Every accomplishment is a transition

        This is a place of words, that, for me, are times. Lifetimes within which memory moves easily, because here the ages are simultaneous, set free from time’s pull that inexorably carries us forward. The words that belong to it turn into space-time, they constitute a sum and yet remain dynamic, fluid, open to change. New texts will be added, new pictures and videos, and some music.

        Each one may take from it what suits him. On the one hand, there is literature, on the other scholarship; work on both sides. In the literary part, one can find poetry, a tale, a play; in the research part, historical and philosophical texts. For some readers, a form might emerge at the other end of the kaleidoscope. Others will content themselves with  the chosen fragment.

        As thinking has no location, only a virtual site offers the opportunity to bring together what you like, what was and continues to be important to you. In my case, not everything found its immediate expression. During the ten years I have worked with Claude Lanzmann on his documentary film “Shoah”, I did not write very much. Nevertheless, these were my years of apprenticeship. They were of the utmost importance for my outlook on the world and for my later working methods, and they have taught me the importance of memory, and that of faithfulness.

        My commitment to Judaism, which stems from my discovery of the Bible during my adolescence, predates that period. But the experience of “Shoah” impressed its mark upon it and gave it a double orientation. In the decades following my work on the film, I studied Judaism, especially Kabbalah and medieval philosophy. I specialized in compared mysticism, and my studies on mystical language merged with that on poetics. During many years, these subjects were at the heart of most of my essays and lectures, and gave the impulse to many of my poems.

        The second area of my research before and after “Shoah”  was history, mainly the eras before and after Word War II. I wrote a book about the German emigration to France after 1933, and collaborated with Saul Friedländer in the framework of his research  project on collective memory at the University of Los Angeles UCLA, mainly about post-war representation of the Shoah in Germany.

        After a long collaboration – more than ten years – with the Centre d’études juives (université Paris IV) at the Sorbonne, I decided to focus my efforts on a personal project, which is an anthropology of the Five Senses in Western Culture. The purpose of this book is to show the ways in which the shifting conceptions and perceptions we have of our senses determine our way of thinking and doing, so that eventually a whole era may be portrayed by its representation. This study, which has its origin in my practice of music and the frequentation of art, unites all my interests and keeps me occupied to this day.

The composition of this website reflects the above mentioned choices, that are those of my life. It consists of three main parts: 1) Literary texts; 2) Historical and philosophical texts; 3) The Five Senses. For the books and lengthy essays, I have written an abstract and / or an interactive table of contents. A fourth part, “What matters”, is personal and changing, gathering brief descriptions, photos and videos of persons and places; some pieces of art, a little music; my favourite weblinks.

My website is trilingual, for I write sometimes in French, sometimes in German, and at certain points in my life I wrote in English. All texts are reproduced in their original language. Some of them have been published by small university publishers and are difficult to find, other are out of print. There are also texts, like my research work on the Five Senses, which you can find at www.amazon.fr as books, or as downloads for Kindle.


This Website is dedicated to Michel, Ouriel, Rhea and Avital, for the love and confidence shared. 


The contents (texts, images, sounds etc.) of this website are the intellectual property of the author. They are free for consultation but not free of rights.

        You can copy parts of it for personal ends, but not publish them, neither on the internet nor in any other form, without the consent of Corinna Coulmas. You can ask for this consent by e-mail. For every quote, please indicate the source of this website, its address and the name of the author.

        Every use of this website implies the acceptance of the present conditions.

Corinna Coulmas