Henry Kreisel, novelist, professor, administrator (born 5 June 1922 in Vienna, Austria ; died 22 Apr 1991 in Edmonton, AB). He was one of the first people to bring the experience of the immigrant to modern Canadian literature.
Henry Kreisel, novelist, professor, administrator (born 5 June 1922 in Vienna, Austria ; died 22 Apr 1991 in Edmonton, AB). He was one of the first people to bring the experience of the immigrant to modern Canadian literature. Drawing on personal knowledge of fascist pre-WWII Austria, Kreisel has powerfully dramatized the anguish experienced by Jews there. He left Austria for England in 1938 and was interned for 18 months during WWII. After studying at the University of Toronto, he began teaching in 1947 at the University of Alberta. He served as vice-president, 1970-75 and in 1975 was named University Professor.
In both Kreisel's novels, Canadian security is contrasted with European turbulence. In The Rich Man (1948), an immigrant who has achieved modest success in Toronto returns to Vienna to discover that his claims to wealth deceive and harm his despairing Austrian relatives. The Betrayal (1964) explores questions of guilt and revenge that arise when a man who has escaped from the Nazis finds his would-be betrayer in Edmonton. The Almost Meeting (1981) is a collection of short stories with a variety of Canadian and European settings. Kreisel's internment diary and other autobiographical materials have been combined with essays on his work by 8 critics in Another Country: Writings By and About Henry Kreisel (1985). He became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1988.