Toward a Theory of Anglo-Saxon Humor: Old English Riddles, Poetry, Prose and Illuminations

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“This eloquent, richly detailed book…makes important contributions to the theory of humor and to our understanding of Old English literature by striking a subtle balance between hostile and social functions of humor. This is a book teachers and scholars will cherish for years to come.” -Dr. Nickolas Haydock, University of Puerto Rico


“Professor Risden looks at humor as a means of gaining insights into the culture that produces it, and there is much to be learned about the Anglo-Saxons themselves from this compact little volume.”
-Dr. Mel Storm,
Emporia State University

“Professor Risden anatomizes the comic sensibilities of this people of a bygone age about as well as it can be done under our current state of knowledge.”
Dr. Peter Goodrich,
Northern Michigan University

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Study of Humor and the Consideration of Humor from Times Past
Chapter 1
Towards a Theory of Anglo-Saxon Humor
Chapter 2
Script-based Semantic Theory of Humor and the Old English Riddles
Chapter 3
More on Heroic Humor in Beowulf
Chapter 4
Irony in Beowulf
Chapter 5
Poems of Wisdom and Exile: Humor of the Insider and Outside
Chapter 6
Further Thematic Considerations of Humor in Old English Poetry
Chapter 7
Humor in Some Old English prose Texts
Chapter 8
Anglo-Saxon Visual Heroic Humor
Chapter 8
Teaching Anglo-Saxon Humor
Postscripts: Some Brief Notes on Old Norse and Middle English Humor

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