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book cover of John Fante & H. L. Mencken

John Fante & H. L. Mencken

A Personal Correspondence 1930-1952
A non fiction book by

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


Used availability for John Fante's John Fante & H. L. Mencken

Hardback Editions

June 1989 : USA Hardback

Title: John Fante & H.L. Mencken: A Personal Correspondence, 1930-1952
Author(s): Michael Moreau
ISBN: 0-87685-767-5 / 978-0-87685-767-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Black Sparrow Pr
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

August 1989 : USA Paperback

Title: Fante/Mencken: John Fante and H.L. Mencken: A Personal Correspondence, 1930-1952
Author(s): John Fante, H L Mencken
ISBN: 0-87685-766-7 / 978-0-87685-766-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Black Sparrow Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA