Dezső Kosztolányi published three sonnets (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost) in 1905 with the common title Fasti. This title might serve as an allusion to the work of the roman poet, ovid, who composed a poem on the roman calendar. Kosztolányi’s letters and other writings confirm that he was reading ovid’s poems that year, and it is obvious...that he knew ovid’s Metamorphoses and Fasti as well. It is Kosztolányi’s innovation to connect the most important Christian holidays using the ancient pagan terminus. What is more, the representation of the three feasts does not only resemble the viewpoint of Parnassian poetry, but also ovid’s mode of representation. The Christian elements reappear in a profane context.
One of Dezső Kosztolányi’s early short stories, titled Kifelé (Outward-bound), was published in 1904 in a provincial paper called Szeged és Vidéke. Kosztolányi later included this early piece of writing in a compilation of short stories. In this publication the story was given a new title, namely, Károly apja (Charles’s Father). The...plot centers on two sculptors, father and son, who can be considered representatives of opposing generations. On returning home from Paris, the son realises that his father does not create sculptures any longer but has become addicted to alcohol. Károly (Charles) the younger, who is still enthusiastic about his experiences in the French capital, would do anything to revitalise his father and restore his earlier vigor. Several of Károly junior’s attempts fail until one day he manages to teach his father to ride the bicycle. He assists his father’s escape from hospital and then they cycle together at such a speed that Károly’s father loses control over the vehicle. He finally plummets into the river and drowns. Kosztolányi’s intention when writing the story was – as stated in his correspondence – to highlight the generation gap experience. He did not refer to Ovidius in his correspondence at all, or mention the fact that he was reading Ovidius’s Metamorphoses at the time, whose storyline was very similar. This paper aims to explain how Kosztolányi reshapes classical sources by merging two well-known stories of the famous Roman poet: that of Pygmalion, who gave life to a statue, and that of Daedalus, who was trying to flee with his son, Icarus, on wings. But Kosztolányi does not simply merge these stories, he transforms them instead. Károly junior is, on the one hand, a Pygmalion who is trying very hard to keep his father alive, while his father is gradually turning into a dead statue. On the other hand, he resembles Icarus, who rescues his father from a prison-like life by driving him into the freedom of death.