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The Wanderer: Elegies, Epics, Riddles PDF, ePub eBook Part of a new series Legends from the Ancient North, The Wanderer tells the classic tales that influenced JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings This book contains the edition and translations of elegies: The Wanderer, The seafarer, The Wife's Complaint, The Husband's Message, Wulf and Eadwacer, gnomic verses, riddles, and minor epics. 'So the company of men led a Part of a new series Legends from the Ancient North, The Wanderer tells the classic tales that influenced JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings This book contains the edition and translations of elegies: The Wanderer, The seafarer, The Wife's Complaint, The Husband's Message, Wulf and Eadwacer, gnomic verses, riddles, and minor epics. 'So the company of men led a careless life, All was well with them: until One began To encompass evil, an enemy from hell. Grendel they called this cruel spirit...' J.R.R. Tolkien spent much of his life studying, translating and teaching the great epic stories of northern Europe, filled with heroes, dragons, trolls, dwarves and magic. He was hugely influential for his advocacy of Beowulf as a great work of literature and, even if he had never written The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, would be recognised today as a significant figure in the rediscovery of these extraordinary tales. Legends from the Ancient North brings together from Penguin Classics five of the key works behind Tolkien's fiction.They are startling, brutal, strange pieces of writing, with an elemental power brilliantly preserved in these translations.They plunge the reader into a world of treachery, quests, chivalry, trials of strength.They are the most ancient narratives that exist from northern Europe and bring us as near as we will ever get to the origins of the magical landscape of Middle-earth (Midgard) which Tolkien remade in the 20th century.

30 review for The Wanderer: Elegies, Epics, Riddles

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tin

    the commentary was delightfully informative. my copy has a little orange sticker on the cover, hailing the anglo-saxon poetry within as tolkien's inspiration for lotr/the hobbit. while i can see that, i mostly got a lot of skyrim feels. really glad i've exposed myself to anglo-saxon poetry, as i am now obsessed with their alliteration and abundance of double-barrelled words.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ben Loory

    Great book, though I can't solve a riddle to save my life

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris Schaeffer

    I remember lying on my coach reading the gnomic poems in this collection, waiting for a friend of mine to arrive. It was a few days after a heavy snowstorm, so his coming over was a pretty charitable effort. At about the same time as I heard him knock, I saw a small thrush alight on a phone wire outside my window, barely intelligible as a form through the frost. It was a really nice moment. My heater would shit out on me several days later, but for then I was pretty much content as I'll ever be. I remember lying on my coach reading the gnomic poems in this collection, waiting for a friend of mine to arrive. It was a few days after a heavy snowstorm, so his coming over was a pretty charitable effort. At about the same time as I heard him knock, I saw a small thrush alight on a phone wire outside my window, barely intelligible as a form through the frost. It was a really nice moment. My heater would shit out on me several days later, but for then I was pretty much content as I'll ever be. This anthology is a bit old, so some of the scholarship is outdated.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    A collection I’ve returned to again and again over the years. (Amazon informs me that I ordered this at the beginning of 2007!) Good translations, and a good variety of selections from the corpus of Anglo-Saxon literature, including the Exeter Book riddles, The Wanderer, The Seafarer, Brunanburh, The Dream of the Rood, and some small excerpts from Beowulf. If I could improve the anthology at all, I’d include more religious poetry (seriously—the Anglo-Saxon Genesis is like John Milton after six m A collection I’ve returned to again and again over the years. (Amazon informs me that I ordered this at the beginning of 2007!) Good translations, and a good variety of selections from the corpus of Anglo-Saxon literature, including the Exeter Book riddles, The Wanderer, The Seafarer, Brunanburh, The Dream of the Rood, and some small excerpts from Beowulf. If I could improve the anthology at all, I’d include more religious poetry (seriously—the Anglo-Saxon Genesis is like John Milton after six months in the gym). Alexander’s notes and introductions to each selection are excellent.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    This anthology of poems from the Anglo-Saxons stands as testament to the artistic achievement of the Germanic people. I find that the translator, Michael Alexander, was correct in his belief that modernity seems to have looked over the contributions of Germanic culture in favor of Mediterranean ones. Of the selections he included my favorites would be "The Wanderer", "The Seafarer", The Gnomic Verses, "The Dream of the Rood", and "The Battle of Maldon". In both the Gnomic Verses and "The Dream o This anthology of poems from the Anglo-Saxons stands as testament to the artistic achievement of the Germanic people. I find that the translator, Michael Alexander, was correct in his belief that modernity seems to have looked over the contributions of Germanic culture in favor of Mediterranean ones. Of the selections he included my favorites would be "The Wanderer", "The Seafarer", The Gnomic Verses, "The Dream of the Rood", and "The Battle of Maldon". In both the Gnomic Verses and "The Dream of the Rood" it is interesting to see pagan elements within them, despite the fact the latter is a Christian poem. In "The Battle of Maldon" the spirit and strain of the ancient Germanic heroic tradition can still be found.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Alexander makes accessible poems that cannot be understood by native speakers of modern English without significant time and effort. Poems that nevertheless form the foundation of poetry in English and provide a window on the Anglo-Saxon world, its history, culture and values. This collection, despite its modest size, shows the range of modes and interests of Anglo-Saxon verse. Fragments such as The Battle of Maldon also make me wonder how much great literature has been lost irretreivably - a sa Alexander makes accessible poems that cannot be understood by native speakers of modern English without significant time and effort. Poems that nevertheless form the foundation of poetry in English and provide a window on the Anglo-Saxon world, its history, culture and values. This collection, despite its modest size, shows the range of modes and interests of Anglo-Saxon verse. Fragments such as The Battle of Maldon also make me wonder how much great literature has been lost irretreivably - a sad thought.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lotte

    Very interesting collection of translated Anglo-Saxon poetry. The introductions and the general 'about this poem' sections are good and thorough, but boy, I so often didn't understand a word the writer was saying. Perhaps that's because it was originally published in the 60s, but I feel like this was written for an already academic audience, rather than the general public. Still, really good and interesting when you're interested in Anglo-Saxon literature!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jaycee Bond

    Read Beowulf, The Wanderer, and The Seafarer for school

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    Brilliant collection of Anglo Saxon lore, legend, and fragments of what might-have-been. So much of this world is irrecoverably lost, yet enough remains to tease us into the awareness of a powerful liteature...the litearture Tolkein must have experienced when he began writing his own books, deep under the spell of this language. Though only a small anthology of works, it includes many of the high water marks of Anglo Saxon thought, such as "The Wanderer," "The Seafarer," "The Ruin," the Exeter B Brilliant collection of Anglo Saxon lore, legend, and fragments of what might-have-been. So much of this world is irrecoverably lost, yet enough remains to tease us into the awareness of a powerful liteature...the litearture Tolkein must have experienced when he began writing his own books, deep under the spell of this language. Though only a small anthology of works, it includes many of the high water marks of Anglo Saxon thought, such as "The Wanderer," "The Seafarer," "The Ruin," the Exeter Book Riddles, and "The Battle of Maldon." The themes that appear again and again are the relentless savagery of fate, the inability of men to create a lasting legacy, and the courage of those few men who do great deeds in spite of these realities. As "The Wanderer" laments: "Where is that horse now? Where are those men? Where is/the hoard-sharer?/Where is teh house of the feast Where is the hall's uproar?/Alas, bright cup! Alas, burnished fighter!/Alas, proud prince! How that time has passed,/dark under night's healm, as though it had never been!" It sounds like more than an echo of Keats, though in this case Keats is the echo, close to a thousand years later, breathing the same forlorn sentiments. Where does beauty go to hide? Where are our memories, our glory, our youth? Only in the lines of a poem, a faithful keep for bright words to keep them safe throughout the ages, even after the lord and his language is lost.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    How do you review a book of Anglo-Saxon poetry? The poems are what they are, as long as the translations are more or less readable. The quality of the book comes down to the supporting materials (introductions and notes) in the edition, which in this case are excellent. One can also point to the quality of the selection, which again is excellent: The Wanderer, Caedmon's Hymn, a selection of shorter verses and riddles, pretty much everything except Beowulf. The only possible quibble is that the t How do you review a book of Anglo-Saxon poetry? The poems are what they are, as long as the translations are more or less readable. The quality of the book comes down to the supporting materials (introductions and notes) in the edition, which in this case are excellent. One can also point to the quality of the selection, which again is excellent: The Wanderer, Caedmon's Hymn, a selection of shorter verses and riddles, pretty much everything except Beowulf. The only possible quibble is that the translations, though clear and very readable, don't rise to the level of Seamus Heaney's Beowulf or W.S. Merwin's Sir Gawain. That's not a fair comparison,though, and is a very minor quibble.  There are more than enough rings, swords, feasts, and lords to keep any Tolkien fan happy, and I would gladly recommend this collection to anyone wanting to get a little insight into Tolkien's imagination. 

  11. 5 out of 5

    Hayley

    This may sound strange, but I actually got a little teary-eyed after reading "Dream of the Rood". I am a big fan of Anglo-Saxon literature, and I enjoyed "Wanderer" and "The Seafarer" as well, but "The Dream of the Rood" definitely left a big impression on me. Amazing work of literature.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    So much battle and mead drinking. That's basically the entirety of this little collection, but a worth while read. These poems are perfect for anyone interested in the social, economic, and political atmosphere of Britain after the fall of Rome. This was an age of heroes and clans and mead drinking and weaving stories long into the night. I followed the translator's advice when I could and read many of these poem's aloud, and the cadence is amazing. The lilting aspect to each poem is beautiful a So much battle and mead drinking. That's basically the entirety of this little collection, but a worth while read. These poems are perfect for anyone interested in the social, economic, and political atmosphere of Britain after the fall of Rome. This was an age of heroes and clans and mead drinking and weaving stories long into the night. I followed the translator's advice when I could and read many of these poem's aloud, and the cadence is amazing. The lilting aspect to each poem is beautiful and truly brings you back to a time when bards would stand in the center of a hall and tell these stories. Each poem is more than just fancy, but exemplifies the strength of a clan, the fierce loyalty among those under a liege-lord, of the uncertain world in which they lived that was fraught with battle and blood shed. And for such a simple language, there were phrases of utmost beauty mixed with the lines of each poem. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading these poems. "That went by, this may too"

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kylee Ehmann

    There's a lot to like in Old English poetry (especially this translation). It's really dark and full of monsters and lamentations, but it also has these beautiful metaphors that come from the direct translation (Vikings are sea-wolves! That's metal!). I also appreciated there were a couple poems included that focused on women, even if they were women mourning men in some capacity. Each poem is preceded by an explanation about its inclusion, the historical context, its structure--all of which is There's a lot to like in Old English poetry (especially this translation). It's really dark and full of monsters and lamentations, but it also has these beautiful metaphors that come from the direct translation (Vikings are sea-wolves! That's metal!). I also appreciated there were a couple poems included that focused on women, even if they were women mourning men in some capacity. Each poem is preceded by an explanation about its inclusion, the historical context, its structure--all of which is very helpful. The thing I did not like about this book is that there are about 20 pages of riddles. I don't like modern riddles, and I sure as hell don't like riddles from over 1,000 years ago where I don't have the cultural context to even begin to guess at what the author is talking about (how, pray tell, is one supposed to guess that the answer is a "one-eyed garlic seller"?). But if you're interested in wetting your feet in Anglo-Saxon literature, this isn't a bad place to start.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carl

    I didn't actually read this book, but I read poems in this book, so I'm going to use it to talk about what I read. The Dream of the Rood - A wonderfully creative poem about a conversation between the author and the cross. It is full of bizarre yet creative imagery and a delight. Judith - A mini-epic about the eponymous heroine this poem is action packed, clever, and a great legend. I definitely enjoyed it, especially the dramatic scene of Judith beheading the Assyrian king. However, there is a rel I didn't actually read this book, but I read poems in this book, so I'm going to use it to talk about what I read. The Dream of the Rood - A wonderfully creative poem about a conversation between the author and the cross. It is full of bizarre yet creative imagery and a delight. Judith - A mini-epic about the eponymous heroine this poem is action packed, clever, and a great legend. I definitely enjoyed it, especially the dramatic scene of Judith beheading the Assyrian king. However, there is a reliance of the deadly seductress stereotype, it is the conceit of the story after all. The Wanderer - This poem, or elegy, is very sad, melancholy, but also deep and thoughtful. The Seafarer - I love Anglo-Saxon elegies, and the Seafarer is an excellent example of the genre. I love the cold, stark and hard imagery evoked by the alliteration.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Morgen

    Honestly much duller than the Poetic Edda translation from the series. However, I think that is more of a matter of material than translation. This book provides a cursory introduction to Anglo-Saxon poetry, but it is too short, and most of the poems are not particularly interesting. The riddles are actually quite a bit of fun, but I wish the editor decided to include more of them (as well as more of the Exeter Book for educational purposes).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    The content is, of course, five-star. I would have preferred a facing page translation and more detailed notes, but many readers may not desire those. This book offers a nice selection of poems to have between two covers and the editor/translator does a good job organizing them into a thematically pleasant arrangement. I do wonder why he thought his readers would have such difficulty grasping the concept of poetic understatement; his repeated notes to point it out got a bit annoying.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    Particularly worth reading for the elegant and interesting (if not terribly) rigorous introduction that is far more interested in the works as poems than as historical artefacts. He is particularly clear on his principals of translation which add an additionally level of interest to the reading of the poems. Would recommend to those with an interest in translation or in the Anglo-Saxons.

  18. 5 out of 5

    nxth

    Short and concise. I bought the book on the premise that the poems and works which are analysed were of some influence to Tolkien. As I'm not a History/Literary academic, the brief summaries of what the poem's or riddle's entails was a nice side note to have rather than having to decipher for yourself, which, given how the older folk use to write, is difficult at times!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Travis

    I don’t want to gush too much about this, but it’s a fascinating collection, and short, too. Very happy to have read it. I’m suddenly much sadder that so much early literature has been destroyed by fire.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ian Chapman

    Interesting poetry, in modern English translation. Favourite: ''The Seafarer'', with ''The Ruin'' as runner up.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Philip Dodd

    I found The Wanderer: Elegies, Epics, Riddles by Michael Alexander to be a very good book, an enjoyable read, and a wonderful introduction to Anglo-Saxon poetry. Years ago I read Michael Alexander's translation of Beowulf, which I enjoyed reading, so I knew I was in safe hands. He includes five extracts from his translation into modern English of Beowulf in this collection. Other highlights in the book for me were the two elegies, The Wanderer and The Seafarer, the religious poem, The Dream Of T I found The Wanderer: Elegies, Epics, Riddles by Michael Alexander to be a very good book, an enjoyable read, and a wonderful introduction to Anglo-Saxon poetry. Years ago I read Michael Alexander's translation of Beowulf, which I enjoyed reading, so I knew I was in safe hands. He includes five extracts from his translation into modern English of Beowulf in this collection. Other highlights in the book for me were the two elegies, The Wanderer and The Seafarer, the religious poem, The Dream Of The Rood, and the heroic poem, The Battle Of Maldon, which reads not only as a fine poem but also as an authentic work of precise and clear reporting, as if the poet himself was a warrior in the battle. The book is part of a series, called Legends From The Ancient North. The other four books in the series being Beowulf, The Elder Edda, The Saga of the Volsungs and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. "These are the great epic stories that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Conjuring up a twilight world of quests, treachery, magic, evil and fellowship, they are the most ancient narratives from Northern Europe and bring us as near as we will ever get to the origins of Tolkien's Middle Earth." So it says on the back cover of the book. I have always been grateful to J.R.R. Tolkien for inspiring me to read, after enjoying reading his books, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Tree and Leaf, Farmer Giles of Ham, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Smith of Wootton Major in 1968, when I was sixteen years old, to read such works as Beowulf, The Elder Edda, The Kalevala, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Le Morte D'Arthur and the Icelandic sagas. He led me back to the roots of English literature, and for that alone I owe him my thanks. Those readers who, like me, enjoyed reading the chapter called Riddles In The Dark in The Hobbit, in which Bilbo Baggins plays the riddle game with Gollum in the cave near the roots of the Misty Mountains, will find interesting the collection of Anglo-Saxon riddles that Michael Alexander has translated into modern English in his book, complete with the suggested solutions to the riddles in Appendix B. I found his introduction to his book and his notes to the poems stimulating and interesting. It never moved me at all when poets, like Keats or Shelley, summoned Apollo or any of the other Greek or Roman gods and goddesses in their verses, and felt that, perhaps, in some ways, a Classical education had ruined them, made them forget about their roots. It would have seemed more appropriate to me if they had summoned Odin, Thor, Frigga, Njord, Skadi, Freya and Frey in their poetry. I love The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer, but they speak of the south. My heart is more moved and my soul is more stirred by the literature which speaks of the north. I recommend Michael Alexander's book as a fine introduction to the first great works of English literature.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

    Today, I am continuing with my monthly reviews of the series Legends from the Ancient North from Penguin Classics. Last month, I reviewed Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and this month I am reviewing The Wanderer: Elegies, Epics, and Riddles. I had never heard of this title before receiving it in the mail, so I was eager to dive in this book and see what it entailed. The book begins with an introduction on Anglo-Saxon people and verse. There is also a brief lesson on how poetry has changed over Today, I am continuing with my monthly reviews of the series Legends from the Ancient North from Penguin Classics. Last month, I reviewed Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and this month I am reviewing The Wanderer: Elegies, Epics, and Riddles. I had never heard of this title before receiving it in the mail, so I was eager to dive in this book and see what it entailed. The book begins with an introduction on Anglo-Saxon people and verse. There is also a brief lesson on how poetry has changed over the past thousand years. After that is "A Note on the Translation" and several prefaces. I always try to read notes on translations, because when reading a translation of something, you often wonder how accurate it actually is. That is why I enjoyed what the translator, Michael Alexander, wrote when he said, "I have never seen the point of translating verse into anything but verse. 'The harmony of prose' may be useful for a first impression, or for 'the story' of the narrative poem; and it may be that any translation is better than none. But it seems to me that the first aim in translating a living poem from a language which happens to be unknown into one's own language is to produce something with art in it., something which lives." After reading that, I knew the Mr. Alexander would provide us with the best translation he possibly could. There are several types of poetry included in this book, such as elegies, heroic poems, gnomic verses, and riddles. Each section in the book contains an introduction on the type of poetry as well as an introduction on the specific poem. For example, in the heroic poems section, there is a selection from Beowulf. With some of the shorter poems, Mr. Alexander included the original text in Northumbrian. It was fascinating to see, but this bit might only be of interest to true students of Anglo-Saxon poetry. My favorite section of the book was the selection of riddles. I thought I was really good at riddles, but I was honestly stumped by most of these. Thankfully, there was a suggested answers section at the end of the book. I will provide you with an easy one to test your riddle skills: The wave, over the wave, a weird thing I saw, thorough-wrought, and wonderfully ornate: a wonder on the wave - water become bone. This was a fairly interesting read that contained many different types of poems. If you've never read Beowulf, this book provides enough of a selection to entice you to read more, which thankfully you can by the same editor in Legends from the Ancient North series. If you are a lover of poetry and riddles, then you will want to give this book a go. Also, if you are a lover of Tolkien and would like to see some of the works that inspired him, then you will want to read this too!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pilar

    To me, a good book. An interesting verse translation from some pieces of Anglo-Saxon poetry trying to reproduce the stress-pattern and the alliteration of the alliterative verse.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dylan Grant

    Michael Alexander, the translator and compiler of this collection of ancient anglo-saxon poetry, says that his goal with this book is to make anglo-saxon poetry accessible and enjoyable for non-academics, and at this he mostly succeeds. Where he fails is, oddly enough, in the formatting. This is a terribly formatted book. For example, Michael spends a great deal of time in the introduction talking about how to read the poetry correctly, and he say stat there is a mid-line pause in each poem. In Michael Alexander, the translator and compiler of this collection of ancient anglo-saxon poetry, says that his goal with this book is to make anglo-saxon poetry accessible and enjoyable for non-academics, and at this he mostly succeeds. Where he fails is, oddly enough, in the formatting. This is a terribly formatted book. For example, Michael spends a great deal of time in the introduction talking about how to read the poetry correctly, and he say stat there is a mid-line pause in each poem. In most translations of old english poetry that I have seen, they put the mid-line pause formatted right into the poem. Michael doesn't do this and merely asks you to imagine it yourself. This is very difficult, as a mid-line pause seems counter-intuitive to us modern english speakers. Other than that, Michael's recommendation to us in the introduction that we read the poets out loud to get a real sense of their amazing alliteration and vigorous vitality was really helpful and made reading the poems so much fun. It is true that all of these poems were meant to be spoken aloud and not read silently. I had a great deal of enjoyment appreciating the literary accomplishments of my ancestors. Recommended to anyone who likes to read poetry.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    The chief interest in this edition of Old English poetry is in the translation. Michael Alexander took the bold step of not trying to translate the literal sense of the poems into modern English, but to try and preserve both the original form of the poems (alliterative, with each line broken into two half lines) and as much of the original vocabulary as can be retained without destroying the sense completely. And I must say this technique, for the most part, works brilliantly (at least for someo The chief interest in this edition of Old English poetry is in the translation. Michael Alexander took the bold step of not trying to translate the literal sense of the poems into modern English, but to try and preserve both the original form of the poems (alliterative, with each line broken into two half lines) and as much of the original vocabulary as can be retained without destroying the sense completely. And I must say this technique, for the most part, works brilliantly (at least for someone like myself who has some acquaintance with the poems and the language). It works best in the best poem, The Battle of Maldon, which conjures up a real and strong flavour of the original. The choice of verse is perhaps not optimal: myself I would have left out the Riddles and had a bit more Beowulf, but this is really the only quibble. The notes are both extensive and useful, and the introduction clear and informative aboth about the poems and the translator's objectives and techniques. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in Old English or in Anglo-Saxon England generally.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Corbin

    A worthwhile collection to read as an introduction to Anglo-Saxon literature (specifically poetry), especially for the near-complete version of "The Battle of Maldon" (an unsung classic, in my opinion). The only thing keeping it from being a five-star read is its brevity; it could definitely use some more informative notes to the poems, since those unfamiliar with Old English literature will find the information in the collection lacking in key details about the poems (estimated date they were w A worthwhile collection to read as an introduction to Anglo-Saxon literature (specifically poetry), especially for the near-complete version of "The Battle of Maldon" (an unsung classic, in my opinion). The only thing keeping it from being a five-star read is its brevity; it could definitely use some more informative notes to the poems, since those unfamiliar with Old English literature will find the information in the collection lacking in key details about the poems (estimated date they were written, location, manuscripts in which certain poems were found, etc.). Other than the relatively sparse notes, the collection is a smooth read and gives a variety of poetic styles that give the reader a broader idea of what Anglo-Saxon poetry encompasses.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Micaela

    This is a great intro to Old English poetry. The introduction has a helpful guide to meter, pronunciation, and so on, plus a history. There are selections from all the major works, my favorite being selections from the riddles in the Book of Exeter. This is not only a great book for anyone interested in medieval studies and Old English literature in particular, but also a good option for fans of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, both of whom were prominent philologists and reference the style and content This is a great intro to Old English poetry. The introduction has a helpful guide to meter, pronunciation, and so on, plus a history. There are selections from all the major works, my favorite being selections from the riddles in the Book of Exeter. This is not only a great book for anyone interested in medieval studies and Old English literature in particular, but also a good option for fans of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, both of whom were prominent philologists and reference the style and content of these works.

  28. 4 out of 5

    _

    I read this book mostly for the famous elegies "The Ruin," "The Wanderer," and "The Seafarer," the last of which was my favorite poem in high school. The imagery is perfect for autumn: grey skies, icy winds, and ruined cities, seen by those resigned to exile from the fires of home. While the poems about love and war were relatively dull, I found that some of the Exeter Riddles were almost as poetic as the elegies. I wonder if they inspired one of the most famous scenes in The Hobbit.

  29. 4 out of 5

    David Balfour

    These poems are very short and for the most part quite easy to read. Most of them are melancholy meditations on loss, revealing a time and place where life was short and painful and people had a deep appreciation for the simplest things. These poems express a very personal view of a people's intense love of home and hearth, and their profound need to belong.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hunter R.

    I loved the style of the riddles, and I think this is the book that everyone should read: 1. Because it gives mew view on things, the poems are much different than the ones of modern era, or Greek(obviously) 2. Shows different styles of the eras and places. 3. If you are writing anything similar to LOTR then this is for you.

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