Letter: A palette for Freud

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Sir: In your interesting account of synaesthesia ('New evidence proves 'coloured lexicon' exists', 31 May), you mention that Liszt and Scriabin associated colours with certain musical notes and the writer Nabokov saw white when he heard the letter 'O'.

One of the most celebrated examples of synaesthesia in modern literature is the poem, 'Voyelles', by Arthur Rimbaud, which begins:

A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu.

The poet goes on to elaborate. The letter 'A', for instance, is (roughly translated) 'black corset, bristling with noisy flies which buzz around cruel stenches'. 'I' is 'purple, spit blood, laughter from beautiful lips in anger or repentant drunkenness'.

We look forward to the Institute of Psychiatry's report.

Yours sincerely,


Chipping Norton,


31 May