Oct 6, 2020 Pat Duffy on “Synesthesia: a hot topic of 19th century Paris salons”
What do Rimbaud, Baudelaire, and 14th century Chinese poet Chang Yu all have in common? All explored the blended perceptions of synesthesia. But what is “synesthesia” and why was it a hot topic of Paris salons in the late 19th century? Why are universities around the world now studying this form of perception? The recent renaissance into synesthesia research has shown synesthetes are eight times more likely to work in artistic professions. Do all of us have the potential to experience this form of perception?
Patricia Lynne Duffy is the author of Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens: how synesthetes color their worlds, the first book by a synesthete about synesthesia, considered a “classic” in the field of synesthesia research (Blue Cats is soon to have an audiobook version with updates). Duffy is also author of the chapter, “Synesthesia and Literature” in The Oxford Handbook of Synesthesia. She is a co-founder of the American Synesthesia Association.
Duffy has been a long-time staff member of the United Nations Language and Communications section. She is on the Management Committee of the UN Staff One Percent for Development Fund and has co-hosted the ‘Authors-for-Literacy’ reading series with fellow-member, Francis Dubois.