Books: Riddles Ancient and Modern: by Mark Bryant

RIDDLES ANCIENT AND MODERN by Mark Bryant Peter Bedrick; 207 pages; $15.95

When one does not know what it is, then it is something; but when one knows what it is, then it is nothing." What is it? Answer: A riddle.

These somethings that become nothing are the focus of a sparkling, if obsessive, study by British Freelance Writer Mark Bryant. "It may come as some surprise to those who have only encountered riddles in the guise of jokes," he notes defensively, "that this skittish footnote to the austere chronicles of our folk-culture heritage has itself an ancient and learned history." As...

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