Creative memory is the dominant feature in the writing process of Nabokov’s prose in general, and that of the novel The Gift in particular. Mnemosyna in Nabokov’s word has many faces, such as memory concrete, creative recollection, mystic-transcendental as well as cultural-reminiscential memory. The concrete memory of an event produces the illusion of lifelikeness; the rest of Mnemosyna’s hypostases weave a magic fabric of artistic endeavour. It can be observed in the specific style of Nabokov’s prose: loyalty to reality of life blended organically with fantasy and irrational-transcendental epiphanies of the artist-demiurge.
This paper focuses on a forgotten Hungarian author's forgotten novel. Zsigmond Justh's Mûvész szerelem [Artist's Love] was published in 1888 and considered to be a “styleroman”, because a number of artistic styles meet in the landscapes it depicts, involving the basic changes in literature from realism to imressionism, Art Nouveau, symbolism, and naturalism. This study examines these descriptive parts of the novel because they provide a peculiar type of self-reflection. The analysis starts with the description of a character's appearence which can be conceived as a narrative representation of portraiture. Then two narrated landscapes reflecting on their own compositions are examined. The aim of the paper is to establish that most of the descriptive parts have the same function in the novel: they denaturalize the spectacle, representing a created visual structure which refers to the text itself, and builts on a narrative mechanism disavowing the realistic illusion. Finally, the analysis concludes that description can be regarded as mise en abyme in the novel because the descriptive parts illustrate the priority of the artist's subjectivity in art just as the whole novel realises this aesthetical idea as well.
The conception of Renaissance as a specific artistic style and cultural epoch is remarkably young: it has been developped in the trend-setting circles of Paris around 1820–1830 – the French word is keeping the memory of this origin – and spread to other languages in the following years. There is a close connection between this historiographic concept and the development of Neorenaissance architecture from the 1830s onwards. In the years around 1840, Parisian domestic architecture and interior decoration were reviving the magnificent French culture of the reign of François I whereas the first renaissance of Italian Renaissance architecture emerged in Dresden. Particularly, the public and private buildings planned by Gottfried Semper (First Hoftheater, Dresden Gallery, Villa Rosa) were the decisive models for the establishment of the Neorenaissance system in German architecture. In Berlin, neoclassical tradition was continued by the Schinkel school into the second half of the 19th century, but in the years around 1870 the architects of the new capital of imperial Germany took up the Neorenaissance style in a general way. That's why the young Budapest architects who studied in Berlin took over the new architectural system and applied it systematically to the massive extension of the capital of Hungary realized in the 1870s. By this way, Budapest turned into the purest model of Neorenaissance urban architecture still existing in Europe.