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Sonic ModernityRepresenting Sound in Literature, Culture and the Arts$
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Sam Halliday

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748627615

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748627615.001.0001

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Seeing Sound

Seeing Sound

(p.89) Chapter 3 Seeing Sound
Sonic Modernity

Sam Halliday

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter addresses alleged, perceived, and longed-for correspondences between sound and vision, the rival and/or complementary sensory realm with which sound has, historically, been most often linked. It does this by first considering Charles Baudelaire’s response to Wagner’s Lohengrin overture, and then addressing sound-sight correspondences posited by a range of poets writing in the wake of Baudelaire, including Mina Loy, Mallarmé, Apollinaire and Hart Crane (the novels of Virginia Woolf also feature in this context). The chapter next addresses attempts at articulating sound-sight correspondences within the visual arts, including painting and ‘silent’ cinema. Hugo Münsterberg’s theory of cinema, Wittgenstein’s ‘rule of translation,’ and nineteenth-century acoustic science are all adduced as further instances where sight-sound correspondences are posited. The chapter next considers music as a supposed mediator between the visual and sonic, and the long tradition of efforts, from the eighteenth century onwards, to establish a discrete art-form, ‘colour music,’ on that basis. Literary and scientific accounts of synaesthesia are surveyed, as are recurrent identifications of writing as something either made by or convertible into sound. In addition to those named above, the chapter also features D. H. Lawrence, Bryher, and the psychologist Morton Prince.

Keywords:   Sight-sound correspondence, Colour Music, Synaesthesia, Acoustic science, Writing

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