CFP: Ethno-Cultural Spaces in John Fante's Works and His Reception between Italy and the US (young scholars) (12/15/06; journal

full name / name of organization: 
Teresa Fiore
contact email: 

Call for papers

"West of One's Roots: Ethno-cultural Spaces in John Fante' Works and His
Reception between Italy and the US"

Quaderni del '900 is soliciting papers written by young scholars on John
Fante's life and works to be published in a special issue devoted to this
American author of Italian origins, alternatively described as "my god"
(Charles Bukowski), "a writer as American as Huckleberry Finn" (Carey
McWilliams), "the Italian American Hemingway" (Fred Gardaphé), "inspired by
Verga, D'Annunzio, and Pirandello" (Emilio Cecchi).

John Fante's Italian cultural roots are an intrinsic part of his personal
and fictional world, yet his background has only intermittently been a
central concern in literary criticism devoted to his work. A writer who has
shuttled in both imaginative and material ways between Italy and the US, and
within the US between Colorado and California, Fante has crafted, with his
unique narrative force, hybrid spaces in which the mental and concrete
geographies of his life became embodied: American building sites with
Italian immigrant workers; family homes in which Italian and American
surnames make love and war; Italian places seen through the eyes of the
American visitor; etc. Fante's Italian and American spaces capture the
striking tension between these two worlds together with their paradoxical
co-existence. His poignant interweaving of the contradictions of these two
cultural realities in his private and artistic environments will be the
departure point of this volume which intends to shed light on his past and
present legacy as a novelist and screenwriter in both countries. In Italy,
where he is esteemed by scholars and considered to be a cult author by the
general public, his works have been translated since the 1940s, and one of
his early novels, Ask the Dust, was included in the daily La Repubblica's
book series of 20th-century world classics. Yet interestingly, Fante remains
a niche writer in the US: while his work has been the focus of several
researchers and has created a group of passionate followers, he is still
partially unknown, and only recent Hollywood productions such as Robert
Towne's Ask the Dust (2006) have brought the public's attention onto him.
After all these years, his writings continue to be captivating, irritating,
and challenging, all at once, mostly for their subtle overlapping of misery
and glamour that endlessly provokes and chides, ultimately leaving no reader
This issue of Quaderni del '900 seeks to assess Fante's continuous and
growing attraction as a complex artist, in the country of his parents as
well as his own. Of particular interest are papers that privilege a
theoretical perspective on the construction and invention of space in
Fante's works, with a specific reference to Los Angeles and California,
where this volume will take shape.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
Italian and American Spaces in Fante's Life and Literature (Rome, Los
Angeles, Long
Beach, Torricella Peligna …)
Is John Fante an Italian American writer?
Fante's initial and contemporary reception in Italy and the US (and in
Fante in the US between Hollywood and Literature
The Representation of Women: Gendered Spaces in Fante's Works
Ethnicity and Class in Fante's Novels
Fante vis-à-vis Italian and American Authors: Influence and Inspiration
Fante's Language: Standard American, Italian Interferences and Foreign
Fante's Work Adapted to the Screen (film, documentaries)

Quaderni del '900 is a yearly literary journal of Italian Studies (modern
and contemporary literature), published by California State University Long
Beach. Founded in 2001, it was designed to provide a space for young
scholars to publish articles on topics relevant to the field (single authors
or comparative issues) both in Italy and the US. Past topics have included:
Pasolini; Pavese; Italian post-colonial literature; and Italian women
writers in the Fascist period.
For a full description of the journal, directed by Prof. Stefano Giovanardi
and Prof. Carlo Chiarenza, please see:

The volume will include between 10 and 14 articles. Essays, not to exceed 20
double-spaced pages and written in Italian or English, should conform to the
style-sheet criteria set forth by the MLA for essays in both English and
Italian. For guidelines on the MLA style, please see information on line
( or in printed form

The issue will feature a special introduction to Fante's life and work by
Dr. Stephen Cooper, Prof. of English and Creative Writing, California State
University Long Beach, and author of Full of Life: A Biography of John Fante
(2000). It will also include a creative piece.

Deadline for submission is December 15, 2006; publication expected by 2007.
Early submissions are welcome. All contributions will be refereed.

Interested contributors can send the essay, accompanied by a 300-word
abstract and a one-page bio with list of publications, to the editor of the
issue, Teresa Fiore, via email (

Dr. Teresa Fiore
Assistant Professor of Italian
Romance, German, Russian Languages and Literatures
California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90840-2406
Tel. (562) 985-4322
Fax (562) 985-2406


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Received on Sun Nov 19 2006 - 17:51:50 EST