06 May 2011

Hearing the colours

Synchronicity, again. Or just the ability of the mind to create connections from happenstance. One or t'other.

In her most recent Unreal nature posts, yesterday and today, Julie Heyward quotes respectively from Jean-Luc Nancy's fascinating Listening and Victoria Finlay's delightful Color (which I have only recently read, to which I keep returning, and for introduction to which I am, as in so much else, indebted to Unreal nature). Between the two postings, but before I had found either, I have also read Joanne Harris's Blueeyedboy – a book with synæsthesia entwined in its black heart.

Would the conjunction of posts drawing on music and colours have triggered thoughts of synæsthesia if I had not just read a book in which a character is cruelly punished for her childhood claim to “hear the colours”? To be honest, I don't know; it feels as though it would, but who can say. Either way, it did and the world is now one in which I see the posts that way. I see both books differently through the lens of Unreal nature's quotations, and differently again through their conjunction with Blueeyedboy.

I shall now have to go back and reread, for perhaps the dozenth time, Mondays are red which (excuse the pun) wrote the book on synæsthesia as metaphor for the agonising confusion of adolescence.

  • Jean-Luc Nancy (trans: Charlotte Mandell), Listening. 1st ed. 2007, New York: Fordham University Press. 9780823227730 or 0823227731 (pbk.)
  • Victoria Finlay, Color : a natural history of the palette. 2003, New York: Ballantine Books. 0345444302.
  • Joanne Harris, Blueeyedboy. 2010, London: Doubleday. 9780385609517 (pbk.).
  • Nicola Morgan, Mondays are red. 2002, London: Hodder. 0340855568.

1 comment:

Geoff said...

" hear the colours "?
I see abstract coloured shapes "dancing" when listening to any music.