Synesthesia and the Novel


One of the advantages to a liberal arts education is that one gains an appreciation for the various classical disciplines in an interdisciplinary manner. So what, you ask? If you are party to significant historical events, you may find it makes sense to transfer the angst of war, for instance, into painting, as Picasso did with his Guernica.

If you’re a writer living in a period of historical upheaval, as Nadine Gordimer has, you might find it leaves a longer impression with the reader to use the sensibilities of painting and art to write a fictional account set in such an era.

Gordimer did just that in her novel, My Son’s Story, and the synesthesia-like effect of near-flawless writing coupled with a painters sensibilities makes the story come alive in a sensory manner that’s hardly possible using only the written word.


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