9781577151982

The Curious History of the Riddle

From the first known riddle to the riddles in today's pop culture, The Curious History of the Riddle provides a comprehensive investigation of the riddle and its origins—plus over 250 riddles to solve.

Part history book, part puzzle book, The Curious History of the Riddle is fully illustrated with over 250 riddles interspersed throughout the text for solving, so get ready to put on your thinking cap!

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, books, and video games. 


Riddles are ageless, timeless, and so common that we hardly ever reflect upon what they are and how they originated. Riddles come in all languages and from all eras of human history, making them a truly “curious” history. In The Curious History of the Riddle, puzzle expert Marcel Danesi delves deep into the riddle's origin and offers a concise snapshot of riddles throughout time—from the Riddle of the Sphinx, to the riddles in Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack and Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, to those found in the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings book series, and much more—covering these fascinating topics:
  • Ancient riddles
  • Medieval riddles
  • Riddles in the Renaissance
  • Riddles as part of leisure culture
  • Riddles in literature
  • Riddles in popular culture
  • Rebuses as visual riddles