Thursday, March 09, 2006

Growing Symbols

I've been struck lately about the use of plants (specifically trees) as symbols in Mythology and Fantasy. I recently picked up a copy of Robert Graves "The White Goddess" at The Strand in Manhattan.

I've been busy lately, so I haven't had time to really start reading it in earnest yet, but I've flipped through it several times. Graves attempts to define a "grammar" of myth. He focuses primarily on the Celtic (and maybe UK-wide) myths and how they descended from the tree-based Germanic mythological tradition.

Graves goes so far as to offer tables and charts indicated the symbolic weight of the various types of trees.

His work has sensitized me to plants in literature. Thinking back, I've noticed that most of the works of fantasy that I've found truly effective have been seeded with plant references throughout.

When I was reading a novel over the weekend, I saw mention of a linden tree as part of the description. Why a linden tree, I wondered. Does it have some special significance? Why not some other type of tree?

Watch for plants (and especially trees) as you're reading this week.

2 comments:

Heather Pagano said...

Question:
What exactly is inflection? Does this term refer to all parts of speech in which a "root" word is modified? Does inflection include modifying infinitives to reflect person and tense of verbs?

KyriosAchilles said...

Quoting Wikipedia's article on inflection:

Inflection or inflexion refers to a modification or marking of a word (or more precisely lexeme) so that it reflects grammatical (i.e. relational) information, such as grammatical gender, tense, or person.