Nabokov's Rainbow

Russian author Vladimir Nabokov was known to associate colors with letters and numbers, a phenomena known as synesthesia. In his autobiography Speak, Memory Nabokov goes into detail about this and describes his associations with each letter of the English alphabet. This site is meant to depict a visual approximation of Nabokov’s synesthesia.

Aa

weathered wood / polished ebony

Bb

burnt sienna

Cc

light blue

Dd

creamy (yellow)

Ee

yellow

Ff

alder-leaf

Gg

(hard) vulcanized rubber / (soft) rich rubbery (brown)

Hh

drab shoelace (brown)

Ii

yellow

Jj

paler than soft g brown

Kk

huckleberry

Ll

noodle-limp

Mm

fold of pink flannel

Nn

oatmeal

Oo

ivory-backed hand mirror

Pp

unripe apple

Qq

"browner than k" (blue)

Rr

a sooty rag being ripped

Ss

azure and mother-of-pearl

Tt

pistachio

Uu

brassy with an olive sheen

Vv

rose quartz

Ww

dull green, combined somehow with violet

Xx

steely blue

Yy

bright-golden

Zz

thundercloud

The word for rainbow, a primary, but decidedly muddy, rainbow, is in my private language the hardly pronounceable: kzspygv.

Vladimir Nabokov in Speak, Memory
kzspygv