Advertisement

Neurological Synesthesia vs Literary Synesthesia: Can Nabokov Help Bridge the Gap?

  • Marie Bouchet
Chapter
  • 6 Downloads

Abstract

It is crucial to distinguish between neurological synesthesia (the brain condition that Nabokov had) and “literary” synesthesia, or metaphorical synesthesia—a quite preeminent term in literary studies. Nabokov’s “case” is a very interesting one, as he is a writer whose neural synesthesia is established, and whose texts teem with examples of literary synesthesia—with, however, very few actual references to forms of neurological synesthesia. The aim of this chapter is to see whether one can draw a parallel between Nabokov’s brain condition and his writing. If the connection can seem obvious on a general basis, this chapter aims at showing that the specific issue of synesthesia is not so self-evident, especially in its connection with metaphor, and notably in erotic scenes. The heightened presence of sensory and sensual modalities in these particular texts provides a fitting ground for such an investigation.

Bibliography

  1. Barthes, Roland. 1975. The Pleasure of the Text, trans. R. Miller. New York: Hill and Wang.Google Scholar
  2. ———. 1992. L’Obvie et l’obtus. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  3. Balestrini, Nassim W. 1999. Vladimir Nabokov’s Invitation to a Beheading and Igor Stravinsky’s Petrushka. In Nabokov at the Limits: Redrawing the Critical Boundaries, ed. L. Zunshine, 87–110. New York: Garland.Google Scholar
  4. Baudelaire, Charles. 1974. Selected Poems of Charles Baudelaire, trans. Geoffrey Wagner. New York: Grove Press.Google Scholar
  5. Boyd, Brian. 2005. Nabokov’s Blues and His Drab-shoelace Brown, and His Weathered-Wood Black. Foreword to Vladimir Nabokov: Alphabet in Color, 4–9. New York: Gingko Press.Google Scholar
  6. Chouard, Géraldine. 1995. L’espace érotique dans Ada, or Ardor: ‘Nevada, Nirvana, Vaniada’. In L’Espace littéraire dans la littérature et la culture anglo-saxonnes, ed. B. Brugière, 137–164. Paris: Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle.Google Scholar
  7. Couturier, Maurice. 2014. Nabokov’s Eros and the Poetics of Desire. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cytowic, Richard, and David Eagleman. 2009. Wednesday Is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia. Boston: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  9. Dann, Kevin. 1998. Bright Colors Falsely Seen: Synesthesia and the Search for Transcendental Knowledge. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Day, Sean. 1996. Synesthesia and Synesthetic Metaphors. PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Consciousness 2 (32). http://psyche.cs.monash.edu.au/v2/psyche-2-32-day.html.
  11. Holabird, Jean. 2005. Vladimir Nabokov, An Alphabet in Color. New York: Gingko Press.Google Scholar
  12. Johnson, Don Barton. 1974. Synesthesia, Polychromatism, and Nabokov. In A Book of Things about Nabokov, ed. Carl R. Proffer, 84–103. Ann Arbor: Ardis.Google Scholar
  13. ———. 1975. The Role of Synesthesia in the Work of Vladimir Nabokov. Melbourne Slavonic Studies 9–10: 129–139.Google Scholar
  14. Krieger, Murray. 1992. Ekphrasis, The Illusion of the Natural Sign. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. 1980. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  16. Lambert, Hervé-Pierre. 2011. La synesthésie. Vues de l’intérieur. Épistémocritique VIII: Printemps. http://www.epistemocritique.org/spip.php?article210. Accessed 4 July 2018.
  17. Louvel, Liliane. 2011. Poetics of the Iconotext, trans L. Petit. London: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  18. Lvovich, Natasha. 2012. The ‘Gift’: Synesthesia in Translingual Texts. L2 Journal 4 (2). http://escholarship.org/uc/item/0k59250t. Accessed 4 July 2018.
  19. Nabokov, Vladimir. 1937. Despair. Reprint, New York: Vintage, 1991.Google Scholar
  20. ———. 1938. Laughter in the Dark. Reprint, New York: New Directions, 1991.Google Scholar
  21. ———. 1939. The Enchanter, trans. Dmitri Nabokov. Reprint, New York: Vintage, 1991.Google Scholar
  22. ———. 1951. Voluptates Tactionum. Reprint, Collected Poems. London: Penguin, 2012. 182.Google Scholar
  23. ———. 1955. The Annotated Lolita. Reprint, New York: Vintage, 1995.Google Scholar
  24. ———. 1963. The Gift, trans. M. Scammell with the collaboration of the author. Reprint, New York: Vintage, 1991.Google Scholar
  25. ———. 1966. Speak, Memory. Reprint, New York: Vintage, 1989.Google Scholar
  26. ———. 1969. Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle. Reprint, Novels 1969–1974: Ada, Transparent Things, Look at the Harlequins!, ed. Brian Boyd. New York: Library of America, 1996.Google Scholar
  27. ———. 1973. Strong Opinions. New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  28. ———. 1974. Look at the Harlequins! Reprint, Novels 1969–1974: Ada, Transparent Things, Look at the Harlequins!, ed. Brian Boyd. New York: Library of America, 1996.Google Scholar
  29. ———. 1995. The Short Stories of Vladimir Nabokov. Reprint, New York: Vintage, 2002.Google Scholar
  30. Packman, David. 1982. Vladimir Nabokov: The Structure of Literary Desire. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press.Google Scholar
  31. Ramachandran, Vilayanur, and Edward Hubbard. 2001. Synesthesia: A Window into Perception, Thought and Language. Journal of Consciousness Studies 8 (12): 3–4.Google Scholar
  32. ———. 2003. Hearing Colors, Tasting Shapes. Scientific American 288 (May): 53–59.Google Scholar
  33. Seitz, John. 2005. The Neural, Evolutionary, Developmental, and Bodily Basis of Metaphor. New Ideas in Psychology 23: 74–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Starr, Gabrielle. 2010. Multisensory Imagery. In Introduction to Cognitive Cultural Studies, ed. L. Zunshine, 275–291. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Sweeney, Susan Elizabeth. 2002. Looking at Harlequins: Nabokov, the World of Art and the Ballets Russes. In Nabokov’s World: Volume 2—Reading Nabokov, ed. J. Grayson, A. McMillin, and P. Meyer, 73–95. New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  36. Ward, Jamie. 2003. State of the Art—Synesthesia. The Psychologist 16 (4): 196–199.Google Scholar
  37. Wunenburger, Jean-Jacques. 1997. Philosophie des images. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie Bouchet
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ToulouseToulouseFrance

Personalised recommendations