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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Nabokov’s Synesthetic Alphabet

The synesthete experiences a transliteration of the senses — a number or letter or music note or day of the week are rendered in color in their mind’s eye. The writings of Virginia Woolf, Dylan Thomas, James Joyce, William Faulkner, and Charles Baudelaire embodied synesthesia.

Vladimir Nabokov writes of his “fine case of colored hearing” and describes his own Moses Harris color wheel of the alphabet:
Perhaps “hearing” is not quite accurate, since the color sensation seems to be produced by the very act of my orally forming a given letter while I imagine its outline. The long a of the English alphabet (and it is this alphabet I have in mind farther on unless otherwise stated) has for me the tint of weathered wood, but a French a evokes polished ebony. This black group also includes hard g(vulcanized rubber) and r (a sooty rag being ripped)...  Read more 

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