- Nabokov, Vladimir Vladimirovich
- (1899-1977)A Russian-American novelist and short story writer who experienced * synaesthesias of the grapheme-colour type, meaning that he perceived coloured textures and shapes in association with letters of the alphabet. Nabokov referred to his own condition as colour hearing, although he was well aware that sounds were not involved in the experience. As he wrote in his autobiography, "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 (and it is this alphabet I have in mind farther on unless otherwise stated) 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 bag being ripped). Oatmeal n, noodle-limp l, and the ivory-backed hand mirror of o take care of the whites. I am puzzled by my French on which I see as the brimming tension-surface of alcohol in a small glass. Passing on to the blue group, there is steely x, thundercloud z, and huckleberry k. Since a subtle interaction exists between sound and shape, I see q as browner than k, while s is not the light blue of c, but a curious mixture of azure and mother-of-pearl. Adjacent tints do not merge, and diphthongs do not have special colors of their own, unless represented by a single character in some other language (thus the fluffy-gray, three-stemmed Russian letter that stands for sh [X], a letter as old as the rushes of the Nile, influences its English representation)."ReferencesNabokov, V. (1966). Speak, memory: An autobiography revisited. New York, NY: Vintage Books.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.