THIS COLLECTION OF ESSAYS was a real challenge – not only because it involved the usual enthusing ups and nerve-wracking downs of organizing an international academic project, but rather, because it accompanied me through the process of becoming a father (Finn– Jonathan is now 8 months old), of building a house for my family, of seeing my wife through her final exams at uni, and myself through the final stages of my doctoral dissertation; it will hence always be part of my memories of this unforgettable time of my life.
My first thanks go out to my family, who were necessarily massively involved in this venture. Especially my wife Gloria, whose motherly endurance throughout many sleepless nights and sleepwalking (but joyful) days in these first months of parenthood enabled me to actually do my editorial work. Also, and importantly so, as fellow Australian literature enthusiast, she has been keeping watch on the sentences in this collection almost “like a steel nibbed kookaburra on the fences in the morning sun.” I also want to thank my parents for their methodological, technical, and culinary (!) support. And without the help of my parents-in-law, our house would still be a mere building-lot and the publication of this volume a long way off. Thank you!
Secondly, I would like to thank the editors of the Cross/Cultures series for their encouragement of my project. My special thanks go out to Dr Gordon Collier, whose critical as well as creative input has spiced up this collection, whose emails were a constant delight to read, and whose patience with me as novice editor was more than could be asked for – not to forget his advice in parental matters (“always hold the baby with its head close to your heart!”).
At Johannes Gutenberg-Universität I would like to thank my mentor Prof Dr Thomas Michael Stein, who has played an essential part in this collection and in my academic career so far. I am exceedingly grateful to him for setting me on the right academic track, for teaching me so much about the critical appreciation of literature and the estimation of British culture, and for his support, patience and encouragement over the last ten years. I also should like to