The Pleasures of Music: Kate Chopin’s Artistic and Sensorial Synesthesia

  • Eulalia Piñero Gil
Part of the American Literature Readings in the Twenty-First Century book series (ALTC)


In December 1868, the 18-year-old Kate O’Flaherty attended a concert given by the famous Norwegian violinist Ole Bull in Saint Louis. The young artist wrote in her journal about the mesmerizing effects of his performance:

To describe the effect his music had upon me would be impossible. It seemed the very perfection of the art, and while listening to him, I for the first time longed to be blind, that I might drink it all in undisturbed and undistracted by surrounding objects. (Toth et al. 63–64)


Baton Rouge Musical Training Music Theater Dinner Party Indigo Blue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Works Cited

  1. Beckson, Karl. London in the 1890s. A Cultural History. New York: London, 1992. Print.Google Scholar
  2. Black, Martha Fodaski. “The Quintessence of Chopinism.” Kate Chopin Reconsidered. Beyond the Bayou. Eds. Lynda S. Boren and Sara deSaussure Davis. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1999. 95–113. Print.Google Scholar
  3. Boren, Lynda S. “Taming the Sirens: Self-Possession and the Strategies of Art in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening.” Kate Chopin Reconsidered. Beyond the Bayou. Eds. Lynda S. Boren and Sara deSaussure Davis. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UR 1999. 180–96. Print.Google Scholar
  4. Chopin, Kate. The Awakening and Selected Stories. Harmondsworth: Penguin: 1985. Print.Google Scholar
  5. ——. “Wiser than a God.” Kate Chopin. Complete Novels and Stories. New York: The Library of America, 2002. Print.Google Scholar
  6. Cytowic, Rchard E., and David Engleman. Wednesday is Indigo Blue. Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009. Print.Google Scholar
  7. Cytowic, Richard. E. The Man Who Tasted Shapes. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003. Print.Google Scholar
  8. ——. Synesthesia: A Union of the Senses. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002. Print.Google Scholar
  9. Davis, Doris. “The Enigma at the Keyboard: Chopin’s Mademoiselle Reisz.” The Mississippi Quarterly 58: 1–2 (Winter 2004–2005): 89–104. Print.Google Scholar
  10. Dickinson, Emily. Poems by Emily Dickinson. Eds. Mabel Loomis Todd and T. W. Higginson. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1890. PrintGoogle Scholar
  11. Dyer, Joyce. “Symbolism in the Awakening.” Approaches to Teaching Chopin’s The Awakening. Ed. Bernard Koloski. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1988. 126–31. Print.Google Scholar
  12. Ellis, Nancy S. “Insistent Refrains and Self-Discovery: Accompanied Awakenings in Three Stories by Kate Chopin.” Kate Chopin Reconsidered. Beyond the Bayou. Eds. Lynda S. Boren and Sara deSaussure Davis. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1999. 216–29. Print.Google Scholar
  13. Harrison, John E. Synaesthesia. The Strangest Thing. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001. Print.Google Scholar
  14. Harrison, John E., and Simon Baron-Cohen, eds. Synaesthesia: Classic and Contemporary Readings. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 1997. Print.Google Scholar
  15. Helmholtz, Hermann. On the Sensations of Tone. New York: Dover Publications, 1954. Print.Google Scholar
  16. Piñero Gil, Eulalia. “Introducción.” Kate Chopin. El despertar. Madrid: Cátedra, 2013. 9–12. Print.Google Scholar
  17. Radcliff-Umstead, Douglas. “Literature of Deliverance: Images of Nature in The Awakening.” Southern Studies 1.2 (1990): 127–47. Print.Google Scholar
  18. Sagiv, Noam, R. T. Dean, and F. Bailes. “Algorithmic Synaesthesia.” The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music. Ed. R. T. Dean. New York: Oxford UP, 2009. 294–311. Print.Google Scholar
  19. Seaberg, Maureen. Tasting the Universe: People Who See Colors in Words and Rainbows in Symphonies. Pompton Plains, NJ: New Page Books, 2011. Print.Google Scholar
  20. Shaw, George Bernard. The Perfect Wagnerite: A Commentary on the Ring of the Niblungs. London: Grant Rchards, 1898. Print.Google Scholar
  21. Showalter, Elaine. “The Awakening: Tradition and the American Female Talent.” Sister’s Choice. Tradition and the Change in American Women’s Writings. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1994. 65–84. Print.Google Scholar
  22. Thrailkill, Jane F. Affecting Fictions. Mind, Body, and Emotion in American Literary Realism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2007. Print.Google Scholar
  23. ——. “Chopin’s Lyrical Anodyne for the Modern Soul.” Kate Chopin in the Twenty-First Century: New Critical Approaches. Ed. Heather Ostman. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2008. 33–52. Print.Google Scholar
  24. Toth, Emily. Unveiling Kate Chopin. Jackson: UP Mississippi, 1999. Print.Google Scholar
  25. Toth, Emily, Per Seyersted, and Cheyenne Bonnell, eds. Kate Chopin’s Private Papers. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1998. Print.Google Scholar
  26. Wierzynski, Kazimierz. The Life and Death of Chopin. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1949. Print.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Heather Ostman and Kate O’Donoghue 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eulalia Piñero Gil

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations