THE LITERARY HERBARIUM OF JÓZEF IGNACY KRASZEWSKI'S 'AN OLD TALE'
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In his historical novel 'An Old Tale' Józef Ignacy Kraszewski compiles an intriguing literary herbarium. Next to a number of quite unremarkable plants his collection includes herbs that can be used to summon magic powers. Among the latter we can find the lovege in all its emblematic glory. His miraculous 'hortus siccus' displays a herb which is believed to bring back the dead to life. Kraszewski selects his botanical specimens with the familiarity of their peculiar functions, ie. ceremonial (eg. motherwort, tancy, sundew, mullein), medicinal (eg. plantain), prophetic, or downright utilitarian (thyme, savory). It seems that the herbs from the literary 'hortulus' of 'An Old Tale' arrange themselves in a well-ordered cluster of functionally consistent motifs.
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