With Jutta in Central Park

Ulma in Normandy

A tragicomic novel set in Manhattan in the 1980s with intertwined themes: German-Jewish love-hatred fascination; cabala and the golem; genetic printing and the clone; photography and its prints.

Selected Works

Comparative poetics
Indian and African Poets of Mixed Origin as Possibility of Comparative Poetics
Fiction
"A remarkable piece of work..."
–Henry Grinberg, professor of Medieval Studies, currently psychoanalyst, author of Variations on the Beast
Poetic prose
« Call from the depths, vibrations of the African soul in the work of the poet and statesman » (Edouard Maunick)

Quick Links

Biography

Born in Germany a long time ago – although not long enough to have lived through the Nazi years – I was, however, impregnated by the atmosphere and images that had marked my native region, the western-most part of Germany along the Rhine: petty-bourgeois residue of the Weimar Republic, followed by fascism, with the aesthetic background of art deco, Hitlerian cesarism, expressionism, and “new objectivity.”

My father was a third-generation photographer, grandson of a pupil of Daguerre. A gifted artist, but politically naïve, he had been pushed by Propagandaminister Goebbels to become assistant to Hitler’s personal photographer Heinrich Hoffmann.

The romantic Rhenish towns of my youth were sites of Germanic legend (Nibelungs complete with Siegfried and "Rheingold"),as well as of medieval kabbalah (the acronym of Speyer, Worms, Mainz forms "shum,"the Hebrew word for garlick, hence "shum towns." And there was Bacharach which so fascinated Heinrich Heine. It may be my imagination, but I still feel the cultural schism across centuries, It caused a tension within myself between, on the one hand, nostalgia for the past: there was my grandparents’ Biedermeier furniture – Biedermeier means “meek little chap”—so homely and uncanny at the same time, dark sculpted wood forming serpents around cozy cushions; on the other hand, there was the provocative vanguard of the spoilt youth of the “economic miracle.”

This dichotomy may trigger in me a conflict between a conditioned reflex of reactionary prejudices and total openness towards the other, an ambiguity which, to this day, informs my thematic choices, especially my novel on which I have been working for ten years.

After the “Humanistische Gymnasium” (high school concentrating on Latin and Greek), studies of Law in Munich (dropped because of boredom), studies of Political Science in Paris (dropped because of passionate love), marriage to a French count with whom I spent too much time following the jet-set, an occupation whose only benefit was the acquisition of five modern languages. During a second marriage to a professor of Russian origin, I tried to become serious and to give my life structure. I earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University in Comparative Literature (German, French, Spanish, Russian), then taught as an associate professor at the State University of New York

Daughter of a Nazi family, I live with my Jewish husband in the center of Manhattan, but spend the summers in Normandy, surrounded by cows and potatoes. There my work is slowed down considerably, because my dog Jutta and mare Ulma pretend to have an exclusive claim to my time. However, they do reflect my commitment to animal and environmental causes. I frequently visit Paris where my daughter and her family live. I'm also academically active as a member of the Maison des Ecrivains (association sponsored by the city of Paris and the Ministry of Culture) and of the Editorial Committee of the academic review Passages.

Books
Salt Prints, a novel, 2009

http:/​/​www.amazon.com/​Salt-Prints-Christine-Lailhacar/​dp/​1615462880 ].
http:/​/​search.barnesandnoble.com/​Salt-Prints/​Christine-De-Lailhacar/​e/​9781615462889

The Mestizo As Crucible : Andean Indian and African Poets of Mixed Origin As Possibility of Comparative Poetics. New York-Bern-Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1996
(Written during paid leave of absence, grant from Nuala Mc Gann Drescher Fund of the State University of New York. As a selection of the Poetry Society of America, it figured in the 6th Annual Poets House Showcase, 1998, in New York).

Articles and contributions to essay collections (Selection) :
- « Sign, Eros, Emptiness : The Japan of Roland Barthes » in Collection of the Monterey Institute of International Studies. I. Armitage, ed. Monterey, CA, 1985

- « Foyers littéraires : Essai socio-sémiotique » in Noesis II, Barcelona,

« The Mirror and the Encyclopedia » in Edna Aizenberg, ed. Borges and His Successors. Columbia and London : University of Missouri Press, 1990

« This Afternoon, my Love : Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz » Encyclopedia Masterplots II, California : Salem Press, 1992

« Magic Mix : African Tradition and the Contemporary Metis , » in Power of Narration: Proceedings of the XIIIth ICLA Congress, Will van Peer, ed. Tokyo : University of Tokyo Press, 1995

« Fragments of Fictional Memory As Building Blocks of Identity » in Proceedings of the XXVth ICLA Congress, Leyden, NL, 1997

« L’inquiétant étranger, » in Passages, Paris, 1996

« Svastika petit-bourgeois, » Passages, Paris

« Peuple ou population ? Volk oder Bevölkerung, la querelle folklorique du Bundestag » Passages, Nov.2000

« Viktor Klemperer : Fidélité du coeur contre lucidité de la raison » Passages, 2001

« L’autre ? Connais pas. L’air du temps post-political correctness » Passages, 2006

« Léopold Sedar Senghor ou l’appel des profondeurs, » in Senghor – Mémoire, Paris: Editions UNESCO, 2006

« Autor-actor-auctor : le discours autoritaire » Passages, 2007

« Viekhi iourisproudentsii vo vremeni i istorii », Sakonodatel’tsvo II, 11, Moscou 2008

« Autofiction et vol d’identité, » Passages, June 2009

"Tourbillons d'etincelles creatices: Paul Celan et Anselm Kiefer Passages, January 2013 #173

"Epoque sauvage/​Passion disciplinee" to be published in Passages in June 2014