Marc Tiefenauer

Photograph © Alexander Harbaugh, 2011

Born in the French speaking region of Switzerland, I knew very early—as soon as I was able to read Beatrix Potter’s works—that I would be a book worm growing in the shadow of shelves, enjoying the perfume of rag paper and dust. Reading common books wasn’t sufficiently mysterious and cryptic for me and I developed an inclination for “hermetic” languages: the ancient ones (Greek, Latin) and those used with computers1.

Once in university, after years of algebra and physics in secondary school, I decided to start anew with fresh food for thought. I chose to study Sanskrit, Chinese and Tibetan, following my interest in buddhism.

I eventually did a master’s thesis about hells as depicted in the Purāṇas, i.e. ancient brāhmaṇic texts dealing with life, the universe and everything.

Hells didn’t promise enough sleepless nights and I started working as copywriter for an ad agency right after my M.A. Five years later, as my fingers weren’t aching enough, I chose to reactivate an old virus: programming. I had intense web design2 courses and read meters of coding literature (mainly about Ajax3) before starting to work as web developer.

Even during these years of business oriented activities, asian languages have stayed in my mind. Thus, in the autumn of 2010, I started a doctorate in Indian studies and—as the Force was with me—I got the a job perfectly fitting my training and my love for books: scientific librarian in charge of the oriental collections of my university4; luckily the biggest ones for miles around.

  1. At that time: Basic, Pascal, Cobol, dBase.
  2. XHTML, CSS, PHP/MySQL and JavaScript.
  3. I. e. Asynchronous JavaScript and XML
  4. Université de Lausanne (UNIL), Switzerland.