Synaesthesia is a confusion of the senses, whereby stimulation of one sense triggers stimulation in a completely different sensory modality. A synaesthete might claim to be able to hear colours, taste shapes, describe the colour, shape, and flavour of someone's voice, or music, the sound of which looks like 'shards of glass'. Throughout history, many notable artists and writers have claimed to suffer from synaesthesia, including, Arthur Rimbaud, Wassily Kandinsky,
Vladimir Nabakov, and David Hockney. The condition remains as controversial now as when first brought to the public eye many years ago - one notable scientist dismissing it as mere 'romantic neurology.' In Synaesthesia: the strangest thing, a world authority on synaesthesia takes us on a fascinating
tour of this mysterious condition, looking at historical incidences of synaesthesia, unraveling the theories for the condition, and additionally, examining the claims to synaesthesia of the likes of Rimbaud, Baudelaire, and others. The result is an exciting, yet scientific account of an incredible condition - one that will tell us of a world rich with the most unbelievable sensory experiences. From the foreword by Simon Baron-Cohen, University of Cambridge '...Aside from inspiring fellow
researchers, this book will do much to educate the general public about the important but often overlooked point that we do not all experience this universe in the same way. For the most part, synaesthetes would not wish to be free of their synaesthesia and if anything feel somewhat sorry for the
rest of us as we go about our unisensual existence. My guess is that John Harrison's valuable book will ring a colourful bell for many people who until now did not realize that their experience had a name, and who will now be able to identify themselves with like-minded others. For all these reasons, this is quite a book.'
Foreword by Simon Baron-Cohen
1: Confessions of a physicalist
3: Synaesthete extraordinaire?
4: The closet door opens
5: When is synaesthesia not synaesthesia? When it's a metaphor
6: Through a cloudy lens
7: It can't be genetic, can it?
8: Pathology and theory
9: From 'romantic neurology' to the ISA