What are the different tones in literature


As Synesthesia is a rhetorical stylistic device and also a specialty with regard to the perception of sensory stimuli. The fact that several sensory impressions are mixed with one another is referred to as a stylistic figure. Thus, tones can taste or colors can smell. The stylistic device is typical of Romanticism, but appears in all epochs and genres.

Term & examples

The term can be derived from ancient Greek (συναισϑάνομαι ~ synaisthanomai) and through perceive at the same time or empathize translate. Accordingly, the translation already reveals what the stylistic figure is all about: namely, the simultaneous conveying of several sensory impressions within a literary work. Let's look at an example to illustrate this.

cutie piethe bells neversound
than at Christmas time

This example shows the first two verses the first stanza of a well-known Christmas carol. In the first verse will be the adjectivesweet and the verb sound connected with each other. The bells sound cute. However, the property is sweet at best to be perceived through the taste, whereas the sound is picked up with the ears. So you can't hear the sweetness of a sound.

Accordingly, two different sensory impressions were combined in the example. The effect is that the representational is perceived by the senses. The sound becomes a taste experience, which is definitely close to metaphor and personification (see metaphor examples). Another example.

Listen, the flute is complaining again,
and the cool fountains rustle,

goldenblow themSoundsdown -
Silence, silence, let's listen!

The above stanza is the poem Evening serenade Taken from the writer Clemens Brentano. All kinds of style figures are used here. The flute by the complain personalized that Fountainrustleonomatopoeic, the doubling of the word silence is a Geminatio, where the poem follows the rhyme of the cross. However, found out in the connection golden and Sounds synesthesia too.

Here, too, two sensory impressions are linked. Because sounds can only be heard and not seen. However, the golden can only be perceived through the eyes. The sound becomes a visually perceptible experience. Finally, let's take a look at an example from Eduard Mörike.

The ancient old slumber song
She doesn`t pay attention, she`s tired`;
soundsOf the skyBlue sweeterstill,
The yoke swung like the fleeting hours.

This section from the poem At midnight also shows synaesthesia. Here becomes an object of sight, i.e. that Blueness, in the field of acoustics (audible) transported. Furthermore, the Blueness associated with the sense of taste when it is in the poem as sweet is described. In this case, too, the figure allows a color to be grasped with other senses, which is otherwise not possible.

Note: Combining several sensory impressions can have a reinforcing effect. Furthermore, the otherwise representational can be sensually, i.e. emotionally, grasped and conveyed.

Synesthesia in the literature

Synesthesia can be identified in all literary genres and even appears in many areas of everyday language (warm colors, screaming red, dark tones etc.), but above all we can discover the stylistic device in lyric poetry.

The first major attempt to combine the various sensory impressions, however, we do not find in literature, but in music. Athanasius Kircher, a 17th century scholar, built a so-called Eye organthat should combine the visual with the acoustic.

A mechanism was set in motion by pressing a button, which produced a play of colors in small boxes or glasses. This is an equivalent of this instrument clavessin oculaire, so the eye piano, by Louis B. Castel. Voltaire, a French author of the European Enlightenment, referred to the eye piano as "The music for the eyes".

Nevertheless, we find some products already in antiquity that use the stylistic device, such as in Virgil, a poet and epic poet. However, the pronounced use of synesthesia in Baroque poetry and especially in the works of Romanticism becomes clear and can be regarded as characteristic there. The examples presented at the beginning also come from this time (see literary epochs).

Effect and function of synesthesia

Of course, it is very difficult to ascribe a definite effect or function to a stylistic device. However, style figures always have an effect on the recipient (Reader, listener)what can be described. However, this mode of action should be checked and not simply adopted.

Overview: Features, effect and function of the style figure
  • Synesthesia describes the connection of several sensory impressions and the merging of different sensations (Smell, hearing, sight and touch). One sense organ is addressed and confronted with stimuli from another.
  • On the one hand, this can have an actual double feeling of the lyrical ego as the cause, or it can be interpreted as linguistic and metaphorical condensation. In this way, indescribable, extraordinary sensations can be made tangible.
  • Synesthesia can have a reinforcing and increasing effect. The representational, which is sometimes described, can namely be experienced on a sensual level.

  • Note: The stylistic figure is related to the personification, which humanizes the lifeless, and the metaphor, which ultimately means a linguistic image and a transfer of meaning.