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Fischer, Gretl Keren 1919- (Gretl Kraus Fischer)

FISCHER, Gretl Keren 1919- (Gretl Kraus Fischer)


PERSONAL: Born April 18, 1919, in Olomouc, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic); immigrated to Canada, 1951; daughter of Arnošt and Anny (Diamant) Kraus; married Hugo Fischer (a lawyer), September, 1940 (died, 1978). Education: University of British Columbia, B.A., 1956; Carleton University, M.A., 1961; McGill University, Ph.D. (English literature), 1972. Politics: "Left of center." Religion: "Reform Judaism and Reconstructionist; science-based naturalistic theology." Hobbies and other interests: Reading, music, theater, square-dancing, swimming, hiking.


ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Writers' Union of Canada, 40 Wellington St. E., 3rd Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5E 1C7.

CAREER: Worked as maid and shop assistant in England during World War II; United Nations Intergovernmental Organization, library assistant, 1944-45; United Nations secretariat, assistant in visual information section, 1946; Association of Special Libraries and Information Bureau, librarian and editor, 1947-49; British Transport Commission, library assistant, 1950-51; Imperial Oils Public Relations Library, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, library assistant, 1951; Canadian Bechtel, Inc., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, file clerk, 1952-53; Pacific Fisheries Experimental Station, librarian, summers, 1954-56; University of British Columbia, Vancouver, lecturer in German, 1956-58; Algonquin College, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, English teacher, 1969-76; Carleton University, Ottawa, sessional lecturer in English, 1976-79. Community activist on environmental and human-rights issues.


MEMBER: Writers Union of Canada, Institute on Religion in an Age of Science.


WRITINGS:


(Under name Gretl Kraus Fischer) In Search of Jerusalem: Religion and Ethics in the Writings of A. M. Klein, McGill-Queen's University Press (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1975.

(Under name Gretl Kraus Fischer) Skeptics (trilogy of one-act plays), produced in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 1986.

An Answer for Pierre (novel), Borealis Press (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 1999.

Work represented in anthologies, including British Columbia Centennial Anthology, McClelland & Stewart, 1958; and Refugees: An Anthology of Poems and Songs, edited by Brian Coleman, privately printed (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 1988. Contributor of short stories, poetry, and essays to periodicals, including Queen's Quarterly, Dalhousie Review, Fiddlehead, Edge, Canadian Literature, Canadian Forum, and Romanquelle. Editor, ASLIB Book List, 1947-49. Writings prior to 1999 appeared under the name Gretl Kraus Fischer.


WORK IN PROGRESS: Slaves of Liberty and Other Stories.

SIDELIGHTS: Gretl Keren Fischer told CA: "I consider An Answer for Pierre by far the most important of my writings. This novel records Jacob Harald's passionate struggle for a world view. A central aspect of his quest is his refusal to accept the idea (so widespread at the close of the millennium) that good and evil, right and wrong, objectively seen, are nothing but a matter of social orientation or individual preference. When he is confronted with fathomless corruption, he is driven to search for an ethical standard beyond human opinion. He looks to the exciting new teachings of mainstream science for help. Can an ethic based on science be reconciled with his Jewish faith? Gradually his own conclusions emerge in a synthesis: he believes that the basic life-protecting and life-enhancing ethic of Leviticus (such as the Love Commandments or the Ten Commandments) translates into human language an ethical imperative that seems to be rooted in the very depth of the cosmos. Jacob faces many objections that can be raised against his view. It is my hope that his defense will be considered a valid one. We see Jacob's struggle against a background of human relationships. I wanted to express the ideas not just as an academic statement, but to show also their deeply personal impact. Though Jacob fails in his attempt to ease his friend Pierre's spiritual distress, his effort leads to the attainment of his own inner peace."

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