I go through most days acting as if I understand colour. I dress myself, stop for red lights and go for green, I pick the brightest berries at the supermarket and point to the yellow tree and say, “It’s fall!” or “It’s dying,” depending on the season. But using and understanding are not the same thing. Humans have three colour receptors in their eyes. Mantis shrimp have twelve. Humans, so long as they’re not colour blind, can see somewhere on the order of a million different colours. And the shrimp? Red and yellow and green aren’t as important for them; their complex eyes are trained on the UV spectrum, on light that humans can’t see. So, do they see less colour than we do, or more? Do they see colour at all?
The ontological confusion of colour—what it is, where it is, and what matters about how we see it—is the point of departure for On Color, in which David Scott Kastan, a Shakespeare scholar, and Stephen...
To read this article, you must buy the issue or have LRC Web Full-Text Access.
If you already have Web Full-Text Access to Literary Review of Canada content, please log in with one of the two options below.
If not, sign up today!
- Not already an LRC subscriber? Subscribe today, and be sure to select either the “DIGITAL” or “PRINT and DIGITAL” option. You’ll then be entitled to read this — and other magazine content from past and current issues — in full! (Note: Web Full-Text Access will take effect the following business day.)
- Already a subscriber to the LRC‘s Print edition, but haven’t yet signed up for Web Full-Text Access? Contact us and we’ll reply right away with instructions on how to upgrade your existing subscription.
Log In Option 1
Log In Option 2
* Subscribers who have chosen to receive both the LRC‘s print and digital editions can find their subscriber number in the address area of any recent printed copy cover, above their name; it is six digits long, immediately following “LRC.”