Henry Kreisel:

An Inventory of His Papers at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

Inventory prepared by Heinz Kattenfeld
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
Winnipeg, MB

Finding aid encoded by Julianna Trivers (July 2002)
Finding aid written in English.

Revision History

  • July 26, 2005 - MSS 59, PC 79, TC 50 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

Collection Summary

University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
331 Elizabeth Dafoe Library, Winnipeg MB R3T 2N3

Henry Kreisel

Henry Kreisel fonds

[ca. 1940]-1990

2 m of textual records. -- 7 photographs. -- 11 audio cassettes.

MSS 59, PC 79, TC 50


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Biography of Henry Kreisel

Chronology of Important Dates

1922 Henry Kreisel born in Vienna, Austria

1938 Kreisel leaves Austria for England

1940 Kreisel arrested as an enemy alien and interned in Canada

1946 Received B.A. from University of Toronto

1947 Received M.A. from University of Toronto

1947 Began teaching at the University of Alberta

1948 Published his first novel, The Rich Man

1954 Received Ph.D. from the University of London, England

1961 Appointed as Head of the English Department, University of Alberta

1964 Published his second novel, The Betrayal

1970 Appointed as Academic Vice President, University of Alberta

1975 Appointed as University Professor, University of Alberta

1981 Published The Almost Meeting and Other Stories

1985 Published Another Country (edited by Shirley Neuman)

1987 Appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada

1991 Died April 22, 1991. Age 68.

Biographical Sketch

Henry Kreisel was born in Vienna, Austria, on June 5, 1922, and received his early education in that city. He left Vienna in 1938, after the Nazi annexation of Austria, and went to England. In May 1940 Britain interned refugees who had German or Austrian nationality, and sent several hundred of them to internment camps in Canada. Henry Kreisel was among them. He was released in November 1941 and resumed his studies.

He studied English Literature at the University of Toronto, where he had a very distinguished academic career, leading his class for four years and winning 11 major scholarships. He received his B.A. in 1946. That year he won the Reuben Wells Leonard Fellowship for post-graduate study and completed his M.A. in 1947.

In the fall to 1947 Henry Kreisel joined the Department of English at the University of Alberta, and taught there until 1952, when he went to the University of London (England) on a fellowship awarded to him by the Royal Society of Canada. He completed his study for the Ph.D. in 1954. His doctoral dissertation was entitled The Problem of Exile and Alienation in Modern Literature .

Henry Kreisel returned to the University of Alberta in 1954. He became a full professor of English in 1959. In 1961 he became Head of the Department of English, a position he held until 1967, when he became Senior Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. In 1969-70 he was Acting Dean of the Faculty, and in the spring of 1970 he was named Vice-President (Academic) of the University. He served as Vice-President for five years.

In 1975 he was given the rank of University Professor. In 1975-76 he was invited to be a Visiting Fellow of Wolfson College, in the University of Cambridge. When he returned to the University of Alberta in the fall of 1976, he taught in the Department of Comparative Literature, and also gave graduate seminars in the Department of Drama.

Henry Kreisel has held a number of major offices in provincial and national organizations. He was President of the Association of the Academic Staff of the University of Alberta in 1959-60, and President of the Association of Canadian University Teachers of English in 1962-63. He was Chairman of the Canada Council Post-graduate Scholarships Committee for English Literature from 1963 to 1965. From 1966 to 1969 he served on the Governor-General's Award Jury for Literature. In 1966 he was elected to serve a three-year term as a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Alberta.

In 1960 Henry Kreisel was made a Fellow of the International Institute of Arts and Letters (Geneva), and in 1970 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (London).

Henry Kreisel has been an advisor to both provincial and federal governments, most recently (in the fall of 1987) to the Secretary of State, who asked him to draw up plans for the establishment of a Heritage Languages Institute in Western Canada. Since 1977 he has been a member of the President's Advisory Committee on Campus Reviews, charged with arranging and overseeing a comprehensive system of reviews of all departments, both academic and non-academic, of the University of Alberta.

Henry Kreisel is the author of two novels, The Rich Man (1948), and The Betrayal (1964), and of a collection of short stories, The Almost Meeting (1981). Some new as well as hitherto uncollected writings have been published in a volume edited by Professor Shirley Neuman, Another Country: Writings by and about Henry Kreisel (1985). He has also written many essays and articles on literature and culture. His essay "The Prairie: A State of Mind" (1968) is generally regarded as a seminal study of the literature of the Canadian West, and has been widely re-published. His short stories have been reprinted in many anthologies, notably The Best American Short Stories 1966 ; The Best modern Canadian Short Stories ; The Spice Box: An Anthology of Jewish Canadian Writing ; The Oxford Anthology of Canadian Literature . He has also written plays, and his writings have been translated into a number of foreign languages.

Henry Kreisel's work both as teacher and writer has been recognized by major awards, notably the President's Medal of the University of Western Ontario in 1960 and the J.I. Segal Foundation (Montreal) Award in 1983. In 1986 the University of Alberta awarded him the A.C. Rutherford Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Government of Alberta awarded him the Sir Frederick Haultain Prize for significant contributions to the Fine Arts.

In 1987 Henry Kreisel was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Henry Kreisel's major contribution to Canadian literature has been to bridge two worlds - the European and the Canadian. He has explored, in the words of literary critic Neil Besner, "the ruptures, discontinuities, and `almost meetings' between Old World characters and visions." The poet Miriam Waddington has written that "the distinguishing qualities of Kreisel's work are his belief in the need for witness and community, his moral concern, and the ease with which he moves between Canadian and European landscapes."

Henry Kreisel married Esther Lazerson in 1947. They had one son, Dr. Philip Kreisel. Henry Kreisel died April 22, 1991 at the age of 68.

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Scope and Contents of the Papers

This collection includes manuscripts of all of Henry Kreisel's novels and short stories. Most of the collection is made up of diaries, correspondence, manuscripts and notes from the 1940's to the present. The material in this collection is essential for following Kreisel's literary development, from his Internment Camp diaries and notebooks to his novels and literary essays.

There is also a significant amount of correspondence, both personal and business. The personal correspondence includes letters to and from Kreisel's family and close friends and writers. The business correspondence deals with publishers, editors, universities, and a number of organizations. Through the correspondence one can see Kreisel's own thoughts, as well as how others felt towards Kreisel; usually with the utmost respect.

Many essays are also included. Kreisel wrote about a variety of topics, and many others wrote about his work, or sent him essays asking for his advice. Most of this collection deals with the literary and personal development of Kreisel as reflected in the manuscripts, essays and correspondence.

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Organization of the Papers

This collection is organized into 12 series.

  • Biographical, 1949-1989
  • Correspondence, n.d.
  • Speeches, Committees and Organizations, n.d.
  • Manuscripts, n.d.
  • Reviews, n.d.
  • Essays & Theses, n.d.
  • Adaptations of Kreisel's Works, n.d.
  • Articles, n.d.
  • Sketches, n.d.
  • University Career, n.d.
  • Photograph Collection (PC 79)
  • Tape Collection (TC 50)

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Restrictions on Use

This collection is open to all users. Copyright must be respected and permission to publish any findings must be granted by Henry Kreisel and or the University of Manitoba Department of Archives & Special Collections.

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Custodial History

H. Kreisel kept his papers well organized and the manuscripts followed their chronological development. The correspondence was separated into incoming and outgoing as some of the letters and their replies were kept together. Other writers work also had to be separated.

The existing arrangement places primary importance on Kreisel's diaries and personal correspondence. The manuscripts are filed chronologically, as are outside works dealing with Kreisel or those simply sent to him for advice.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Biographical 1949-1989
11 Internment camp diaries, related correspondence, and biographical material
2 Diary fragments (1949, 1955, 1970)
3 Journey notes, Turkey 1989, Greece/Egypt 1982, and China 1988 1982-1989

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Correspondence n.d.
14 Immediate family
5 Mendel Family
6 McClelland Stewart
7 Sybil Hutchinson, editor of McClelland Stewart until 1950
8 C.B.C. and Robert Weaver, literary editor at C.B.C.
9 Dealing with Kreisel's university student career
21 Publishing houses and editors
Incoming Correspondence from other writers:
22 Arnold to Gold
3 Greenstein to Mathews
4 McConnell to Zacharaseiwicz
5 Outgoing correspondence to writers
6 Letters of thanks, congratulations and Christmas cards
Miscellaneous incoming correspondence:
27 Alberta - Crossing Frontiers
8 Diefenbaker - Nicol
9 Ontario - Zilber
31 Miscellaneous outgoing correspondence

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Speeches, Committees and Organizations n.d.
32 Kreisel's speeches, lectures and addresses
3 Kreisel's involvement with organizations and committees
4 Notes and correspondence concerning the Governor General Awards Committee

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Manuscripts n.d.
35 Manuscripts of internment camp writings
Internment camp notebooks:
36 "The Torch of Hate"
7 short stories and poems
41 "The Rich Man"
2 "Games of Confidence", background material and notes
3 "Games of Confidence"
4 Typescript of "Games of Confidence"
45 "Matters of Confidence"
6 "Stappler Manuscript"
7 "The Betrayal" (pages 1-129)
8 "The Betrayal" (pages 130-244), first postscript and an undated poem
51 Typescript of "The Betrayal"
2 Final typescript of "The Betrayal"
3 Kreisel's Ph.D. thesis, "The Problem of Exile and Alienation in Modern Literature
4 The first two chapters of an unfinished novel, "The Long Journey" and a published article, "Bad Lands Sculptor" and related correspondence
5 "To Visit Mother Rachel's Grave" - Manuscripts of this short story and background material
61 "Sholom Aleichem", literary and radio version
2 "The Almost Meetin", "The Chassidic Song", and "Homecoming"
3 "Annerl", "An Anonymous Letter" and "The Travelling Nude"
4 "Two Sisters in Geneva" and "The Broken Globe"
5 Typescripts of short stories collected for "The Almost Meeting and Other Stories"
6 Typescript of "The Almost Meeting"
7 Radioscripts of "He who sells his Shadow" and "Father and Son"
8 Manuscript of "A Middleaged Casanova"
71 Academic essays (high school - Ph.D. level) by Kreisel with related correspondence
2 Essays written by Kreisel for publication
3 Typescripts for Radio talks
4 Typescript I of "Another Country"
5 Final Typescript of "Another Country"
6 Unfinished stories of Kreisel's

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Reviews n.d.
81 Reviews by Kreisel and related correspondence (1) A-N
2 Reviews by Kreisel (2) O-Z, and Newspaper articles by Kreisel
3 Reviews and articles written about Kreisel

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Essays and Theses n.d.
84 Essays written about Kreisel and related correspondence
5 German essays about Kreisel and translations of "The Rich Man" and "Two Sisters in Geneva"
6 Undergraduate essays written about Kreisel
M.A. Thesis:
87 "Alienation in Kreisel's Fiction and Criticism" by Carolyn Hlus
91 "Une Rencontre, ou Presque" by Frederique Moureton
2 "Across a Broken Globe, the Fiction of Henry Kreisel" by Barbara Newborn
3 Kreisel's interview with mervin Butovsky and related material

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Adaptations of Kreisel's Works n.d.
94 Stage adaptation of "The Broken Globe" by Frank Moher, and related material
5 Radio adaptation of "The Broken Globe" by Frank Moher
6 Stage adaptation 1 "The Rich Man" by Joanne Osborne
7 Stage adaptation 2 "The Rich Man" by Joanne Osborne
8 Stage adaptation 3 "The Rich Man" by Joanne Osborne and Gerry Potter
9 Stage adaptation 4 "The Rich Man" by Joanne Osborne and Gerry Potter
101 Stage adaptation (final draft) "The Rich Man" by Joanne Osborne and Gerry Potter

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Articles 1960-1985 and n.d.
102 Publications containing articles written by or concerning Kreisel or of interest to him including The Readings of Writers at the Annual Meeting of the Humanities Association of Canada, 1960
3 "Diary of Internment" published in White Pelican Summer, 1974
4 "Homecoming" published in Klanak Islands , and The Almost Meeting and Other Stories . 1959-1981
5 Another Country, Writings by and About Henry Kreisel 1985
11 Scrapbook containing newspaper clippings dealing mostly with The Rich Man

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Sketches n.d.
11 Unsigned pencil sketch of Henry Kreisel

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University Career 1939-1988
121 Speech on the re-opening of the Arts Building, 1988
2 Correspondence - University courses, 1966-1986
3 Course Introductions & related material, n.d.
4 Course Bibliographies, n.d.
5 English 496 Essay Exam, 1978
6 Doctoral Exams in Comparative Literature, 1979-1985
7 English 354 - essay assignments, exams, reading lists & notes, 1979-1987
8 Drama 402 - exam, 1977
9 English 302 - exams, essay assignments & reading list, 1980-86
10 English 301 - essay assignments, exams & reading list, 1979-1986
11 English 300 - essay assignments & exams, 1976-79
12 Exam Notes - English 300, 301, 302, n.d.
13 University of Toronto Exams, 1945-46
14 English 2 & 51 - exams, 1958
15 English 52 - essay assignment & exams, 1955-58
16 English 63 - exams, 1948-1955
17 English 210 - exams, 1964-66
18 English 250, 676 exams & English 392 essay assignment 1963
19 English 64 - exams & essay assignments, 1939-1959
20 English 380 - exams & essay assignments, 1959-1966
21 English 390, 392, 398 - exams, 1961-62
22 English 384 - exam, n.d.
23 Notes and Handwritten Exam drafts for English 64 & 382, 1951 -
24 English 348, 1960
25 Exams Pre-Doctoral Studies, 1963
20th Century Novel Lectures:
1226 Novel and novella, 1949
27 Writers and Painters, n.d.
28 Conrad, Lord Jim, n.d.
29 Conrad, Heart of Darkness , n.d.
30 Conrad, notes & background materials, n.d.
31 Conrad, chapter V "Joseph Conrad: Man as Exile, n.d.
32 Conrad, Nigger , n.d.
33 Dickens, Great Expectations , n.d.
34 Foster, A Passage to India , n.d.
35 Fry, "The Lady's not for Burning", n.d.
36 Galsworthy, "Justice and Strife", n.d.
37 Hardy, n.d.
38 Hopkins, n.d.
131 Housman, n.d.
2 Huxley, n.d.
3 Joyce, n.d.
4 Lawrence, n.d.
5 Lawrence, n.d.
6 Lewis, n.d.
7 O'Casey, n.d.
8 Short Story, n.d.
9 Stracley, n.d.
10 Synge, n.d.
11 Waugh, n.d.
12 Wells, n.d.
13 Wilde, n.d.
14 Woolf, n.d.
15 Yeats, n.d.
16 Canadian Literature, two essays by Kreisel, n.d.
Poetry and Drama:
1317 Art-General, n.d.
18 Artist and the middle class, n.d.
19 Obscenity and pornography in literature, n.d.
20 Literature and psychology, n.d.
21 Status of Arts and Artist, n.d.
22 Harley Granville - Barker, n.d.
23 Bennett, Arnold, n.d.
24 T.S. Eliot, Poetry, n.d.
25 Dante, n.d.
26 Cervantes
27 C.S. Lewis
28 Joseph's Story-Bible
29 Kreisel Speech in commemoration of William Freifield, 1989
30 Symbolism
31 Impressionism
32 Futurism
141 Expressionism, 1972
2 Cubism, n.d.
3 Symbolism and Imagism, n.d.
4 Bauhaus, n.d.
5 Absurdism, n.d.
6 Shakespeare and Elizabeathan Drama, n.d.
7 Williams, n.d.
8 Strindbery, n.d.
9 Shaw, n.d.
10 Pinter, n.d.
11 O'Casey, n.d.
12 Miller, n.d.
13 Maeterlinde, n.d.
14 Jarry, n.d.
15 Ionescu, n.d.
16 Ibsen, n.d.
17 Hauptmann, n.d.
18 Goethe, n.d.
19 Gilber
20 Delaney
21 Chekhov
22 Art and Dramatic Literature
23 Brook
24 Background-Modern Drama
25 Naturalism
26 Director in Modern Drama
Comparataive Literature:
1427 Auden
28 Eliot, Wasteland
29 Eliot, Drama
30 Everyman
31 Flaubert
32 Homer
33 Hrafnkel's Saga
34 Kafka
35 Marlowe
36 Moliere
37 Shakespeare
38 Sophocles
39 Tolstoy
40 Voltaire
41 Beckett
42 Tragedy
43 Brecht
151 Buchner
2 Cocteau
3 Craig & Appia
4 Cezanne
5 Literature and Art
6 Dada and Surrealism
7 Streams of Consciousness
8 Literary Styles
9 Music and other Arts
10 Relationship of Arts
11 Middle Class and Art
12 Reinterpretation
Materials Re: Literary History of Canada (LHC)
1513 Correspondence
14 Kreisel's Notes and related materials
15 LHC Reviews

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Photograph Collection (PC 79)
11 "The Cherry Orchard" (black & white) n.d.
1 "The Cherry Orchard" (black & white) n.d.
1 "The Cherry Orchard" (black & white) n.d.
1 "The Cherry Orchard" (black & white) n.d.
1 "The Cherry Orchard" (black & white) n.d.
1 "The Cherry Orchard" (black & white) n.d.
1 Photograph of Henry Kreisel, with portrait ofKreisel painted by Barker Fairley in 1959 in background, 1988


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Tape Collection (TC 50)
11 "He who Sells his Shadow" (Sept. 30, 1956)
1 "Homecoming" (April 23, 1957)
1 "The Broken Globe" CBC Interview (Sept. 15, 1979)
1 "Chassidic Song" [ (Oct. 6, 1979) ]
1 "The Almost Meeting" (Oct. 4, 1980)
1 "Sholem Aleichem" (Sept. 11, 1982)
1 H. Kreisel on immigrant writing (April 10, 1983)
1 H. Kreisel and Bharati Mukerjee on immigrant experience (May 16, 1984)
1 H. Kreisel interview with Peter Gzowski (May 27, 1986)
1 H. Kreisel on the State of the Acts (July 20, 1986)
1 H. Kreisel talk at the University of Manitoba (Nov. 17, 1989)
1 A profile of Kreisel
1 A Visit to Mother Rachel's Grave (n.d.)
1 "Fil Fraser" - H. Kreisel
1 "Moon Dog" (n.d.)
1 "Almost Meeting" (n.d.)

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