Ernestine is Claire Nicolas White's latest work of fiction. It is the amusing story of a wildly popular teenaged character in modern Europe whose adventures are based upon the life and times of a ninety-year-old artist who grew up in Europe during World War II. Claire has woven real life encounters with characters such as Peggy Guggenheim, Max Ernst, and Aldous Huxley into her wildly original storyline and the result is an intoxicating literary...
Ernestine is Claire Nicolas White's latest work of fiction. It is the amusing story of a wildly popular teenaged character in modern Europe whose adventures are based upon the life and times of a ninety-year-old artist who grew up in Europe during World War II. Claire has woven real life encounters with characters such as Peggy Guggenheim, Max Ernst, and Aldous Huxley into her wildly original storyline and the result is an intoxicating literary experience.
Claire Nicolas White is a poet, translator, playwright, and the author of a novel, a memoir and three non-fiction books about members of her family. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including the New Yorker, the Partisan Review, the Paris Review, the Hudson Review, Grand Street, Atlantic Monthly and Commonweal.
Claire was born in 1925 in Groet, in the north of Holland. Her father, Joep Nicolas, was a Dutch stained glass painter; her mother, Suzanne Nys, a Belgian sculptress. She went to convent schools in Limburg, then for a year to the École Alsacienne in Paris. With the German invasion imminent her family came to the United States, arriving in Manhattan in 1940. There she attended the Lycée Français, from which she graduated in 1943. She finished her studies as an English major at Smith college. She had a short story and a poem published in Junior Harper’s Bazaar and published a bilingual journal, called Marsyas, which was featured in the magazine. She also translated a memoir by a young French girl, written during the war, for Pantheon Books.
Claire continued to write poems and articles for Vogue and Harper’s, and published a novel, The Death of the Orange Trees (Harper and Rowe, 1963), and Biography and Other Poems (Doubleday, 1981). On Long Island Claire taught dancing and French, and wrote several plays for the Women’s Theatre Repertory. Later she taught poetry and memoir workshops to senior citizens for TAPROOT as well as at the Walt Whitman House, C.W. Post, Long Island University and Stony Brook University.
Over the years she continued to spend time in Holland, composing a book about her father’s work (Joep Nicolas: His Life and Work; Van Spijk, 1979). She also translated three novels from the Dutch and edited a Dutch issue of Columbia University’s Translation magazine, as well as translating French poetry such as Alfred de Musset’s La Nuit de Mai.
Her collection Biography and Other Poems was published by Doubleday in 1981, her memoir, Fragments of Stained Glass by Mercury House in 1989, and The Elephant and the Rose: a Family History in 2003 by Vineyard Press. She edited Stanford White: Letters to his Family for Rizzoli in 1997, and published a book about her late husband’s work (Robert White, Sculptor; Waterline) in 2006. She has been the editor of Oberon magazine for ten years.