Vol 1 No 2 (2021)
Research Article

Exhaustion and Recycling: The Figures of the Danaids in Babits, Nietzsche, Freud, and Proust

Attila Simon
Department of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Eötvös Loránd University, Múzeum krt. 4/A, 1088 Budapest, Hungary
Published December 20, 2021
  • Danaids,
  • Mihály Babits,
  • Friedrich Nietzsche,
  • Sigmund Freud,
  • Marcel Proust,
  • modernism,
  • classical reception,
  • reinvention of myth,
  • classical literary tradition,
  • history,
  • psychoanalysis,
  • technology and communication
  • ...More
How to Cite
Simon, Attila. 2021. “Exhaustion and Recycling”. Central European Cultures 1 (2), 84-118. https://doi.org/10.47075/CEC.2021-2.04.


This paper examines the works of representative modernist authors who have rewritten the myth of the Danaids in a self-reflective way. They reuse certain elements of the myth in order to address some of the crucial issues of cultural transmission: interpretation, poetic tradition and communication. The argument focuses on the recycling of the myth of the Danaids as a symbol of endless historical-philological (Nietzsche) and psychological (Freud) interpretations, the exhaustion and the reinvention of the classical literary tradition (Babits), and the impossible possibility of mediating the living voice through telephonic communication (Proust).