The Curious History of the Riddle

Solve over 250 Riddles, from the Riddle of the Sphinx to Harry Potter

The Curious History of the Riddle
$19.99 / £14.99
Format: Paperback / softback, 152 Pages
ISBN: 9781577151982
Publisher: Wellfleet Press
Series: Puzzlecraft
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The Curious History of the Riddle investigates the fascinating origin and history of the riddle, from the very first riddle (the Riddle of the Sphinx) to the twenty-first century, with riddles found in pop culture, including movies (Us), television shows (Game of Thrones) video games, and escape rooms.

Riddles are ageless, timeless, and so common that we hardly ever reflect upon what they are and how they originated. Most importantly, their invention helped in the development of lateral thinking, the form of thinking that is the foundation of all kinds of discoveries, from mathematics to science and beyond. In The Curious History of the Riddle, puzzle expert Marcel Danesi delves deep into the riddle's origin and history and covers these fascinating topics:
1. The Riddle of the Sphinx: Origins, Legends, Patterns
What creature walks on all fours at dawn, two at midday, and three at twilight? (answer: man)

2. The Greek Anthology and the Exeter Book: Medieval Views and Uses of Riddles
This chapter looks at the spread of the riddle in recreational and educational contexts.

3. The Merry Book of Riddles: Riddles in the Renaissance
By the late Renaissance, riddles were being tailored more and more to produce humorous or whimsical effects.

4. Enigmas, Charades, and Conundrums: Riddles from the 1600s to the Twentieth Century
After the Renaissance, riddles had become virtually every literate European person’s favorite form of recreation, and were included as regular features of many newspapers and periodicals

5. The Twentieth Century: Riddles as Children’s Literature
In the twentieth century, riddles became specialized for children, spreading throughout children’s literature and educational manuals.

6. The Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries: Riddles Go to the Movies and Online
In this chapter, the focus is on riddles in various entertainment media, from best-selling novels such as Harry Potter, to movies, such as the Batman series.

7. Connections: Riddles and Rebuses
This chapter explores the structure of rebuses as visual riddles, connecting them historically. 

Part history book, part puzzle book, The Curious History of the Riddle is fully illustrated with over 200 riddles interspersed throughout the text for solving.

The Puzzlecraft series from Wellfleet Press tackles some of the greatest conundrums of our time. Learn how to navigate the world’s trickiest mazes, solve the most complex crosswords, and finally get the answer to “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” Follow literature’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, as he guides you through hundreds of challenging cross-fitness brain exercises inspired by his most popular cases and adventures. You can also train your memory to perform better and learn the meanings behind your own personality traits or the traits of others. These handy and portable paperbacks are sized perfectly to travel, whether on vacation or just for your daily commute. The intricately designed covers and bold colors will capture your attention as much as the engaging content inside.
Other titles in the series include: The Curious History of Mazes; The Curious History of the Crossword; Escape from Sherlock Holmes; Sherlock Holmes Puzzles: Code Breakers; Sherlock Holmes Puzzles: Math & Logic Games; Sherlock Holmes Puzzles: Visual Puzzles; Sherlock Holmes Puzzles: Lateral Brain Teasers; Solving Sherlock Homes; Solving Sherlock Holmes Volume II; Maximize Your Memory; and The Book of Personality Tests.

The author

Marcel Danesi is a professor at the University of Toronto. He has written extensively about puzzles, including this trilogy published by Harlequin Books: Total Brain WorkoutExtreme Brain Workout, and Complete Brain Workout. He also creates puzzles for the Toronto Star’s “That’s Puzzling” weekend supplement and he composes brainteasers for the Canadian edition of Reader’s Digest. In addition, he writes a puzzle blog for Psychology Today. He has also published academic books on puzzles: The Puzzle Instinct: The Meaning of Puzzles in Human Life and The Liar Paradox and the Towers of Hanoi: The Ten Greatest Math Puzzles of All Time. He appears frequently on major media, such as CBC and NPR, to discuss puzzles and their meaning for brain health. He has founded a research center at the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences to explore the use of puzzles in education.

Reader reviews


Format: Paperback / softback, 152 Pages
ISBN: 9781577151982
Illustrations: 100
Size: 7.44 in x 8.5 in / 188.98 mm x 215.9 mm

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