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For other uses, see Synesthesia (disambiguation).

How someone with synesthesia might perceive certain letters and numbers.

Synesthesia (also spelled synæsthesia or synaesthesia, plural synesthesiae orsynaesthesiae)—from the Ancient Greek σύν (syn), "together," and αἴσθησις (aisthēsis), "sensation"—is a neurologically-based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. known as synesthetes. In one common form of synesthesia, known as grapheme → color synesthesia or color-graphemic synesthesia, letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colored,
[5][6] [1][2][3][4]

People who report such experiences are

while inordinal linguistic

personification, numbers, days of the week and months of the year evoke personalities.

In spatial-

sequence, or number form synesthesia, numbers, months of the year, and/or days of the week elicit precise locations in space (for example, 1980 may be "farther away" than 1990), or may have a (threedimensional) view of a year as a map (clockwise or counterclockwise).
[12] [9][10][11]

Yet another recently

identified type, visual motion → sound synesthesia, involves hearing sounds in response to visual motion and flicker. Over 60 types of synesthesia have been reported by people,
[14] [13]

but only a fraction have

been evaluated by scientific research. intensity

Even within one type, synesthetic perceptions vary in

and people vary in awareness of their synesthetic perceptions.

While cross-sensory metaphors (e.g., "loud shirt," "bitter wind" or "prickly laugh") are sometimes described as "synesthetic," true neurological synesthesia is involuntary. It is estimated that synesthesia could possibly be as prevalent as 1 in 23 persons across its range of variants.

Synesthesia runs

strongly in families, but the precise mode of inheritance has yet to be ascertained. Synesthesia is also sometimes reported by individuals under the influence of psychedelic drugs, after a stroke, during a temporal lobe epilepsy seizure, or as a result of blindness or deafness. Synesthesia that arises from such non-genetic events is referred to as "adventitious synesthesia" to distinguish it from the more common congenital forms of synesthesia. Adventitious synesthesia involving drugs or stroke (but not blindness or deafness) apparently only involves sensory linkings such as sound → vision or touch →

hearing; there are few, if any, reported cases involving culture-based, learned sets such as graphemes, lexemes, days of the week, or months of the year. Although synesthesia was the topic of intensive scientific investigation in the late 1800s and early 1900s, it was largely abandoned by scientific research in the mid-20th century, and has only recently been rediscovered by modern researchers.

Psychological research has demonstrated that synesthetic

experiences can have measurable behavioral consequences, while functional neuroimaging studies have identified differences in patterns of brain activation. Many people with synesthesia use their experiences

to aid in their creative process, and many non-synesthetes have attempted to create works of art that may capture what it is like to experience synesthesia. Psychologists and neuroscientists study synesthesia not only for its inherent interest, but also for the insights it may give into cognitive and perceptual processes that occur in synesthetes and non-synesthetes alike.

Definitional criteria
Although sometimes spoken of as a "neurological condition" synesthesia is not listed in either the DSMIV or the ICD classifications, since it most often does not interfere with normal daily functioning. It has, however, appeared for many years in both Dorland's and Steadman's medical dictionaries. Indeed most synesthetes report that their experiences are neutral, or even pleasant.

Rather, like color

blindness orperfect pitch, synesthesia is a difference in perceptual experience and the term "neurological" simply reflects the brain basis of this perceptual difference (see below for associated cognitive traits). It was once assumed that synesthetic experiences were entirely different from synesthete to synesthete, but recent research has shown that there are underlying similarities that can be observed when large numbers of synesthetes are examined together. For example, sound-color synesthetes, as a group, tend to see lighter colors for higher sounds
[19][21][22] [20]

and grapheme-color synesthetes, as a group, share significant

preferences for the color of each letter (e.g., A tends to be red; O tends to be white or black; S tends to be yellow etc., ). Nonetheless, there are a great number of types of synesthesia, and within each type,

individuals can report differing triggers for their sensations, and differing intensities of experiences. This variety means that defining synesthesia in an individual is difficult, and indeed, the majority of synesthetes are completely unaware that their experiences have a name.

However, despite the differences between

individuals, there are a few common elements that define a true synesthetic experience. Neurologist Richard Cytowic identifies the following diagnostic criteria of synesthesia: 1. Synesthesia is involuntary and automatic.

on a "screen" in front of one's face)." For example. synesthetes report that their experiences can lead to a degree of sensory overload. while most report that the colors are experienced in their "mind's eye" (called "associators"). [19] Though often stereotyped in the popular media as a medical condition or neurological aberration. meaning they often have a sense of "location.e. Later research showed that such stark externalization occurs in a minority of synesthetes. Synesthesia is highly memorable. Synesthetic percepts are consistent and generic (i. although. 5. music. . Synesthesia is laden with affect.2. Some have learned how to apply this gift in daily life and work. [24] It is estimated that approximately one or two per hundred grapheme-color synesthetes are projectors. [edit]Experiences Synesthetes often report that they were unaware their experiences were unusual until they realized other people did not have them.g. and theater. Most synesthetes become aware of their "hidden" and different way of perceiving in their childhood. To the contrary. Most synesthetes report that their experiences are pleasant or neutral. [14] Despite the commonalities which permit definition of the broad phenomenon of synesthesia. This variability was first noticed early on in synesthesia research [23] but has only recently come to be re-appreciated by modern researchers. mental arithmetic. many synesthetes themselves do not perceive their synesthetic experiences as a handicap. the rest are associators. Some grapheme → [24] color synesthetes report that the colors seem to be "projected" out into the world (called "projectors"). Cytowic's early cases included individuals whose synesthesia was frankly projected outside the body (e. while others report feeling as if they had been keeping a secret their entire lives. [14] The automatic and ineffable nature of a synesthetic experience means that the pairing may not seem out of the ordinary. 4. most report it as a gift—an additional "hidden" sense—something they would not want to miss. This involuntary and consistent nature helps define synesthesia as a real experience.. Cytowic and Eagleman [3] differentiate between "localizers" and "non-localizers" to distinguish those synesthetes whose perceptions have a definite sense of spatial quality. individual experiences vary in numerous ways. 3.. synesthetes speak of "looking at" or "going to" a particular place to attend to the experience. simple rather than pictorial). Synesthetic perceptions are spatially extended. in rare cases. as has been documented in interviews with synesthetes on how they discovered synesthesia in their childhood. Refining this concept. but also in more complex creative activities like producing visual art. Synesthetes have used their gift in memorizing names and telephone numbers.

Given the large number of forms of synesthesia. For example. self reports. grapheme → color synesthesia. several types are more common than others. while for others consonants are more strongly colored. While different individuals usually do not report the same colors for all letters and numbers. the way they creatively use their synesthesia in work and daily life. A is likely to be red). In summary. autobiographical notes by synesthetes and interviews show a large variety in types of synesthesia. "I realized that to make an R all I had to do was first write a P and draw a line down from its loop. It's also the only way I can spell. perceiving letters and numbers (collectively called graphemes) as colored would be indicated as grapheme → color synesthesia. [19][21] As a child. about five words around the exact one I'm reading are in color.g. it would be indicated as tone → (color.Additionally. researchers have adopted a convention of indicating the type of synesthesia by using the following notation x → y. [14][25] The descriptions below give some examples of synesthetes' experiences. and show perceptual enhancement on the perceptual tasks described below. studies with large numbers of synesthetes find some commonalities across letters (e. awareness of the difference in perceiving the physical world from other people. an 'e' was out of place in that word because e's were yellow and didn't fit. Similarly." [edit]Sound [26] → color synesthesia . are "shaded" or "tinged" with a color. some grapheme → color synesthetes report that they experience their colors strongly. intensity of the synesthetic perceptions. In elementary school I remember knowing how to spell the word 'priority' [with an "i" rather than an "e"] because . Some synesthetes [19] report that vowels are more strongly colored. where x is the "inducer" or trigger experience. And I was so surprised that I could turn a yellow letter into an orange letter just by adding a line.. individual letters of the alphabet and numbers (collectively referred to as graphemes). when synesthetes see colors and movement as a result of hearing musical tones.. "When I read. and y is the "concurrent" or additional experience." Another grapheme synesthete says. [edit]Various forms Synesthesia can occur between nearly any two senses or perceptual modes. but do not exhaust their rich variety. movement) synesthesia. while others (perhaps the majority) do not. Pat Duffy told her Dad. While nearly every logically possible combination of experiences can occur.. [edit]Grapheme → color synesthesia Main article: Grapheme-color synesthesia In one of the most common forms of synesthesia. which have been experimentally tested. [15] perhaps due to differences in the stage at which colors are evoked.

From Wednesday is Indigo Blue[3] Note this example's upside-down clock face.. [edit]Number form synesthesia Main article: Number form A number form from one of Francis Galton's subjects. both groups say that loud tones are brighter than soft tones and that lower tones are darker than higher tones. For example. [27] Later research has identified them as a . and then fade when the sound stimulus ends. for whom music produces waving lines "like oscilloscope configurations—lines moving in color. often metallic with height. [3] For some. a wide variety of sounds triggers synesthesia. width and.g.Cytowic calls sound → color synesthesia "something like fireworks": voice. move around. Sound often changes the perceived hue. Number forms were first documented and named by Francis Galton in "The Visions of Sane Persons". music." [3] Individuals rarely agree on what color a given sound is (composers Liszt and Rimsky-Korsakov famously disagreed on the colors of music keys). synesthetes show the same trends as non-synesthetes do. most importantly. music only. however. Deni Simon. and directional movement. My favorite music has lines that extend horizontally beyond the 'screen' area. Some individuals see music on a "screen" in front of their face. or even just a specific musical key). the stimulus type is limited (e. depth. brightness. [9] Note how the first 12 digits correspond to a clock face. which automatically and involuntarily appears whenever someone who experiences number-forms thinks of numbers. A number form is a mental map of numbers. scintillation. and assorted environmental sounds such as clattering dishes or dog barks trigger color and simple shapes that arise. for others.

/n/ and /s/ trigger James Wannerton‘s taste of mince) although others have less obvious roots (e. According to James Wannerton. days. [32][33] For example. Conversely. [7] [edit]Lexical → gustatory synesthesia Main article: Lexical-gustatory synesthesia In the rare lexical → gustatory synesthesia. [28][29] [10][11] In particular. [7][30] [23][31] Although this form of synesthesia was documented as early as the 1890s [1] modern research has.. [edit]Personification Main article: Ordinal linguistic personification Ordinal-linguistic personification (OLP.type of synesthesia. one synesthete says. or personification for short) is a form of synesthesia in which ordered sequences. U is a soulless sort of thing. /f/ triggers sherbet). J [1] [is] male. K [is] female. James Wannerton has no synesthetic experiences of coffee or curry." Jamie Ward and Julia Simner have extensively studied this form of synesthesia. or articulate (inner speech) words or word sounds. it has been suggested that number-forms are a result of "cross- activation" between regions of theparietal lobe that are involved in numerical cognition and spatial cognition. and is consistent and automatic. individual words and the phonemes of spoken language evoke taste sensations in the mouth. objects are sometimes imbued with a sense of personality. and have found that the synesthetic associations are constrained by early food experiences. months and letters are associated with personalities. I experience an immediate and involuntary taste sensation on my tongue. paid little attention to this form. /I/.g. as required to be considered a form of synesthesia. a gentleman. such as ordinal numbers.g. appearing jocular. but… 3 I cannot trust… 9 is dark. but with strength of character. Recent research has begun to show that alphanumeric personification co-varies with other forms of synesthesia. These very specific taste associations never change and have remained the same for as long as I can remember. researchers in numerical cognition have begun to explore this form of synesthesia for the insights that it may provide into the neural mechanisms of numerical-spatial associations present unconsciously in everyone. quiet.. To show that phonemes. rather than graphemes are the . tall and graceful." For some people in addition to numbers and other ordinal sequences. In addition to its interest as a form of synesthesia. "T‘s are generally crabbed. but politic under his suavity. "I [is] a bit of a worrier at times. Cytowic's subject MT says.. "Whenever I hear. For example. he tastes certain breakfast cereals and candies that are no longer sold. even though he consumes them regularly as an adult.. 4 is honest. although easy-going. these early food experiences are often paired with tastes based on the phonemes in the name of the word (e. read.. until recently. Additionally. responsible." [31] Likewise. ungenerous creatures.

" Despite this idea being false. one of the most common [19][22] and easily studied types. chuck) or "x" (e. but due to the difficulties in measuring subjective experiences and the rise of behaviorism. Ward and Simner showed that. the taste of egg is associated to the phoneme /k/. which made the study of any subjective experience taboo. theses. whether spelled with a "c" (e. documentary films.D. are the most common types. research explored the reality.critical triggers of tastes.g. meaning individuals reporting their experience to investigators. while 1 in 90 have colored graphemes. there is a long history of building color organs such as the clavier à lumières on which to perform colored music in concert halls [35][35][36] The first medical description of colored hearing is in a German 1812 thesis. Another source of tastes comes from semantic influences.. synesthetes began contacting one another and creating Web sites devoted to the condition. [17][19] [17] Colored days of the week and colored graphemes . followed in the 1880s by Francis Galton. synesthesia faded into scientific oblivion between 1930 and 1980. accept). fax).000)." [edit]Research history Main article: History of synesthesia research The interest in colored hearing dates back to Greek antiquity. Research into synesthesia proceeded briskly in several countries. and the word "blue" tastes "inky. Gustav Fechner reported the first empirical survey of colored letter photisms among 73 synesthetes in 1871. Random population studies later determined that 1 in 23 individuals have some kind of synesthesia. In the late 1990s. Led in the United States by Larry Marks and Richard Cytowic.. consistency. so that food names tend to taste of the food they match.. These early grew into international organizations such as the American Synesthesia Association. "ck" (e. Since the rise of the Internet in the 1990. "k" (e. Ph. scientists once again looked to synesthesia. These studies all had the methodological shortcoming of relying onself-selection. [38][39] [9][40][41] [37] The father of psychophysics. Synesthesia is now the topic of scientific books and papers. the UK Synaesthesia Association. [34] Isaac Newton proposed that musical tones and color tones shared common frequencies. what we now call timbre) of music was a quantifiable quality. York).g.g. "Theory of Color. and later in England by Simon Baron-Cohen and Jeffrey Gray. the focus settled on grapheme → color synesthesia. theBelgian Synaesthesia Association. and frequency of synesthetic experiences. the German Synesthesia Association and the Netherlands Synesthesia Web Community.g. when philosophers asked if the color (chroia. As the 1980s cognitive revolution began to make inquiry into internal subjective states respectable again. and even novels.. for James Wannerton. as did Goethe in his book. [edit]Prevalence and genetic basis Early estimates of prevalence varied widely (from 1 in 20 to 1 in 20.

father-to-son transmission. [17] At first. mother-to-son and mother-to-daughter transmission were readily observed first genome-wide association study failed to find X-linkage. [44] [48] . [1][43] . consistent with a genetic origin for the condition. Studies from the 1990s [42][43] that noted a much higher prevalence in women than men (up to 6:1) most likely suffered from a sampling bias due to the fact that women are more likely to self-disclose than men. color chips. [46][47] [45] [1][43][44] However. Developmental factors such as gene expression and environment must also play a role in determining which types of synesthesia an individual has (for example.Many studies noted that synesthesia runs in families. Suggestive of incomplete gene penetrance is the situation of identical twins in which only one member of the pair is synesthetic. Francis Galton's 1880 report noted a familial component. [edit]Objective verification Reaction times for answers that are congruent with a synesthete‘s automatic colors are faster than those whose answer is incongruent. and easy to prove as a genuine perception. children must interact with culturally-learned artifacts such as alphabets and food names). the and furthermore verified two cases of and the observation that synesthesia can skip generations within a family.1:1.7 million choices. whereas father-to-daughter. More recent random samples find an equal sex ratio of 1. compared to 30-40% after just a month in non-synesthetes even when they are warned they will be retested—using stimuli of color names. the observed patterns of inheritance were consistent with an X-linked mode of inheritance because there had been no verified reports of father-to-son transmission.[3] Synesthesia is hard to fake. It is furthermore common for family members to experience different types of synesthesia. The simplest approach is testretest reliability over long periods of time. suggesting that the gene(s) involved do not lead to invariably specific types of synesthesia. where synesthetes consistently score much higher—around 90% after years. or a computer-screen color picker providing 16.

say) in blue ink. he is slower to name the ink color than when it is printed in red. red vs. In the standard paradigm. synesthetic colors help zero in on the embedded figure. For someone who sees 2s as red and 5s as green. indicating that synesthetic color perception uses the same mechanism as the perception of real colors. having to answer ―7‖ and then ―yellow‖ is congruent with the subject‘s synesthesia. diamond. Similarly. while a given synesthete might perceive it like the panel on the right. Synesthetic colors can also improve performance for some synesthetes. however.. [49] Cross-sensory Stroop tests are possible: for example. [28] Modified versions of the Stroop effect are popular. and make the task one of having to say a math solution out loud followed by naming a color square. slowing him down compared to controls. The conflict is strongest when the ink color is the opponent color to the synesthetic one (e. Likewise. for example. interferes with naming the green square. He sees the blue ink. a music → color synesthete must name a red swatch while listening to a sound that produces a blue sensation. when it is printed in blue ink than when the ink is red. [edit]Possible neural basis Main article: Neural basis of synesthesia ." for example. it is harder to name the ink color of the word "red. but the same sort of conflict responsible for the standard Stroop effect occurs between the ink color and the automatic synesthetic color of the grapheme. In the illustration. [50] or a musical key → taste synesthete [51] must identify a bitter taste while hearing a musical interval that tastes sweet . green). Stroop tests work even in those for whom merely thinking about a numeral elicits color. [28] . [15][24] It certainly does not happen instantaneously. if a grapheme → color synesthete is shown the digit 4 (which he sees as red. Ramachandran and Hubbard presented synesthetes and non-synesthetes with a matrix of 5s in which embedded 2s formed a hidden pattern such as a square. rectangle or triangle.The automaticity of synesthetic experience. it does not occur prior to attention. Take a person who sees 7 as yellow and 9 as blue. Inspired by tests for color blindness. Subsequent careful studies have found substantial variability among synesthetes in their ability to do this. The panel on the left is how a non-synesthete perceives the matrix.g. which unconsciously primes him to respond faster than controls. The automatic blueness of 9. while synesthesia is evoked very [52][53] early in perceptual processing.

[54] Normally. Increased cross-talk between regions specialized for different functions may account for the many types of synesthesia. if normal feedback were not inhibited as usual. or a reduction in the amount of inhibition along normally existing feedback pathways. It can likewise occur during stages of meditation. excitation and inhibition are balanced. in some cases. [28] One line of thinking is that a failure to prune synapses that are normally formed in great excess during the first few years of life may cause such cross-activation. or with use of psychedelics such as LSD or mescaline. The degree of white matter connectivity in the fusiform gyrus correlates with the intensity of the synesthetic experience. This method demonstrates increased connectivity in fusiform gyrus. [edit]Associated cognitive traits . sensory deprivation. marijuana. Cytowic & Eagleman find support for the disinhibition idea in the so-called acquired forms [3] of synesthesia that occur in non- synesthetes under certain conditions: Temporal lobe epilepsy. Functional neuroimaging studies using PET and fMRI demonstrate significant differences between the brains of synesthetes and non-synesthetes. head trauma. then signals feeding back from late stages of multi-sensory processing might influence earlier stages such that tones could activate vision.Regions thought to be cross-activated in grapheme-color synesthesia (green=grapheme recognition area. certain prescription medications or even. red=V4 color area). [15][55][56] Diffusion tensor imaging allows visualization of white matter fiber [57] pathways in the intact brain.[28] Dedicated regions of the brain are specialized for given functions. However. stroke. fMRI shows V4 activation in both word → color and grapheme → color synesthetes. and brain tumors. the additive experience of seeing color when looking at graphemes might be due to cross-activation of the grapheme-recognition area and the color area called V4 (see figure).intraparietal sulcus and frontal cortex in grapheme-color synesthetes. For example. deep concentration. An alternate possibility is disinhibited feedback.

if any.5 year-old children (too young to read) show this effect. Autism and epilepsy occur with synesthesia more often than chance predicts. Synesthesia has so far been linked to a region on chromosome 2 that is associated with autism and epilepsy. arithmetic. Even 2." Indeed. What has been confirmed is elevated. Which shape would you call "Kiki" and which "Bouba?" An example of this is the bouba/kiki effect. people are asked to choose which of two shapes is named bouba and which kiki. Tests like this demonstrate that people do not attach sounds to visual shapes arbitrarily. [58] sometimes photographic. the savant who set a European record for reciting the digits of pi. [61] Ramachandran and Hubbard suggest the kiki/bouba effect has implications for the evolution of language. "What good is it?" synesthetes say. Individuals on the island of Tenerife showed a similar preference between shapes calledtakete and maluma. and one's cultural environment likely determine the variety in awareness and practical use of synesthetic skills [edit]Links These are major topics of ongoing research. because the naming of objects is not completely arbitrary. [45] Synesthetes are likely to participate in creative activities. has all three conditions indicating that they might share an underlying genetic cause. [28] The rounded shape may intuitively be . and sense of direction. Richard Cytowic first noted mild difficulties in left-right confusion. [16][25] [22][59][60] Individual development of perceptual and cognitive skills.95% to 98% of people choose kiki for the angular shape and bouba for the rounded one.Little is known about what. As early as 1980. In an experiment first designed by Wolfgang Köhler. Daniel Tammet. it was reading Alexander Luria's 1968 book The Mind of a Mnemonist that alerted Cytowic to the link between synesthesia and elevated memory: Luria's subject had a 5-fold synesthesia that gave him extra hooks on which to hang and remember numerous facts. referred to as crossmodal perception andmultisensory integration. cognitive traits might be associated with synesthesia. [1] These observations await large-scale confirmation. such as how the brain combines information from different sensory modalities. "It helps me remember. When asked. but also because studying it can offer insights into other questions. memory. with other areas of study Researchers study synesthesia not only because it is inherently interesting.

Main article: Synesthesia in art The word "synesthesia" has been used for 300 years to describe very different things. audiovisual art. and intermedia. from poetry and metaphor to deliberately contrived mixed-media applications such as son et lumière shows or odorama. researchers hope that their study will provide better understanding ofconsciousness and its neural correlates. It is crucial to separate artists using synesthesia as an intellectual idea—pseudo-synesthetes such as Georgia O'Keeffe who used such titles as "Music-Pink and Blue"—from those who had the genuine perceptual variety. music visualization. 15x12-3/4" 1996. abstract film. The sound of K is also harder and more forceful than that of B. In particular. meaning what the brain mechanisms that make us conscious might be. [14][18][63][64][65][66] Distinct from neuroscience. [edit]Artistic investigations Vision by Carol Steen. a colored sound). such asWassily Kandinsky or Olivier Messiaen. synesthesia might be relevant to the philosophical problem of qualia. Such "synesthesia-like mappings" suggest that this effect might be the neurological basis for sound symbolism. A representation of a synesthetic photism experienced during acupuncture. angular mouth shape is needed to articulate kiki. while a more taut. the concept of synesthesia in the arts is regarded as the simultaneous perception of multiple stimuli in .g.. in which sounds are non-arbitrarily mapped to objects and actions in the world.named bouba because the mouth makes a more rounded shape to produce that sound. [4][28][62] given that synesthetes experience extra qualia (e. Given synesthetes' extraordinary conscious experiences. Synesthetic art historically refers to multi-sensory experiments in the genres of visual music. Oil on Paper.

non-synesthetes. [edit]Literary [14] depictions Main article: Synesthesia in literature Main article: Synesthesia in fiction Synesthesia is sometimes used as a plot device or way of developing a character's inner life. Scriabin composed color music that was deliberately contrived and based on the circle of fifths. Synesthetic art can refer to either art created by synesthetes or art that attempts to convey the synesthetic experience. Synesthesia as Romantic ideal: in which the condition illustrates the Romantic ideal of transcending one's experience of the world. the red rocks of Bryce Canyon are depicted in his symphony Des canyons aux étoiles ("From the Canyons to the Stars"). and digital artists. Author and synesthete Pat Duffy describes four ways in which synesthetic characters have been used in modern fiction. These distinctions are not mutually exclusive given that art by a synesthete might also evoke synesthesia-like experiences in the viewer. for deceased artists. Books in this category include The Whole World Over by Julia Glass. 1. Kandinsky (a synesthete) and Mondrian (not a synesthete) both experimented with image-music correspondences in their paintings. 2. novelists. They demonstrate the complex interplay between personal experience and artistic creation. Synesthesia as pathology: in which the trait is pathological. Synesthesia has been a source of inspiration for artists. Contemporary synesthetic artists such as Carol Steen [68] and Marcia Smilack [69] have described in detail how they use their synesthesia to create their artworks. and an appreciation of such art by both groups. Nabokov writes explicitly about synesthesia in several novels. . It is an attempt to understand the relation between the experiences of born synesthetes. poets. New art movements such as literary symbolism. For example. non-figurative gestalt experience. and visual music have profited from experiments with synesthetic perception and contributed to the public awareness of synesthetic and multisensory ways of perceiving. whereasMessiaen invented a new method of composition (the modes of limited transposition) to specifically render his bi-directional sound-color synesthesia. one must interpret (auto)biographical information. composers. Books in this category include The Gift by Vladimir Nabokov. [67] Only recently can science verify and study synesthesia in artists.

French poets Arthur Rimbaud and Charles Baudelaire wrote of synesthetic experience but there is no evidence they were synesthetes themselves.E. [3] [70] Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky combined four senses: color. Franz Liszt. Memory and portrays it in some of his characters. and Patrick Stump. and became interested in how the senses might . actress Stephanie Carswell. Baudelaire participated in a hashish experiment by psychiatrist Jacques-Joseph Moreau. Synesthesia as Romantic pathology: in which synesthesia is pathological but also provides an avenue to the Romantic ideal of transcending quotidian experience. and configuration. shape. Alexander Scriabin's 1911 Prometheus. and [71] Vladimir Nabokov describes his grapheme-color synesthesia at length in his Composers include Duke [3][75] [72] [73] [74] autobiography. whose three types of Physicist Richard complex colors are rendered explicitly in musical chord structures that he invented. Technical reviews appear in period volumes of Scientific American. [3] [3][79] The musical score has a separate staff marked luce whose "notes" are played on a color organ. is a deliberate contrivance whose color choices are based on the circle of fifths and appear to have been taken from Madame Blavatsky. 4. for example. Famous synesthetes include David Hockney. [edit]People with synesthesia Main article: List of people with synesthesia Determining synesthesia from the historical record is fraught with error unless (auto)biographical sources explicitly give convincing details. touch. James aka Aphex Twin (who claims to be inspired by lucid dreams as well as music) [78] . and classical pianist Hélène Grimaud. Baudelaire's 1857 Correspondances (text available here) introduced the notion that the senses can and should intermingle.R. Ellington. Pharrell Williams of the hip-hop Neptunes and N. Although it has not been verified. [citation needed] John Mayer. and to have used it as the basis of the album Seeing Sounds. smell. and A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass. who perceives music as color. The Sound of Blue. What Do You Care What Other People Think? Other notable synesthetes include musicians Ida Maria. Synesthesia as psychological health and balance: Painting Ruby Tuesday by Jane Yardley. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. claims to experience synesthesia. [76] [77] Feynman describes his colored equations in his autobiography. Speak.3. and Olivier Messiaen. Books in this category include Holly Payne‘s. hearing. Some artists frequently mentioned as synesthetes did not in fact have the condition. electronic musician Richard D. Some say more about an author's interpretation of synesthesia than the phenomenon itself.D. Many literary depictions of synesthesia are not accurate. and who uses these perceptions when painting opera stage sets but not while creating his other artworks.

including grapheme → color synesthesia. I was having an acupuncture treatment and was lying flat on my back. undulating. which often involves attempting to capture. for example. Art by synesthetes. 2. Sometimes what I see is just not interesting or beautiful. and transmit her synesthetic experiences into her paintings. at length. "One day. [1] Carol Steen experiences multiple forms of synesthesia. see the list of people with synesthesia. in which they draw on their personal synesthetic perceptions to create works of art. and non-synesthetes who used synesthesia in their art or music. [14] Rimbaud later wrote Voyelles (1871) (text available here). Sean Day. select. Steen describes how her synesthetic experience during an acupuncture session lead to the creation of the painting Vision. a distinction needs to be made between three possible meanings: 1. For more on artists who either were synesthetes themselves. and touch → color synesthesia. art by a synesthete might also evoke synesthesia-like experiences in the viewer. She most often uses her music → color synesthesia and touch → color synesthesia in creating her works of art. These distinctions are not mutually exclusive. on a futon. Lying there. as. synesthete and the President of the American Synesthesia Association. it should not be assumed that all "synesthetic" art accurately reflects the synesthetic experience. pseudosynesthetes. hoping to see something magical. I watched the soft. as I always do. My eyes were shut and I watched intently. black background I always see when I shut my eyes become pierced by a bright red colour that began to . although he later boasted "J'inventais la couleur des voyelles!" [I invented the colors of the vowels!]. [edit]Art by synesthetes Several contemporary visual artists have discussed their artistic process. which does not always occur. or who attempted to create synesthesia-like mappings in their art. maintains a list of famous synesthetes. Art that is meant to evoke synesthetic associations in a general (mainly non-synesthetic) audience. Distinctions When discussing synesthesia in art. However. many years ago. stuck full of needles.correspond. music → color synesthesia. and how synesthesia helps them in this. which was perhaps more important than Correspondances in popularizing synesthesia.

"Reflectionist" Marcia Smilack uses her synesthetic experience in guiding her towards creating images that are aesthetically pleasing and appealing to her. chasing much of the blackness away. perceives music in colored patterns. motion or taste. The red began as a small dot of intense colour and grew quite large rather quickly. Inkjet(Giclee) print on watercolor paper. [1] Weekends Are Taller than Weekdays by Marcia Smilack. a Dutch musician and visual artist. If the reflection elicits the sound of cello. Smilack takes pictures of reflected objects. When I do. I trust it to be a reliable signal that tells me it is the right time to take the picture. I shoot the picture." – Reflectionist Marcia Smilack on her photography technique [2] Anne Salz. She describes her painting inspired by Vivaldi‘sConcerto for Four Violins: . and says of her photography style: "I taught myself to take pictures by shooting whenever I experience a synesthetic reaction to what I see: if I experience a sensation of texture. mostly using the surface of the water. I photograph reflections on moving water. It works like this: I watch the surface of the sea until I experience one of my synesthetic responses. I think of my synesthetic responses as vital messengers that arrive faster than thought to deliver one urgent message which I always heed: beauty is lurking.form in the middle of the rich velvet blackness. This is the first vision that I painted exactly as I saw it. so I click the shutter. I saw green shapes appear in the midst of the red color and move around the red and black fields. 40 x 60 inches. I take the picture. recalling the experience that lead to the creation of Vision.. 2003 Rather than trying to create depictions of what she experiences. Within the creative process." – Artist Carol Steen.

He consulted with a musician at the court of Rudolph II in Prague to create a new experiment that sought to show the colors that accompany music." [3] [edit]Art meant to evoke synesthetic associations Perhaps the most famous work which might be thought to evoke synesthesia-like experiences in a nonsynesthete audience is the Disneyfilm Fantasia. and orange colors in a great variety with little contrast. a keyboard instrument . Jewanski & Sidler 2006). although it is unknown if this was intentional or not. I listen to the music while I paint. to create a synesthetic experience in the audience (Campen 2007. what we now call timbre) of music was a physical quality that could be quantified (Campen 2007. she perceives more colorful textures than she normally perceives and she is able to depict them in the painting. Gage 1994. One of the questions that the classic philosophers asked was if color (chroia. and mysticism (Kandinsky 1994. Many of his paintings and stage pieces were based upon a set and established system of correspondences between colors and the timbres of specific musical instruments. 50 x 50 cm. [edit]History The interest in synesthesia is at least as old as Greek philosophy. Oil on Board.2003 "The painting represents the opening of the concerto for four violins. Ferwerda & Struycken 2001. pp. stated that his correspondences between colors and musical timbres have no "scientific" basis. however. Jewanski 1999). despite his fame for his synesthetic artwork. I hear the melodies in my mind when I look at it. 138-142 Jewanski & Sidler 2006. She also expresses the movement of the music. current prevailing cultural biases. Riccò 1999.Vivaldi by Anne Salz. The black structure provides cadence and reveals its significance and character. The first known experiment to test correspondences between sound and color was conducted by the Milanese artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo at the end of the sixteenth century. She explains how she perceives the painting: "The lively movements in the music become a stream of glowing shades of orange. First. It looks like a field of these colors. yellow. He decided to place different colored strips of painted paper on the gravicembalo. may not have been a synesthete. but were founded upon a combination of his own personal feelings. You can compare it with the colors of a blanket or cover made of autumn leaves. Campen 2007). the music gives me an optimistic. It is an indispensable foundation for the moving colors. I perceive the color field as a musical chord. Kandinsky himself. Dann 1998." She explains that the painting is not a copy of what she hears. happy feeling and I perceive red. as its energy influences the pictorial composition. Another classical example is the use of the color organ which would project colored lights along with the musical notes. Wassily Kandinsky working in the 1920s. The painting evokes my feelings again when I listen to the music again. when she listens to music. rather.

The aims of the group were focused on three goals: the unification of the arts by means of Total Works of Art (Gesamtkunstwerke) (Von Maur 2001. that he then matched to the seven discrete notes of an octave (Campen 2007. His most famous synesthetic work. Hahl-Koch 1985. a tradition of musical paintings began to appear that influenced symbolist painters (Campen 2007. The invention of the gas light in the nineteenth century created new technical possibilities for the color organ. According to Newton. the inventor Frederick Kastner developed an organ that he named a Pyrophone. The British inventor Alexander Rimington. The problem of finding a mathematical system to explain the connection between music and color has both inspired and frustrated artists and scientists throughout the ages. the French Jesuit Louis-Bertrand Castel designed a color harpsichord (clavecin oculaire) with colored strips of paper which rose above the cover of the harpsichord whenever a particular key was hit (Campen 2007. 1994). a professor in fine arts in London. . His theory was that when the correct color was perceived with the correct sound. The same notes in a higher octave produced the same color tone but then in a lighter value (Peacock 1988). Van Uitert 1978). On the score of Prometheus. dancers and theater producers. Ione 2004). Galeyev 2001. Renowned masters like Telemann and Rameau were actively engaged in the development of a clavecins oculaire. he divided the color spectrum into intervals analogous to musical octaves and attributed colors to notes. So. He attempted to link sound oscillations to respective light waves. Inspired by Newton‘s idea that music and color are both grounded in vibrations. Peacock 1988). which is still performed today. In England between 1869 and 1873. is Prometheus. ‗a powerful psychological resonator for the listener‘ would be created.(Gage. he wrote next to the instruments separate parts for the tastiere per luce. concerts with light and musical instruments were given quite regularly. the color organ (Campen 2007. Poem of Fire. he identified seven discrete light entities. [edit]Color organs Main article: Color organ Inspired by Newton‘s theory of music-color correspondences. [edit]Musical paintings In the second half the nineteenth century. documented the phrase ‗Colour-Organ‘ for the first time in a patent application in 1893. Gleich 1963). As most technical problems had been conquered. In the first decades of the twentieth century. the psychological questions concerning the effects of these performances came to the fore. Around the turn of the century. Kandinsky's theory of synesthesia. The Russian composer Alexander Scriabin was particularly interested in the psychological effects on the audience when they experienced sound and color simultaneously. composers. The seventeenthcentury physicistIsaac Newton tried to solve the problem by assuming that musical tones and color tones have frequencies in common. Franssen 1991). a German artist group called The Blue Rider (Der blaue Reiter) executed synesthetic experiments that involved a composite group of painters. the distribution of white light in a spectrum of colors is analogous to the musical distribution of tones in an octave.

com on the history of visual music). Arte Citta) [1]. Kandinsky was not the only artist at this time with an interest in synesthetic perception. New artistic projects on synesthesia are appearing every year. Spain. And this is only a small selection of synesthetic work in the arts. sculptors. designers and musicians have shown to be well-informed on the latest scientific insights in synesthesia. Nowadays. [edit]Visual music Main article: Visual music Starting in the late 1950s. Jewanski & Sidler 2006. the Leonardo online bibliography Synesthesia in Art and Science) [2]. In and outside these associations that house scientists and artists. this has led to an enormous avalanche of synesthesiainspired art on the Internet (Campen 2007) (cf. Belgium and other countries (cf. Given the capability of the Internet to publish and share digital productions. Modern artists experimented with multi-sensory perception like the simultaneous perception of movement in music and film (Von Maur 2001. it can be determined with more certainty if contemporary artists are synesthetic. as in unisonous musical tones (Kandinsky 1910. They combine this scientific knowledge and personal intuition in a range of artistic expressions. textile work. helped to shape the ground for these experiments. the interaction of these fields of art has increased tremendously. [edit]Synesthetic artists With today‘s knowledge and testing apparatus. one gets some insights into the process of painting music (cf. and formulated in booklet On the Spiritual in Art (1910). Some contemporary artists are active members of synesthesia associations in the United States. electronic music and electronic visual art have co-existed in the same digital medium (Campen 2007. Smilack. Salz). Heyrman 2003). the exchange of ideas and collaborations between artists and scientist has grown rapidly in the last decades (cf. For instance. California wrote a software program. photographs. The lines of artistic explorations of synesthesia and scientific research into the subject have become closely intertwined in the last decade. Stephen Malinowski and Lisa Turetsky from Berkeley. an even larger production of synesthesia-inspired works is noticed in the field of digital art (Campen 2007). Beside these ‗classical‘ materials of making art. Düchting 1996). Literary Depictions . Italy. Steen. entitled the Music Animation Machine that translates and shows music pieces in colored measures. students of art and music have digital software at their disposal that uses both musical and visual imagery. These painters. He described synesthesia as a phenomenon of transposition of experience from one sense modality to another. website RhythmicLight. By interviewing these artists. Collopy 2000. Since that time. For instance they capture their synesthetic perceptions in painting. United Kingdom. A study of the art at the turn of the century reveals in the work of almost every progressive or avant-garde artist an interest in the correspondences of music and visual art. Germany. Moritz 2003).

Synesthetes have appeared in novels including Vladimir Nabokov‘s The Gift and Invitation to a Beheading. Speak. more than 15 novels featuring synesthetecharacters have been published. Fyodor‘s synesthetic experience of language is compared to that of nineteenthcentury French Symbolist poet. which he shares with others through poetic description: "If I had some paints handy. 2007). in the novel. [edit]Synesthesia as pathology Certain types of synesthetic experience can also be induced by brain injuries.. portrayals of these characters and their synesthesia generally fall into four categories: (1) synesthesia as Romantic ideal." In writing about synesthesia. Arthur Rimbaud (as expressed in the latter‘s poem. Duffy illustrates how the perceived colors are a distraction for the character: "The word would fill her mind for a few minutes with a single color: not an unpleasant sensation but still an intrusion. the character Saga experiences words as having color after she has an accident that causes a head trauma.. Memory. but his synesthetic experience indicates an oncoming epileptic seizure: "Without color. For example. allowing him/her to perceive more sublime levels of reality.and you would appreciate my radiant 's' if I could pour into your cupped hands some of those luminous sapphires that I touched as a child. Since 2001. more novels have appeared with synesthete-characters. The Sound of Blue. synesthesia has often been used as a plot device or as a way of developing a particular character's internal states. I would mix burnt sienna and sepia for you as to match the color of a 'ch' sound." [edit]Synesthesia as Romantic pathology This category of synesthesia combines the previous two: the character‘s synesthesia is portrayed as pathology — but a "glorious" pathology. she thought. which he details in his autobiography. Below is an explanation of each of Duffy's four proposed categories along with an example of a novel in that category: [edit]Synesthesia as Romantic ideal In Vladimir Nabokov‘s novel. (3) synesthesia as Romantic pathology. With the increased research into synesthesia from the 1990‘s into the twenty-first century.In addition to its role in art. According to author Patricia Lynne Duffy in her presentations on "Images of Synesthetes in Fiction". 2006. (2) synesthesia as pathology. a composer. like the surface of a chestnut.. Duffy notes that a character's synesthesia is sometimes shown as a pathological condition related to brain injury. The Gift. The Whole World Over by Julia Glass. Voyelles about the perception of colored vowel sounds). In the quote. Nabokov was likely drawing on his own synesthetic experiences. (4) synesthesia as health and balance for some individuals (Duffy. a shiny red brown. the character. The following quote from the novel shows that Fyodor perceives a sublime beauty in letters and sounds. a temple of a word. Milan. Patriarch: Brown. he . In Holly Payne‘s novel. the main character Fyodor is a gifted young poet who experiences synesthesia. perceives music as having beautiful color.

. of ceaseless return. "Your colors will return. the palm open in lazy expectancy of something —perhaps the nutcracker. which is the masterly use it makes of innate harmonies when gathering to its fold the suspended and wandering tonalities of the past. Through a tremulous prism. by the same faculty of impassioned commemoration. as the long table that on summer birthdays and namedays used to be laid for afternoon chocolate out of doors." Vladimir Nabokov Speak. I like to imagine. I see the tablecloth and the faces of seated people sharing in the animation of light and shade beneath a moving. exaggerated. In the place where my current tutor sits. I see the steam of the chocolate and the plates of blueberry tarts. an adolescent girl's bare arm indolently extended as far as it will go.. Memory I witness with pleasure the supreme achievement of memory. Purple. I distinguish the features of relatives and familiars. the character regains synesthetic perception. I note the small helicopter of a revolving samara that gently descends upon the tablecloth. had to do so with the silent steps of a prodigal. mute lips serenely moving in forgotten speech. something as enduring. Milan shared the multisensory perception of synesthetes.heard nothing. the 13-year-old character. which represents health and wholeness for that individual. Examples of such characters are found in Jane Yardley‘s novel. the ability to perceive synesthetically represents health and balance for the particular character. that makes me always approach that banquet table from the outside. limes and maples at its debouchment on the smooth sanded space of the garden proper that separated the park and the house. faint with excitement. and unfortunately the seizures that about 4 per cent of them endured. In the latter novel. no doubt. I promise. in consummation and resolution of those jangling chords. from the depth of the park —as if the mind. Mia. in an alley of birches. He filled notebooks with the sound of yellow and red. After the trauma is resolved. Kandinsky and Rimbaud. and. Milan‘s epilepsy resulted from his multisensory experiences. a succession of fade-ins and fade-outs. the . there is a changeful image. And you‘ll feel three-dimensional again. in order to go back thither. in retrospect.. lying across the table. but regains it after she works through the trauma. When such characters experience emotional trauma.. Green. a fabulous foliage. As her therapist tells her." [edit]Synesthesia as health and balance for some individuals Duffy argues that in this category of novel. Mia loses her synesthesia after her beloved cat dies. with its turquoise-veined underside turned up to the flaky sunlight. Painting Ruby Tuesday and in Wendy Mass‘s children‘s novel. A MangoShaped Space. Like Liszt and Stravinsky. they lose the ability to perceive synesthetically.

and eloquent prose helped to establish him as one of the most brilliant and respected literary figures of the 20th century.pulsation of my thought mingles with that of the leaf shadows and turns Ordo into Max and Max into Lenski and Lenski into the schoolmaster. What’s the point of forgetting if it’s followed by dying? . Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977). he was sentenced to five years in a labor camp but was released after less than two years because of international protests. translator. and inventiveness in both Russian and English. And then. Nobel Prize laureate. born in Saint Petersburg (then known as Leningrad). and his son Dimitri. and lepidopterist (he enjoyed chasing and collecting butterflies). suddenly. just when the colors and outlines settle at last to their various duties — smiling. in this hemisphere. Memory: An Autobiography Revisited (1966). my heart speaks Russian and my ear speaks French". It’s evening. Joseph Brodsky. Lolita (1955). behind the rhythmic trees. a walnut cracked. A cosmopolitan Russian-born ŽmigrŽ whose linguistic facility. shocked many people but its humor and literary style were praised by critics. he began writing poetry in his late teens and became a protégé of Anna Akhmatova. scholar. Nabokov himself used to say "My head speaks English. novelist. He was denounced in the Soviet press in 1963. the sun is setting. poet. the click of a nutcracker carelessly passed. dear. the local concord of loud summer birds. frivolous duties —some knob is touched and a torrent of sounds comes to life: voices speaking all together. —Vladimir Nabokov in Speak. the confused and enthusiastic hullabaloo of bathing young villagers. for an all- . like a background of wild applause. around 1912). Arrested and tried as a "parasite" by the Soviet government in 1964. Nabokov's best-known novel. boys shout and gulls are crying.. beyond the river. oseph Brodsky (1940—1996) A Song I wish you were here. his wife. erudite style. as I sit on the porch sipping a beer. Russian poet. and. as was also his mother. thirty human hearts drowning mine with their regular beats. Deeply influenced by Russian and English literature. complexity.. the sough and sigh of a thousand trees. transformations is repeated. and the whole array of trembling. (A reflection from his Russian childhood. In 1987. Nabokov produced literature and scholarship of beauty. *Synaesthesia: Vladimir Nabobov was a synesthete.

Vast like the night and like the light. verts comme les prairies. There are perfumes fresh like the skin of infants Sweet like oboes. —And others corrupted. Il est des parfums frais comme de chairs d'enfants.. Like long echoes that intermingle from afar In a dark and profound unity. The perfumes. Vaste comme une nuit et comme la clarté. —Et d'autres. corrompus. balsam and incense. Les parfums. Doux comme les hautbois. riches et triomphants. rich and triumphant That have the expanse of infinite things. . Like ambergris. Charles Baudelaire (1821—1867) Correspondences Nature is a temple where living pillars Let escape sometimes confused words. green like prairies. Correspondances La nature est un temple où de vivants piliers Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles L'homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles Qui l'observent avec des regards familiers. . les couleurs et les sons se répondent. imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity. the colors and the sounds respond. Which sing the ecstasies of the mind and senses. musk.. Comme de longs échos qui de loin se confondent Dans une ténébreuse et profonde unité.embracing authorship. Man traverses it through forests of symbols That observe him with familiar glances.

Óyeme con los ojos Óyeme con los ojos. In Paris 1857. a Swedenborgian term referring to the idea that every form in Heaven "corresponds" to a form on Earth.. ... Paris. This work beautifully introduced Baudelaire's theory of *Synaesthesia: the idea that the senses can and should intermingle was enjoying a brief vogue. Juana Inés de la Cruz. óyeme sordo. le benjoin et l'encens. was of immense importance. and expressive verse has earned her a place as . Inspired by the mystical theory of "Correspondences". Baudelaire wrote "Correspondances". defending the rights of women to study and write. And as you cannot hear a voice so faint. than hear me deaf. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651—1695) Hear me with your eyes Hear me with your eyes now that distant hears cannot attend. plays. wrote many poems. In 1691 she writes the famous (regarded as a key proto-feminist manifesto) 'Respuesta a Sor Filotea'. pues me quejo muda. through symbols and metaphors. Baudelaire had come to believe that the artist's unique ability to represent truth un-didactically. in San Miguel Nepantla. . le musc. Enters Convent of San Jerónimo (aged 20). born November 12.. by Edouard Manet. 1651. ya que están tan distantes los oídos. a village south of Mexico City. Bibliothèque Nationale de France. y de ausentes enojos en ecos. and a poet whose ingenious. Hear reproaches sobbing from this pen. de mi pluma mis gemidos.. She was a rebel nun. Qui chantent les transports de l'esprit et des sens. arguably his best-known poem. for mute is my complaint. eloquent. y ya que a ti no llega mi voz ruda.Ayant l'expansion des choses infinies. 'Charles Baudelaire' 1967. studied philosophy. and. * Etching. Comme l'ambre. in absent sights.. . but its deeper significance was its prioritizing of symbol over symbolized. music and science.

aged 46. . I don't know. from winter or a river. She was a woman of genius whose ideas and accomplishments were ahead of her time. considered one of the greatest poets in the history of Russian literature. Akhmatova's principal motif is love. Promise me you will come again. but from a street it called me. and it touched me. With Osip Mandelstam she was a leader of the early 20th-century Acmeist movement. At midnight sometime through the stars. I don't know how or when. they were not words. Anna. they were not voices. abruptly from the others. mainly frustrated and tragic love. Just send me word. no. pseudonym of Anna Andreyevna Gorenko (1888-1966) born near Odesa. Anna Akhmatova (1888—1966) In Dream Black and enduring separation I share equally with you. Pablo Neruda (1904—1973) Poetry And it was at that age .the outstanding 17th-century poet of Spanish America. not silence. my eyes were blind. I don't know where it came from. In 1695 Sor Juana contracts plague and dies 17th April. I didn't know what to say. . there it was. . without a face. Russian lyric poet. Ukraine. from the branches of night. among raging fires or returning alone. expressed with an intensely feminine accent and inflection entirely her own. Akhmatova. which called for use of poetic language that would convey exact meanings with simplicity and clarity. poetry arrived in search of me.. my mouth had no way with names. Why weep? Give me your hand. . You and I are like high mountains and we can't move closer. Something knocked in my soul..

the overpowering night. pure nonsense. felt myself a pure part of the abyss. Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) Chilean poet. From his compassionate stepmother he learned sensitivity. image of mystery. diplomat. faint. planets. ernando Pessoa (1888—1935) The Tobacconist's I am nothing. riddled with arrows. he learned militant determination. drunk with the great starry void. My heart broke loose with the wind. and from his dogmatic father. I shall always be nothing. palpitating plantations. likeness. who vehemently opposed his son's interest in poetry. the darkness perforated. and suddenly I saw the heavens unfastened and open. without substance.. Neruda is the most widely read of the Spanish American poets. Two equally powerful childhood influences shaped Neruda's personality. winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971: for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent's destiny and dreams. tiny being. and I wrote the first. pure wisdom of someone who knows nothing. And I. 'Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair' (1924).fever or forgotten wings. . deciphering that fire. I can only want to be nothing. and flowers. I wheeled with the stars.. He also wrote love poems. the universe. fire. and I made my own way. . faint line.

Fernando Pessoa (the Symbolist). Nunca serei nada. Pessoa has gained international recognition as one of the most original poets of European modernism. Pessoa was four poets in one: Alberto Caeiro (the pastoral seer). I have in me all the dreams in the world. . À parte isso.. Álvaro de Campos (the Futurist). The green leaves among. He accepted the dividedness of a human self so completely that he did something unique: he wrote poetry under four names . But O! met with scorn. I murmur'd my fears And I felt delight. . Pessoa is the extreme example of what may be the essentially modern kind of poet: the objective introvert. tenho em mim todos os sonhos do mundo. a poet who lived most of his life in a furnished room in Lisbon. Lisbon. To seek for new joy.his own and three 'heteronyms'. Tabacaria Não sou nada. 15-1-1928.. Álvaro de Campos... The most famous of Blake's poems is "Auguries of Innocence". I heard a wild flower Singing a song.Apart from this. Portugal and who died in obscurity there... I slept in the Earth In the silent night. . * the first four lines of "The Tobacconist's". with its memorable opening stanza: . In the morning I went As rosy as morn. Não posso querer ser nada. Ricardo Reis (the elegant classicist) and himself. William Blake (1757—1827) The Wild Flower's Song As I wander'd the forest. Fernando Pessoa.

His poetry and visual art are inextricably linked. black velvety jacket of brilliant flies which buzz around cruel smells.. U. Blake is acclaimed one of England's great figures of art and literature and one of the most inspired and original painters of his time. I shall tell. O blue: vowels. .. born in London (1757-1827) was the first of the great English Romantic poets. purples. lances of proud glaciers.To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower. Blake expressed his visions with a talent that approached genius.. as well as a painter and printer and one of the greatest engravers in English history. E. O. I. I red. Voyelles . Today. sublime Trumpet full of strange piercing sounds. divine shudderings of viridian seas. the peace of the furrows which alchemy prints on broad studious foreheads. U green. Arthur Rimbaud (1854—1891) Vowels A black. smile of beautiful lips in anger or in the raptures of penitence. Gulfs of shadow.. silences crossed by [Worlds and by Angels]: –O the Omega! the violet ray of [His] Eyes! . the peace of pastures dotted with animals. of your mysterious origins: A. He lived in near poverty and died unrecognized. E white. spat blood. waves. whiteness of vapours and of tents. shivers of cow-parsley. one day. Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour. white kings. William Blake.

His highly suggestive. wrote some of the most remarkable poetry and prose of the 19th century. saw Rimbaud as "a mystic in the savage state". I. Silences traversés des [Mondes et des Anges]: —O l'Oméga. sang craché. Golfes d'ombre. Paix des pâtis semés d'animaux. Rimbaud has been identified as one of the creators of free verse because of the rhythmic experiments in his prose poems 'Illuminations' (1886). E. cycles.A noir. Je dirai quelque jour vos naissances latentes: A. I rouge. subtle work drew on subconscious sources. suprême Clairon plein des strideurs étranges. Especially in 'A Season in Hell' (1873). of flash-frozen poses. O bleu: voyelles. U vert.*Synesthesia: his Sonnet of the 'Vowels' (1871) in which each vowel is assigned a color. rayon violet de [Ses] Yeux! . rois blancs. candeurs des vapeurs et des tentes. Arthur Rimbaud. O. precocious boy-poet of French symbolism. and its form was correspondingly supple and novel. noir corset velu des mouches éclatantes Qui bombinent autour des puanteurs cruelles. . pourpres. U. Lances des glaciers fiers. frissons d'ombelles. vibrements divins des mers virides. (1854-1891) the anarchic visionary. E blanc. paix des rides Que l'alchimie imprime aux grands fronts studieux. helped popularize synesthesia. Rimbaud is the poet of crystallized attitudes. Paul Claudel.. rire des lèvres belles Dans la colère ou les ivresses pénitentes..

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