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John Fante and H.L. Mencken: A Personal Correspondence, 1930-1952

Moreau, Michael

58 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0876857683 / ISBN 13: 9780876857687
Published by Black Sparrow Press, Santa Rosa, CA, 1989
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Boomerang Booksellers (Northampton, MA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Limited Edition. This is number 117 of 176 numbered deluxe copies hand bound by Earle Gray. Design by Barbara Martin. Illustrated cover boards with cloth back strip, are clean with little wear, in publisher's clear acetate dust jacket. Interior pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is square and solid. A 22-year span of letters from these literary luminaries began when Fante was just 21 and Mencken was 50 years old. Bookseller Inventory # 003946

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Bibliographic Details

Title: John Fante and H.L. Mencken: A Personal ...

Publisher: Black Sparrow Press, Santa Rosa, CA

Publication Date: 1989

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


In 1979 John Fante told an interviewer, "I would have done anything to get the praise of H.L. Mencken." This collection of letters spans a twenty-two year period that saw Fante go from a sporadically published short-story writer to a full-fledged novelist and screenwriter. Mencken, who was editor of the American Mercury and an influential social critic of the time, provides a sharp, dry contrast to Fante's effusiveness. The letters begin with short but polite rejections from Mencken of Fante's stories. Fante's letters, in turn, become more profuse in their praise of Mencken and his work; but more interestingly, they reveal the thoughts that were to become the grist of his novels. Particularly telling is a letter written in 1936 in which Fante describes his father's fawning reaction to his son's success, something Fante couldn't bear. "He used to beat the hell out of me twice a week and I had a lot of respect for the man," Fante laments. Mencken's response is short, almost curt: "I see no reason why you should be upset about your father." With the aid of copious endnotes, the letters also serve as a finger on the political pulse of the times. The letters ceased for most of the 1940s, and Mencken's debilitating health rendered the correspondence one-sided through the remainder of the 1950s. Nevertheless, the correspondence testifies to the progression of Fante's success as a writer and to his "friendship" with a mentor he never met, and it reveals a certain vulnerability in both men. -- From Independent Publisher

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