Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023671, Thu, 14 Feb 2013 16:03:06 -0800

Re: Newton's bodkin
Poor Newton! I used to induce those same circles as an insomniac child - no need
for needles or bodkins - just gentle pressure on the inner corner of a closed
eyelid will do the trick.

Carolyn Kunin

p.s. I will admit that mine were very dully colored - grays and yellow grays
mostly. The occasional olive. But I got boxes too.

From: "Fet, Victor" <fet@MARSHALL.EDU>
Sent: Wed, February 13, 2013 7:14:05 PM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] Newton's bodkin

An interesting early (1665) meaning of ‘bodkin’ (not discussed previously as far
as I recall) leads to Newton and color perception self-mutilation...

“Scientists occasionally conduct experiments on themselves. Among the most
famous was Isaac Newton's extraordinary method for probing the nature of colour.
He stuck a bodkin, a long sewing needle with a blunt point, into his eye socket,
between eye and bone, and recorded seeing coloured circles and other visual

See attached! Those in New York city may want to attend.

Victor Fet

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