NABOKV-L post 0020951, Thu, 4 Nov 2010 16:59:33 -0200

[NABOKOV-L] Havelock Ellis and Andre Breton: Chromesthesia.
Dear List,

I'll soon start to believe in book-fairies, or in André Breton's surrealistic theories for, while I was dusting a book-case, I found a dismantled pocket-edition of his "Les Vases Communicants." The back-pages announced the author's intention to demonstrate the nature of "reality/fiction" because he believes that "the real world and the dream world are one and the same."
Opening the book at random, on a line about a violet-eyed Russian named Olga, which he related to Rimbaud's "Voyelles" ( "O l'Oméga, rayon violet de Ses Yeux."), there was another unexpected reference to Havelock Ellis* and synesthesia. Breton was then exploring the origins of his intense dislike of everything violet/purple.

I had no idea of the extent of Ellis' influence on literature,** outside the field of dreams and psychopathology.

*Unfortunately Breton didn't mention where, in H.Ellis, lies the report about a research pursued by a certain Urbantschtisch in connection to synesthesia (chromestaesia and the connection between color and pitch). Google-search led me to various links, which may interest the Nab-List in connection to Jean Holabird's book ( Vladimir Nabokov, Alphabet in Color) and to Nabokov's abilities.
Most of bibliographic items came from "An experimental attempt to produce artificial chromasthesia by the technique of the conditioned response. Originally published in Journal of Experimental Psychology, 17[3], pages 315-41, 1934 By E. Lowell Kelly".
Argelander, A., Das FarbenhOren soul der Synasthetische Faktor der Wahrnehmung, pp. 172
Gustav Fischer, Jena, 1927;
Ellis, Havelock, Mescal: A study of a divine plant, Popular Science Monthly, 1902, 61, 52-71.
Galton, Sir Francis, Inquiries into Human Faculty;.
Von Goethe, J. W., Zur Farbenlehre, Naturw. Schriften, 4Bd., 2 Abt.;
Kaiser, H., Assoziation der Worte mit Farben, f. Augenheilkunde, 1882, II, 96;
Krohn, W. O., Pseudo-chrommsthesia or the association of colors with words, letters, and sounds, Mmes. Jour. of Psych., 1892, 5, 20-41;
Lundboig H., Die Vererbung des Farbenhorens and gewisser anderer psychische Eigenschaften innerhalb einer Schwedischen Geschlechts, Act. med. Scand., 1923, 59, 221-229;
Marling, F., Das Problem der Audition Coloree, Arch. f. d. ges. Psych., 1926, 57, 165-3o1.;.
Nussbaumer, J. A., Uber Subjektiv Farbenempfindungen usw., Med. Wochenschrift, Nos. I, 2, and 3, Vienna;
Schenkl, A., Fiber Assoziation der Worte mit Farben, Prag. Med. Wochenschrift, 1883, lo, 94, and zz, IOI.;
Stevens, J. S., Colors of letters, Popular Science Monthly, 1892, 40, 697.;
Wheeler, R. H., The synaesthesia of a blind subject, Univ. of Oregon Publications, 1920, 1, No. 5.;

Accounts of the Russian memory expert "S" by Luria, March 2001 issue of APA's Monitor on Psychology.

** - Glenn S. Burne. "Havelock Ellis: An Annotated Selected Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Works." English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920 9, no. 2 (1966): 55-107. (accessed November 4, 2010).

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