Mozart &
Material Culture

Souvenirs

All of these uses of the word souvenir take as their basic meaning the French souvenir, representing memory, a multifaceted concept explained in Diderot and D’Alembert’s Encyclopédie as represented by four related words: mémoire, souvenir, ressouvenir and réminiscence:

These four words express equally the repeated attention of the mind to ideas it has already perceived. But the different nuances attached to this general idea … gives these words distinctive meanings… Mémoire and souvenir express the attention of the mind to ideas it does not forget, although those ideas no longer occupy it: the ideas have made permanent impressions; one casts a glance at them by choice, it is an action of the will … Mémoire however is concerned only with the ideas of the mind; it is the action of a faculty subordinated to intelligence, it seeks to enlighten. Souvenir, on the other hand, is concerned with ideas that interest the heart; it is the action of a faculty necessary to the sensibility of the soul, it seeks to arouse.Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert, Encyclopédie our Dictionaire Raisonné des Science, des Arts et des Métiers (Paris, 1751), title page

Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert, Encyclopédie our Dictionaire Raisonné des Science, des Arts et des Métiers (Paris, 1751), title page