Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2289-1882

Date of Award

8-11-2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Edward J. Christie

Second Advisor

Dr. John Burrison

Third Advisor

Dr. Tanya Caldwell

Abstract

Within the Anglo-Saxon corpus, birds play a prominent role in religious poetry, acting as characters that reflect the values of the author as they pertain to God and Christianity. In the Exeter Book Riddles and Aldhelm’s Enigmata, birds act as metaphors, guiding readers in living a Christian life through a variety of folkloric and Biblical ways, though the descriptions and meanings inherent within each collection vary immensely. Aldhelm’s riddles celebrate God and his power of creation, using birds as a vehicle for expressing a valuation of nature even while educating readers on the key points of living a heaven-facing life. I argue herein the Exeter Riddle Poet expresses the same value for nature and creation, but superimposes clothing language on select birds, which suggests a fascination with humanity’s creative power as a gift from God.

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