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Pandanus is a biannual peer-reviewed international journal publishing original research papers in English on nature symbolism in Literature, Art, Myth and Ritual. It has a regional focus on South Asia but welcomes papers from other regions. The journal is the outcome of the Pandanus project, based at the Institute of South and Central Asian Studies, Seminar of Indian Studies, Philosophical Faculty, Charles University in Prague. Pandanus volumes started coming out in 1998 on an annual basis as a result of co-operation between three Universities ... please click here to read the full text of Pandanus Mission Statement.

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Pandanus ’03: Nature Symbols in Literature.
Edited by J. Vacek.
Charles University, Faculty of Arts; Signeta, Praha 2003, 230 pp. + 2 photos.
ISBN 80-902608-9-6


  • 1. V. Zuska, Symbolic meaning as a figure on the background of nature’s horizon

    Poetic texts about and with natural themes employ the symbols primarily referring to nature (products of nature), actually to some fragments or segments of nature, secondarily to culture units in the sense of symbolic meaning as well as in the sense of other symbols. During an aesthetic experience there are oscillations among the strata of meaning, which have as their vanishing point a mental model of nature. A symbol rises up as a figure on the background of the text. The text alone forms a figure on the background of nature in the sense of a mental model formed by series of symbols on the background of unlimited horizon of nature. On the part of the reader the reception of a text with natural symbols results in re-structuralization of the respective mental model of nature, in re-examination of limits between culture and nature, between the self and the environment.

  • 2. P. Michalovič, Nature, ‘the view’ and poetic language

    In his contribution the author tries to outline one of possible solutions of the discrepancy between the uniqueness of an individual view and the universality of any particular language. According to him one solution resides in the poetic language, which is in permanent state of instability. By its nature and function the poetic language is directed at creation of metaphors in the broadest sense and it is exactly through this creation within the framework of relatively closed set of elements of a particular language that the field of signification is extended. As an example for explication of his thesis the author uses the creation of new language designations of colours for the sake of the most accurate approximation of language and seeing.

  • 3. A. Housková, Translating Nature into Images in Spanish America

    The article deals with some recurrent images of colonial and native provenience (the topos of the jungle, garden in the jungle, “the resounding universe”) in the Spanish-American literature and thought of the 20th century (Rivera, Reyes, Arguedas, Paz).

  • 4. P. Holman, Březina’s Galium

    The poetry, the essays and the extensive collected letters (only recently and for the first time published as a whole) of Otokar Březina (* 1868 in Počátky – † 1929 in Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou), leading personality of Czech symbolism, are well-known to the literary and commonly cultural world. Much less known is the poet’s „inexplicable bent“ for Our Lady’s bedstraw (Galium verum Linn.), by the way, a flower also extensively growing in the poet’s favourite places in the West of Moravia. The main aim of this article is to foreshadow the symbolism and the meaning of Galium verum in Březina’s work of art and in his life.

  • 5. O. Lomová, Poems on the Orange Tree: “To Express Feelings through a Thing”

    The article deals with the “yongwu” genre of early medieval Chinese poetry based on symbolic descriptions of things. The genre is introduced in historical perspective and placed within the context of better-known nature poetry. Choosing poems on the orange tree as the most relevant example the symbolism and ways of its expression are demonstrated.

  • 6. Z. Švarcová, Meanings Condensed in Japanese Short Poems

    Symbolic representation of natural phenomena is inseparable from Japanese culture. Most of these symbols are connected to the regular changes of the four seasons and have been cultivated by the art and skill of the Japanese people from the beginning of their cultural history. An example of a “plum tree in bloom” symbolizing the early spring, as it appears in a short poem or tanka at the beginning of the 10th century and in a haiku in the second half of the 18th century suggests that some significant shifts in the meaning of this kind of canonic symbols have been taking place within the period of nine centuries.

  • 7. M. Tirala, The Canon of Four Seasons and the Place Names in Japanese Poetry

    The article deals with the compilation principles and polishing of the vocabulary in lyrical poetry of the imperial Kokinshu anthology, further it is concerned with the ritual and symbolic nature of the formalized place names called utamakura.

  • 8. H. Hříbek, Natural motifs and symbols in oral literature and village arts of Bengal: an ethnobiological approach

    The paper examines natural motifs and symbols in oral literature and village arts of Bengal. Most of the examples are drawn from ballads and visual arts such as embroidery and alpana drawings. The author, inspired in ethnobiology, aims at establishing a link between the natural motifs and symbols, the position of their primary referents in folk taxonomy, their correspondent scientific species or taxa (where possible), and the secondary referents of the symbols.

  • 9. D. Marková, The Motif of the Dog as a Symbol in Hindi New Short Story

    Because of their refusal of all traditions, the New Short Story writers were often blamed for not being Indian. They, however, usually employed symbols to underline their main ideas; this way of depiction is already very Indian. The motif of dog, as it appears in New Short Story, is formally a new and original symbol but due to its negative substance it corresponds to the Hindu tradition and confirms that the New Short Story never broke away from its Indian roots.

  • 10. Tiziana Pontillo - Paola Rossi, Sea-images in pre-Kavya Literature: the relationship between Mahabharata and Pali Buddhist canon occurrences

    A systematic description of the imagery connected with the ocean as it is found in the epic literature (the Mahabharata) in comparison with the Buddhist Pali Canon. Accompanied by a number of examples and a summary table. The topic was presented at the Pandanus ‘02 Seminar.

  • 11. J. Vacek, Nature as Symbolic Code in Old Tamil Love Poetry.

    A basic survey of the Old Tamil symbolic use of nature. It sums up the system of the so-called literary landscapes and the use of nature symbolism in love poetry. On some examples it further shows the minute elaboration of the details of this system including the characteristics of the environment, love situation, acting persons etc. Further the paper deals with the question of designation, use of the individual signs or their neutralisation.

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