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«The Riddle of Creation»

Metaphor Structures in Old English Poetry


Ruth C. Wehlau

The Creation is one of the most important themes in Old English poetry. The Riddle of Creation approaches the Creation through its metaphors, focussing especially on images relating to architecture and the body. These are shown to form organized structures extending throughout the poetry, structures which are ironically inverted in the Exeter Book riddles. Overall, these metaphors reveal not only Anglo-Saxon notions about the created world, but fundamental concepts about the nature of poetic creation as well.