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Lausanne, Switzerland, is my birthplace, but not quite where I locate my roots. Though my family is from Boston, my heart first beat in Egypt, where my parents lived for six years and where my brother was born.

One of my closest childhood friends,
engaging here in a favorite activity:

Nimry the cat
Picture taken by Whitall N. Perry

I spent my wild childhood in a home overlooking Lake Geneva and the mountains of Savoy:

View of Lake Geneva
This picture, actually a composite of two,
was taken by Whitall N. Perry, in the 1950s
(see a more recent image of Lake Geneva)

It is my good fortune to be the daughter of an amateur photographer and guitar player, also a writer of religious and philosophical books, among which A Treasury of Traditional Wisdom (Allen & Unwin 1971; Harper & Row, 1986; 2008 edition entitled The Spiritual Ascent: A Compendium of the World's Wisdom). My father passed away in November 2005.

Besides a love of travel and of non-Western cultures, from both my parents I inherited a passion for ideas and for all activities of the intellect.

From Switzerland I moved to Rabat, Morocco, where I lived for ten years and where my daughter Souleyma was born. She now lives between Paris and Washington, DC.

Shown here in 2008 (view another, much older picture)

Souleyma and her cat Amira in Paris, summer 2008

My nomadic inclinations then
led me to the United States.

Lake Monroe, near Bloomington, Indiana

For several years I lived in Bloomington, Indiana, close to Lake Monroe.

At Indiana University, I obtained an MA from the Department of French and Italian, before moving on to Princeton University:

East Pyne Hall, Princeton University

In East Pyne Hall (above), I defended a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures (in what is now the department of French and Italian)

At Princeton I also developed a fascination with French poetry, represented here as a traveler by the Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau:

Gustave Moreau, "Le Poète voyageur"

"Le Poète voyageur" (ca. 1891)
Paris, Musée National Gustave Moreau

An article by Proust on Anna de Noailles' Les Éblouissements (1907), identifying her with Moreau's androgynous "Poète persan," inspired my dissertation on this poet and novelist of La Belle Époque:

Anna de Noailles
This 1921 photograph belongs to the archives
of the Bibliothèque Nationale, in Paris

Read more about Noailles on my page dedicated to authors and literature.

And last, though never least,
two late-comers from the woods in 2000:

Tigony (for Antigone)
[missing as of June 2001]

Tigony the cat

Jamais deux sans trois... Manouche, who adopted us in November 2002 (Golo and Gaya quickly adopted him!)

Manouche the cat

And finally, Teesha, a wonderful cat who joined us in March 2006 (just as bookish as Golo!). Interestingly, she's the dominant cat of the bunch.

Teesha the cat



and her son, the bookish Golo
(named in homage to Proust)

Golo the cat

relaxing here (can you see his head??)
with his companion Gaya, saved from
Animal Control in fall 2001

Golo and Gaya the cats

Gaya asleep
Gaya the cat