Baudelaire on synesthesia in Artificial Paradises  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Baudelaire on synesthesia in Artificial Paradises.

"The senses become extraordinarily acute and fine. The eyes pierce Infinity. The ear seizes the most unseizable sounds in the midst of the shrillest noises. Hallucinations commence. External objects take on monstrous appearances and show themselves under forms hitherto unknown. . . . The most singular equivocations, the most inexplicable transposition of ideas, take place. Sounds are perceived to have a colour, and colour becomes musical."
Excerpt from Les paradis artificiels via Baudelaire, his prose and poetry

French original

C’est en effet à cette période de l’ivresse que se manifeste une finesse nouvelle, une acuité supérieure dans tous les sens. L’odorat, la vue, l’ouïe, le toucher participent également à ce progrès. Les yeux visent l’infini.
L’oreille perçoit des sons presque insaisissables au milieu du plus vaste tumulte. C’est alors que commencent les hallucinations. Les objets extérieurs prennent lentement, successivement, des apparences singulières ; ils se déforment et se transforment. Puis arrivent les équivoques, les méprises et les transpositions d’idées. Les sons se revêtent de couleurs, et les couleurs contiennent une musique. [1]

Different translation

"Sounds clothe themselves in. colours, and colours contain music."
--My Heart Laid Bare and Other Prose Writings

See also




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