Movement 2: Imagining the plants and metaphorizing the social / Immagini vegetali e metafore del sociale

“Plants have a will of their own”: the construction of botanical metaphors and symbols in the literary garden of (postcolonial) India


This article offers a preliminary investigation of figurative, metaphorical and linguistic aspects of the garden in Indian English fiction. After providing a short introduction to the symbolism of gardens in the colonial and postcolonial periods, and to the image of the garden in Anglophone Indian literature, the focus will be on the novel The Solitude of Emperors by David Davidar (2007), in order to stress the relevance of both specific phytonyms and common names of plants as important linguistic, cultural and textual indicators employed to construct and convey meanings, often in the form of cognitive metaphors. In this light, the postcolonial garden emerges as a cultural site of hybridity and connection with the past. The examination is undertaken through an interdisciplinary approach that follows and adapts the theories and methods of postcolonial studies, stylistics and narratology (e.g. Kövecses 2002; Jeffries and McIntyre 2010; Sorlin 2014).


botanical metaphors; cognitive metaphors; David Davidar; Indian postcolonial garden

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