Guddicks: Traditional Riddles from Shetland Hardcover – 30 Nov 2013
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Guddicks - Traditional Riddles from Shetland - offers diverse, informative and often humorous insight into traditional life in Shetland's past. The book is packed with oral testimony from Shetlander's themselves, many born in the late 1890s, describing a bygone era and a largely self-sufficient way of life. A closer look at riddles and the cultural context in which they originated, gives the reader a unique opportunity to explore in detail a wealth of traditions, from agriculture, animal husbandry and fishing, to spinning, weaving, knitting, basketry and many other crafts. Amy Lightfoot is an ethnographer and artist who has spent a lifetime doing documentary studies of the maritime culture of the North Atlantic, in particular coastal Norway and Shetland. She was born in the United States and has lived on an island in Norway for more than 30 years. Laurie Goodlad was born and brought up in Shetland and works as Collections Assistant at the Shetland Museum. With a personal interest in Folk Life, she has collected and collated guddicks (riddles) to save them for posterity.
Top Customer Reviews
Shetland was a very hard place to live before the blessed arrival of the twentieth century and some oil money: no natural resources; no trees; poor soil; hardly any sunshine etc. Electricity only arrived in the 1950s.
Many of the people emigrated or joined the Merchant Navy and armed forces (Shetland had the highest proportion of deaths in WW1 of any county).
This book shows what it was like from the inside. On a factual base there is a sort of "way in" via the wordplay of riddles they used to ask each other. Riddles and illustrations allow a succession of serious topics such as agriculture, to be addressed without turning the book into a dry academic study.
This is fascinating, showing both how an almost medieval lifestyle worked and how the people lived it.
It is, after all, how the people from this now extinct way of life lived into the modern world that interests us. For example, one of my relatives emigrated to Chicago and his letter back caused amazement at "the Croft" because it had a four-digit street number.
Should be read by anyone with an interest in Shetland or Crofting or anyone trying to glamorize the "good old days".
I would love to see a further volume on personal relations, marriage, emigration etc.