the inadequacies of his work - it is content not to be definitive, omits 'all the usual notes: and disregards the scholarship of the last decade (p xi) - turns out to be not so much academic modesty as Anglo-Saxon understatement. The book, he says, was 'drafted' in the early seventies; much of its material is reprinted from eight articles he published between 1ยข8 and 1977. Though useful in some ways, these pieces are hardly impressive enough to deserve republication in book form. The author suggests that his monograph is a response to a felt need in that 'the past individual editions of the riddles ... are now all sixty or more years old' (p xi). This was true in 1975, but not today. Whitman can be excused for missing Helga Gobel's Stlldien ZII den a/tenglischen Schriftwesenriitseln [Episternata, (Literaturwissenschaft vii, 1980) Wiirzburg: Konigshausen & Neumann], but not Craig Williamson's acclaimed edition of The Old English Riddles of the HUMANITIES 405 Exeter Book (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press 1977), published five years before his own. The first two chapters of Whitman's book have, to the best of my knowledge, not appeared in print before. The first surveys riddle-making and assures us that the practice is old, widespread, and difficult to classify; the second is a general introduction to riddle-collecting, padded out with some two dozen translations from Latin and Old English. Chapter 3, 'Medieval Riddling: Factors Underlying Its Development: appeared in 1970: chapter 4, 'Exegesis and the Old English Riddles: combines a 1969 article with one of 1977. Much of the material in chapter 5, 'Structure and Composition in the Old English Riddles: first appeared in 1973 and again (under a different title) in 1975; the one interesting nugget in chapter 6, 'Latin Influences on the Old English Riddles: seems to be recycled from Notes and Queries, as 213 (1968), 203- 4. The seventh and final chapter sets a few unexceptional pages on 'Riddle Solving' at the head of two articles published in 1968 and 1971 respectively. Whitman's 64-page 'Appendix: consisting of silently emended Old English texts, accompanying prose translations, and a list of solutions, is quite superfluous . Better texts of the riddles are available; translations of some literary distinction have been appearing at regular intervals; and Donald Fry's 'Exeter Book Riddle Solutions: Old English Newsletter, 1511 (1981), 22-33, makes Whitman's one-page index look silly and ill advised. The author's decision that advances in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 404-406
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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