F.O. Dolor (1890-1956) remains a mysterious figure in the history of Canadian Literature. He spent most of his adult life in Mugwump, Manitoba, where he worked as a loans officer for the Bank of Commerce and composed his famous Prairie Trilogy--Bitter Wheat (1947), Harvest of Dearth (1948) and Alien Corn (1949)--in his free time. He claimed to be the son of a bankrupted farmer from Schikelgruber, Ontario; but no such town exists, and there is no record of any Dolor family ever owning land anywhere in that province. The few people from Mugwump who remember meeting him attest that he spoke with a heavy German accent and always put his verbs at the end of the sentence. This constitutes powerful circumstancial evidence for those who claim he was none other than the obscure post-Great War German novelist Otto von der Muedigkeiten, author of such forgotten works as Angst in den Blumen (1927) and Die Zerbrochene Zauberfloete (1929). This identification is by no means firmly established, however, and the controversy continues to rage amongst scholars of Canadian Literature. Whatever his real name and history, however, the revival of interest in his writing, spearheaded by Theodor M. Smidgin in the 1970's, has won him an established place in the broad Pantheon of classic Canadian writers.
Theordor M. Smidgin is Dean of English Studies and Composition at Oakiedokie University, Saskatchewan. He is a contributing editor to Culee: The Journal of Modern Canadian Prarie Writing (not to be confused with Coolie: The Journal of Modern West-Coast Chinese-Canadian Writing). He is the author of several scholarly works, including April in the Cruelest Mouth: Misprimpts in Modern English Literature; Minimal Adequacies: Style and Meaning in the Novels of F.O. Dolor; and Contemporary Canadian Criticism: Anxiety After the Colon. He is co-author, with his wife, Myrna Smidgin-Kawalchuk, of Fun with Mr. Comma: Punctuation Party Games for Freshman English Students. He has also published a volume of poetry, Dry Thunder: Twelve Collected Poems, 1962-1992. He was awarded the 1991 W.O. Mitchell Subsequently-to-be-Memorial Award for Prairie Parochialism, and has been named Honarary Member for Life of the Chronically Depressed Prairie Writers' Association of Canada.