This book is the palpable result of my longtime love affair with Canadian short fiction, which dates back to the 1980s. Having taught Canadian short fiction and the North American short story off and on and in various contexts over the past two decades, the relative dearth of criticism on this particular body of texts on the Canadian side of the 49th parallel struck me repeatedly. Yet I had to cross the threshold into the twenty-first century before I decided to do my share about this in book form and in English. I hope that this volume will help to contextualize individual writers and their stories and further raise the profile of the Canadian short story, as it so much deserves next to its well-established American counterpart.
I am grateful to everyone who lent a hand to make this undertaking possible: First of all my American publishers at Camden House, who agreed that this book project should see the light of day and who then accompanied the editing and production process with their usual expertise and kindness. I also thank my twenty-six co-authors, who produced enlightening studies of major Canadian short fiction writers and particularly prominent or representative examples of their stories. All the contributors to this book, appearing in the book series European Studies in American Literature and Culture, are or have been affiliated with German, Austrian, and Swiss universities. All of them are engaged, among other things, with Canadian literature. This book, then, is also a tribute to the international involvement with Canadian short fiction, here referring especially to the “Canadophile” German-speaking countries. I made a point of inviting a mixture of senior, established, up-and-coming, and still very young scholars, in order to illustrate the continuing tradition of involvement with Can-Lit in the German-speaking countries and elsewhere. I find the way the younger contributors have taken up the challenge especially gratifying. Theirs is the future of Canadian studies, and it seems that the field is in very good hands.
I particularly want to thank my highly competent and efficient AmCan team at the University of Constance, without whose conscientious efforts it would not have been possible to complete this daunting project within a manageable period of time: Julia Breitbach and Florian Freitag in particular, but also Eva Gruber and Georgiana Banita were very helpful in editing this volume.