Fante biography (1 Viewer)

mjp

Founding member
I'm just getting around to reading Cooper's Fante biography (hey, I like to let books age properly before consuming), and I can't believe how easily Fante waltzed into his writing career.

He got a book offer from Knopf after publishing one short story in American Mercury! One. And by the time he starts complaining about the rough life of a professional writer he has published a grand total of five stories.

But the thing that really charred my meat was the way Cooper described the $100 a week Fante was working for in 1935 as a "shamefully low salary." Really? That's like making $1500 a week in today's dollars. $78k a year. Jesus, how did poor Fante ever survive on such a pittance! I guess it seemed shameful compared to what he was getting from the studios the previous year; $250 a week ($3800 a week today - almost $200k a year).

One of his editors described him as "a spoiled child" early on, and from what I've read so far, that's a good description. I'm only 130 pages into the book though, so maybe I haven't got to the part where he stops being such a whining, entitled little cocksucker.

But the way he made connections was really impressive. He was ambitious, no doubt about that. And it really is all about who you know. Especially in this town, and to a certain extent, in writing as well.
 

number6horse

okyoutwopixiesoutyougo
Wow. That almost makes me question Cooper's accuracy on those salary numbers. I find it hard to square Bukowski's admiration for Fante with that "golden child" description. Or is it possible that Buk was unaware of his background ?
 

mjp

Founding member
I doubt there was much in the way of detailed bio info on Fante available when Bukowski discovered him.

I still love his books, and I think he was a great and funny writer. I'm just a bit put off by him as Cooper presents him. But it seems well researched, I have no reason to doubt what he's saying.
 

ROC

It is what it is
Yeah, I'm sure Bukowski was unaware of Fante's early years. What he loved was his writing and if there was one thing Bukowski knew how to do was separate a man from his writing.

I like Fante's writing a lot but I always thought he looked like a real prick. Every photo I've ever seen anyway.

It reminds me of the final line in Bukowski's poem about D. H. Lawrence.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
I've rarely had any impression about Fante that didn't make me think he was a bit of a prick... He was another hard gambler and hard drinker for most of the time he was working in and around Hollywood and eventually the money dried up (at least until Full of Life hit Readers Digest in 1954 and the movies later in the decade).

I don't doubt Cooper's research. A lot of his biography is based on interviews with friends and family, not to mention tons of unpublished documents (letters, journal entries, etc.). Of course, perhaps Cooper's "shamefully low salary" meant $100 in today money. Which would be an odd way to refer to it. I'll have to re-read the first few chapters of the book soon and see.

Something definitely happened by 1936 though. By then he had returned to his family's home in Roseville and wrote several articles for the Roseville Tribune and Register. I can't remember what drove him home, other than he wanted to get out of LA... Definitely need to sit down and re-read the bio more intensely. The last time I read it, I was skimming for fact checking and date finding...
 

mjp

Founding member
The $100 was definitely 1935 dollars. It's not out of line with what "Hollywood" has always paid. Ridiculous amounts of money for doing very little. It's quite a racket they've got going. I guess the hundred was "shameful" compared to the $250 he was being paid previously by a bigger studio. But the advance amounts related to his first book, Wait Until Spring, Bandini, were more in line with reality: $150 a month for five months.

I'm up to the post-Bandini bit of the book, 1938, and so far he has still had a pretty easy ride. I mean, he was often broke or living on very little, but recognition and success as an author came very easily to him. He had stuff rejected, but usually for good reason, and the rejections seem to be far outnumbered by the successes.

But that could all be in the way the bio was written. I suppose as it played out in real time the success seemed a bit longer in coming. But my impression so far is that he was recognized pretty early on. Probably rightfully so. He certainly delivered the goods in most of those books.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
Having your first story published in something like the American Mercury. But a lot of the reading I've done seems to indicate that Fante wanted the status of people like Anderson, Faulkner (insert any other major author of the period) and to be able to live off of his literary writing instead of the "Hollywood hokum" he was producing at the time.

Of course, Falkner supplemented his literary writing with studio writing... A lot of the indicators of Fante's novels (as opposed to his short stories) points to not being recognized as a serious novelist (at least on a national\international level). He was definitely recognized in the California area, but I'd say Stackpole's distribution helped keep it to a minimum outside of the state.

But it is important to note that Bandini, Ask the Dust, and Dago Red were well received by critics when they were published (Time actually listed Dago Red as the strongest book of short stories of the year when it was released). Ending up with a history publisher (Stackpole) to publish a novel probably didn't help him get recognition higher than that.

I like having this discussion. It reminds me to keep my worshiping more grounded. Though I maintain that anyone who uses the term "cunt-lapper" when signing a book is probably the most brilliant person who ever lived. Sorry Jesus!
 

mjp

Founding member
Well it's funny, isn't it. Because I certainly think he was great and neglected, but when he thinks he's great and neglected, somehow it rubs me the wrong way. Ha. We want our greats to be humble, I'm not sure why, but when they aren't they come in for a lot of criticism.
 
Very interesting point. Yeah, it usually rubs me wrong when someone is like that, but I don't really know why. I've wondered about it before.

I think it's because we expect greatness to be self-evident. I don't want anyone to feel the need to tell me about it. If I have to be told about it rather than coming to my own conclusion, then maybe it's not so great after all.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
when it comes to writers I love, I'll search out biographies, documentaries, etc. about them. even if what I find out isn't flattering. but I've never had the urge to search out Fante bios, even though I love his books. something always rubbed me the wrong way with him.

but I still love the books, so that's all that matters.
 
Recently I bought a paperback reprint of Ask the dust published by HarperCollins. The book at the end contains some of Fante's letters. In one of them, Fante in response to Bukowski's questions regarding his own book writes

"Dear Hank:

I usually charge a standard rate of $100 per page for questionnaire letters such as yours, but in view of your responsibility for a good preface I am canceling the usual fee and answering all questions free of charge.

1. Ask the dust was written in 1938.
2. ...
"

Is this a joke? or it is the prick side of him? or maybe it is just doing strict business. Anyhow, I found it weird.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
It was definitely a joke. At that point in his career, its like Fante wouldn't have had any standing to charge anything for interviews... But I think its also the prick side of him. A lot of his letters are filled with anger and vitriol... he had a hell of a tongue for insults (poison pen is an apt phrase).

I can't say why Fante's lack of humility doesn't bother me... Well besides that I practically worship him... I've seen how much of an asshole he is, but... I dunno. I think at this point in my life I've learned that the people I like most in books, music, whatever... are just people I wouldn't want to know as people.
 
So what's the consensus on Cooper's Fante bio? Is it worth buying?

I ask because I almost ordered it last night. I'm curious about Fante's life, but would really like some opinions on the worthwhileness of the book.

I guess I could ask is Cooper's book to Fante what Sounes' was to Bukowski? Or is it more like what Miles was to Buk?
 

mjp

Founding member
I haven't finished it. I set it aside to read some other books. I'm 2/3 of the way through it, but I don't know what to make of it. Fante wasn't really that interesting, honestly, so I don't think it's the quality of the biography as much as it is just...not compelling reading.

He was a major prick who did the bulk of his writing for the movie business, and when he wasn't too busy doing that he wrote a few great books. I almost wish I had just enjoyed his books and not read the bio. But that's jut me.
 
A bit late on this am I, but the "shamefully low salary" of $100 really struck me as having been written in such as way as to be reminded of how Arturo Bandini would react to having been making $250 per week and a year or so later, making only $100 per week. So, it is at once a description of Fante's "Keeping up with the Joneses" mentality and shallowness (sense of entitlement?) as well as a nod to how much Fante was like Bandini, for better or for worse.

I don't think Cooper thinks it was shamefully low, but he seems to know that Fante thought so and wrote it that way. That's what I take from it anyway.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
I think it is very worthwhile a read. To me, it doesn't color Fante's writing for me. I don't know why. But the book is well researched, uses primary sources where possible, and relies on a lot of secondary sources and interviews for a lot of it.

The book also references tons of letters, short stories, and sorts of things that are bound to be a part of the UCLA collection and that makes me drool too...
 
Okay, I'd like to hear some more opinions if people would offer them, but I may check out this bio sooner than I think. I will wait till I get some more of Fante's writing in my head. Perhaps it will accent his writing better that way.

I tried to not have too high expectations about Fante's life. Even though he's Buk's god, no one can be expected to live the low life like Buk.

Ask the Dust may give clues as to why Fante was not as prolific as perhaps he could have been. Though I'm sure Bandini is an exaggeration, Fante's dreams may have been bigger than his eyes. His expectations of the so-called famous writer's life may have been nigh unreachable. And so maybe that's why he did so much screenwriting in the meantime. Maybe he didn't feel he could live up to what he dreamed for himself.

But I could be wrong. Thoughts?
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
I don't disagree. Fante suffered from a (mostly justified ego problem. He was a great writer. But the problem is (as mjp said) he wanted too much too soon, and never seemed to realize when he had a good thing going (based on reading the bio, this doesn't seem to have been limited to just his writing life).

He also had a chip on his shoulder because of the racism he experienced early in life. But on the other hand, I think that a lot of his work benefits greatly from the vein of rage that is almost always simmering just below the surface.

In reading his letters, you see that the screenwriting is always the fallback, always just a temporary position while he was waiting for his novels to take off. And once Full of Life was published, he ended up being better paid for his screenplay than the novel, so... he stuck it out there instead to keep up the lifestyle he was living.

Curious bit of info: Fante started writing The Brotherhood of the Grape in the late 50s (right after Full of Life was published), but it took him close to twenty years to finish it and get it published. The period after his father died is (as far as published works go) his least productive time. He was always writing, but very little ever made it into magazines or books.
 
Curious bit of info: Fante started writing The Brotherhood of the Grape in the late 50s (right after Full of Life was published), but it took him close to twenty years to finish it and get it published. The period after his father died is (as far as published works go) his least productive time. He was always writing, but very little ever made it into magazines or books.
Does this mean Fante has a large amount of stuff that could be posthumously published? If there's an unknown Bandini book or story out there we've never seen, I'd be curious to check it out.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
He started somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-3 novels that were never finished (maybe more) according to the biography. The Road to Los Angeles, My Dog Stupid, and 1933 Was A Bad Year were all unpublished in his lifetime.

As it stands, the most complete "novel" was going to be called The Little Brown Brothers, but was never completed, despite being written (on and off) for about 20 years. The chapters were collected in The Big Hunger (Helen, Thy Beauty Is To Me and... one or two others I think, but can't recall off the top of my head).

The good news, though, is that the UCLA collect should be open next year, so we'll have a better idea of what exactly exists. Anything not already collected in books at this point... mostly short stories and, according to Stephen Cooper, is mostly payday work that has little to no literary merit.

My favorite unpublished bits were published in 1936 in The Roseville Tribune and Register (a series of six articles published as Swords & Roses). I've posted them around in the past, but never here, so lemme dig into my hard drive and I'll post them here.

Here's the articles. I'm working on getting a better scan of one and the librarian insists that that last one isn't cut off, but I have my doubts... anyhow, some nice, uncommon Fante pieces for ya.

article9-11-36 copy.gif article9-18-36 copy.gif article9-25-36 copy.gif
article10-02-36 copy.gif article10-7-36 copy.gif
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
No problem. I was really excited to visit the Roseville Library in Roseville a couple years back... They had first edition copies of Ask The Dust, Dago Red, and Wait Until Spring Bandini. All signed and inscribed to a local author. And on the signature page of each, the library had placed all this bits of library info (card holder, stamps, etc) and these were then removed... I almost cried.

(OK, I think I did squirt a couple. I know I felt sick to my stomach.)

Pay no attention to the man vomiting behind the bushes...
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
And on the signature page of each, the library had placed all this bits of library info (card holder, stamps, etc) and these were then removed... I almost cried.

Good God! So the signatures were still there and the marks left by the card holder etc.?
 
J

JimmyLane

I don't disagree. Fante suffered from a (mostly justified ego problem. He was a great writer. But the problem is (as mjp said) he wanted too much too soon, and never seemed to realize when he had a good thing going (based on reading the bio, this doesn't seem to have been limited to just his writing life).

Great conversation, guys.

It was true Fante wanted too much too soon, but wasn't it also the case that such stemmed from being perpetually piss broke, even more so later when he was having a family, that created an urgency in him to beg his publisher almost constantly for advances?

LickTheStar said:
He also had a chip on his shoulder because of the racism he experienced early in life.

Hmm. chip on his shoulder; i.e. insecurity? I think it may have played into his conviction for writing his Little Brown Brothers novel intending to portray the Filipino community or migrant workers in a more favorable light as well, maybe even subconsciously doing his part to right the wrongs of racism, though its a mystery to me why he resorted to a slew of racial slurs in his own books.
 
J

JimmyLane

You're a cockroach in annoy-the-shit-out-of-me mode.

Do me a favor:

Lay down.
Swing your feet over your head,
your lil' cock will be dangling somewhere above your face.
Open mouth,
lift head,
say to yourself:
I'm in a mood.
Insert lil' cock into mouth
and blow hard bitch.
Afterward, check for bitemarks
---you never know.
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
as opposed to a cockroach in laying-down-trying-to-blow-myself mode, which is what you would prefer?

between giving me instructions in auto-fellatio and coming into my bedroom to shit on the back of my neck, you're really making a great first impression on this forum. keep it up jimmy, you'll be circling the drain in no time.
 
Just a note on Fante's health. When one is a diabetic, or pre-diabetic, the condition messes with one's blood sugar level and can cause wide and irritable mood swings just based on the chemistry of it all. This is worth mentioning because Fante was known as a heavy drinker and sugar addict at different times in his life and a diabetic way before there were accurate glucose monitors to measure the sugar content in the blood... It's bad when the sugars are either way too high or too low, and his diabetic condition, officially diagnosed around the age of 45 (if I remember correctly) cannot be dismissed as a major cause of his emotional ups and downs and his difficulties in performing as a writer, father, husband...the overall lousy way he treated others... I've known serious diabetics and the condition can seriously effect behavior especially when the blood sugar level gets way way too low: the person will treat others badly because they feel so bad themselves and, at least during Fante's life, Fante himself may not have been able to tell when it was actually too low and consequently was taking out his irascible, impatient, angry discomfort on his children or those around him. Saying this is not about excusing his behavior, but his health factors should not be underestimated as far as their impact on his life, and from the impression I got, he wasn't willing to do more to manage his condition, such as adjusting his diet and drinking habits, to help normalize his body... And he suffered from advanced diabetes. How do we know it was advanced? Because he underwent amputations on his limbs and went blind. People who take better care of themselves - and there have been major advances in management - are still diabetic but able to avoid these severe complications... So he had it bad and was unable to make the adjustment out of lack of knowledge, opportunity or, even more importantly, his possible lack of willingness. (I think the latter.) The lack of willingness was probably a reflection of his character - that he didn't want to give into the condition or change his eating and drinking habits - and he paid for his stubborn resistance dearly in probably every area of his life. Those who have read about diabetes seriously, or know someone with it, will understand its impact on Fante's life whether his biographers truly understand it or not. I'm just saying.
 

mjp

Founding member
blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, heartfelt, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, exquisite, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, (if I remember correctly), blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, creosote, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, backstop, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, furniture, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, doorknobs, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, marvelous, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, creative, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, shell shocked, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, take a bath, hippie, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, couch, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, temperature, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, cork board, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, defining, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, leftovers, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, (if I remember correctly), blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, Washington, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, monkeys, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, Monkees, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, bathrobe, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, soap dish, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, will call, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, impenetrable blocks of text, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, where was I? blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, 404, brain not found, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, pontificate, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, beach ball, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, finger pie, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, wires, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, having said that, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, splinter, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, toothache, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, (if I remember correctly), blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, infection, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, blueprint, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, fish taco, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, outstanding, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, heartbreaking, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, VALERIAN, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, heaven's gate, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, halitosis, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, partake of the blood of the dark lord, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, puppies! blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, rain gutter, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, abacus, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, (if I remember correctly), blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, porcupine. blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, heartfelt, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, exquisite, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, (if I remember correctly), blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, creosote, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, backstop, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, furniture, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, doorknobs, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, marvelous, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, creative, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, shell shocked, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, take a bath, hippie, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, couch, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, temperature, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, cork board, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, defining, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, leftovers, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, (if I remember correctly), blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, Washington, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, monkeys, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, Monkees, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, bathrobe, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, soap dish, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, will call, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, impenetrable blocks of text, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, where was I? blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, 404, brain not found, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, pontificate, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, beach ball, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, finger pie, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, wires, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, having said that, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, splinter, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, toothache, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, (if I remember correctly), blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, infection, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, blueprint, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, fish taco, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, outstanding, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, heartbreaking, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, VALERIAN, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, heaven's gate, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, halitosis, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, partake of the blood of the dark lord, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, puppies! blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, rain gutter, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, abacus, blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, (if I remember correctly), blah blah blahbitty BLAH blah, I'm just saying.
 
Every time I heard Penny Lane as a kid, I would always wonder about these "finger pies" and how I could go about getting one. They sounded delicious.

Turns out it's a bit different than what I pictured it to be as a kid.
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
For those of you who had a hard time (because it is so far over our little heads) reading and understanding post #29 then post #30 is the appropriate translation. It is a little more entertaining if nothing else. Thank you for those brilliant renditions, now back to the Jimmy La Lane exercise regimen.
 

chronic

old and in the way
For those of you with shot attention spans, here's the Readers Digest Condensed version:

heartfelt, exquisite, (if I remember correctly), creosote, backstop, furniture, doorknobs, marvelous, creative, shell shocked, take a bath, hippie, couch, temperature, cork board, defining, leftovers, (if I remember correctly), Washington, monkeys, Monkees, bathrobe, soap dish, will call, impenetrable blocks of text, where was I? 404, brain not found, pontificate, beach ball, finger pie, wires, having said that, splinter, toothache, (if I remember correctly), infection, blueprint, fish taco, outstanding, heartbreaking, VALERIAN, heaven's gate, halitosis, partake of the blood of the dark lord, puppies! rain gutter, abacus, (if I remember correctly), porcupine. heartfelt, exquisite, (if I remember correctly), creosote, backstop, furniture, doorknobs, marvelous, creative, shell shocked, take a bath, hippie, couch, temperature, cork board, defining, leftovers, (if I remember correctly), Washington, monkeys, Monkees, bathrobe, soap dish, will call, impenetrable blocks of text, where was I? 404, brain not found, pontificate, beach ball, finger pie, wires, having said that, splinter, toothache, (if I remember correctly), infection, blueprint, fish taco, outstanding, heartbreaking, VALERIAN, heaven's gate, halitosis, partake of the blood of the dark lord, puppies! rain gutter, abacus, (if I remember correctly), I'm just saying.

and here's the Cliff's Notes for the Readers Digest Condensed version:

take a bath, hippie
partake of the blood of the dark lord, puppies!
(if I remember correctly)

and I think that just about says it all. You can lock the whole forum now... there's really nothing more to say.
 
I don't know if Fante had advance diabetes so much as advanced not-taking-care-of-himself.

My cousin went blind early in his life because he did not take good care of himself. He even walked around on a broken ankle for three weeks before he noticed it was broken.

He died a few years after that. Sad, since after he went blind he became an extremely talented woodcarver. But he didn't take care of himself.

If Fante had advanced diabetes, it's because he let it advance.
 
Okay, I'd like to hear some more opinions if people would offer them, but I may check out this bio sooner than I think. I will wait till I get some more of Fante's writing in my head. Perhaps it will accent his writing better that way.

I was responding to zenguru's question without referring it to directly, since this thread is about Fante's life and biography. I should have quoted him in my post. It's a forum.

If I've offended anyone, I offer my apology, but I stand behind every point I made on Fante's health because I understand what he was dealing with from first-hand experience, and I feel strongly that it was a major factor why he made the erratic decisions he did and was so hard on his children, some of whom bitterly resented him. It's a puzzle to some why he wasn't more successful and treated people so badly.

When I was being long-winded it was from making an effort to give my best, to give something of real thought and value, and give more than I took from others. I was taught that by the people I came up with. It's been appreciated by someone like David Barker and others, and before I go, I thank them for that.

I offer my apology to Michael for giving him a hard time a few months ago when I was having trouble with the forum software. I could have handled it better.

I'd like to see some of the young people who love Bukowski be taken under the wing by some of the experienced elders here, rather than being knocked around so much and leaving with a bad taste in their mouth. Their tastes in writers are largely unformed and they are looking for direction. You got 40- and 50-year-olds pounding mercilessly on 20-somethings because the young don't know the ropes, or they're simply trying to make an impression by doing something out of the ordinary like their hero Bukowski. (The trolls are another matter.) It's hard to find a place with intelligent discussions on the great writers, and some are looking for tolerance and wisdom even if they can't put it into words. It's not a requirement, but I think it's good to pass on the best of what one has discovered over the years rather than trying to pulverize the self-conscious newcomers into the ground because their tastes in writers don't conform. Bukowski and Fante had their chance. It's about the living. -- Poptop
 
He started somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-3 novels that were never finished (maybe more) according to the biography. The Road to Los Angeles, My Dog Stupid, and 1933 Was A Bad Year were all unpublished in his lifetime.

As it stands, the most complete "novel" was going to be called The Little Brown Brothers, but was never completed, despite being written (on and off) for about 20 years. The chapters were collected in The Big Hunger (Helen, Thy Beauty Is To Me and... one or two others I think, but can't recall off the top of my head).

The good news, though, is that the UCLA collect should be open next year, so we'll have a better idea of what exactly exists. Anything not already collected in books at this point... mostly short stories and, according to Stephen Cooper, is mostly payday work that has little to no literary merit.

My favorite unpublished bits were published in 1936 in The Roseville Tribune and Register (a series of six articles published as Swords & Roses). I've posted them around in the past, but never here, so lemme dig into my hard drive and I'll post them here.

Here's the articles. I'm working on getting a better scan of one and the librarian insists that that last one isn't cut off, but I have my doubts... anyhow, some nice, uncommon Fante pieces for ya.
:):):)

Ahhh nice - so far i've managed to scrape together all his published books/short stories, the 'Sad Flower...' doc and the Cooper bio but it's the little articles like this I'm trying to found now. Thanks so much!
It's a shame Fante's Filipino novel never saw the light of day, cos' He seemed to have so much hope for it too. I really liked'Bus Ride' in Big Hunger (not so much 'Helen thy....')

Regarding Fante's big ego, it doesn't bother me - most great artists/writers seem to have it anyway. I guess as a small guy, from a poor italian immigrant family with a nutcase cheating alco of a father it's not suprising that he'd want to hoist up his own talents, shame he didn't utilize it as full as possible though. To be honest the ridiculousness of his arrogance amuses me more than it annoys me, at least in his work/letters he frequently ackowledges and admits to the shamefullness some of his actions (something a hardcore egotistic bastard wouldn't ever do). That black&white honesty is something I admire so much in his work.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
If John Martin were still publishing, it probably would be. As it stands now... most of it has seen the light of day if its worthwhile (the unfinished "Brown Brothers" novel), but from reading and corresponding with Cooper it seems that the rest of it is thankfully unpublished.

But who knows. Perhaps some young enterprising publisher will grab something out his papers when they open the vault... Or would Harper have the rights to all his unpublished works, as well?
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top