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John Fante's Ask the DustA Joining of Voices and Views$
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Stephen Cooper and Clorinda Donato

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780823287864

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823287864.001.0001

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How Hitler Nearly Destroyed the Great American Novel

How Hitler Nearly Destroyed the Great American Novel

Chapter:
(p.213) How Hitler Nearly Destroyed the Great American Novel
Source:
John Fante's Ask the Dust
Author(s):

Ryan Holiday

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823287864.003.0014

Investigative journalist Holiday scrutinizes the archival record to clarify the collision of historical forces that long haunted the trajectory of Ask the Dust. Informed by primary research into the John Fante papers at UCLA Library Special Collections and beyond, this essay explains how in falling victim to political pressures of the Second World War, the novel gains significance that remains relevant to our own age today. Before Mussolini’s fascist censors targeted Fante’s writings, agents of Adolf Hitler were hijacking the attention of Fante’s editor and draining the assets of his publisher for releasing an unauthorized, unexpurgated edition of the dictator’s notorious Mein Kampf in a legal case that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The issues involved in that case and their effects upon Ask the Dust teach us as much about Fante’s day and age as about our own era of alt-right provocateurship and #atnoplatform.

Keywords:   Ask the Dust, Charles Bukowski, John Fante, Hitler, Houghton Mifflin, Mein Kampf, William Soskin, Stackpole Sons

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