In A Feast of Creatures, Craig Williamson recasts nearly one hundred Old English riddles of the Exeter Book into a modern verse mode that yokes the cadences of Aelfric with the sprung rhythm of Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Like the early English riddlers before him, Williamson gives voice to the nightingale, plow, ox, phallic onion, and storm-wind. In lean and taut language he offers us mead disguised as a mighty wrestler, the sword as a celibate thane, the silver wine-cup as a seductress, the horn transformed from head-warrior to ink-belly or battle-singer. In his notes and commentary he gives us possible and probable solutions, sources, and analogues, a shrewd sense of literary play, and traces the literary and cultural contexts in which each riddle may be viewed. In his introduction, Williamson traces for us the history of riddles and riddle scholarship.