Danny Hutto Humanities and Social Science
Arturo Bandini the Viking: How Long Beach Junior College Transformed the Writing of John Fante
In the spring of 1932, while attending Long Beach Junior College (LBJC), John Fante published his short story Eleven-Thirty in the campus literary journal, Edda. The story, bursting with cliches, depicts a young man, disappointed in love, at the brink of suicide. Critic David L. Ulin dismisses it as pure juvenilia and mostly overwrought. A few months later The American Mercury published Fantes story, Altar Boy. Aside from sharing Fante as the author, the two stories hardly resembled one another. The variation in the quality of the two stories suggests the tremendous impact that Fantes experience at LBJC exerted on his thinking and literary career. In months, he transformed from the author of the immature and nearly unrecognizable Eleven Thirty to the prolific and emotionally wrought voice found in Altar Boy and later novels such as Wait Until Spring, Bandini and Ask the Dust. My research asks, what happened? What specifically about this place and this moment in time allowed Fante to develop his writing?