Vladimir Nabokov could hear color. As he described it –(via Bookish)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 . . . 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). Oatmeal n, noodle-limp l, and the ivory-backed hand mirror of o take care of the whites.
03 March 2006
When "A" is for weathered wood
A lovely new book (illustrated by Jean Holabird and with a luminous forward by Brain Boyd) lets us in on Nabokov's synesthesiac sense of the alphabet: