Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 2564
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Hill , Thomas D.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: The Old English Dough Riddle and the Power of Women's Magic: The Traditional Context of Exeter Book Riddle No. 45
  • Source: Old English Newsletter 29, 3 (Spring 1996):
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Conference Paper Abstract
  • Subject (See Also): Literature- Verse Magic Riddles, Literary Genre
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 8-9
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  • Abstract: The Old English dough riddle has long been thought a bit of amusing double entendre, and there has been some discussion of it in the context of Old English social history, but for the most part this riddle has been appreciated as funny but otherwise ignored. This paper is concerned with the literary history of the riddle - with situating it in relationship to a "wanton" girl's game attested in early modem England known as "molding cocklety bread," and with erotic dough magic described in the "Corrector" of Burchard of Worms (1008 A.D.). These analogues, which have not been previously noted, allow us to understand the literary context of the Old English dough riddle with more assurance, and to speculate about traditional Anglo-Saxon women's magic, a subject as fascinating as it is obscure [Reproduced by permission of Robert Schicler, the “Abstracts of Papers in Anglo-Saxon Studies” editor, and the editors of the “Old English Newsletter.”].
  • Author's Affiliation: Cornell University
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1996.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00301973
  • Material/Technique :
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