Cooper, Stephen 1949-
COOPER, Stephen 1949-
PERSONAL: Born October 11, 1949, in Los Angeles, CA; married Janet Stawisky, 1982; children: Daniel, Elizabeth. Education: University of California—Los Angeles, B.A., 1971; University of California—Irvine, M.F.A., 1984; University of Southern California, Ph.D., 1991.
CAREER: California State University, Long Beach, professor of English, 1984—.
AWARDS, HONORS: National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship, 1991; Distinguished Faculty Scholarly and Creative Achievement Award, California State University, Long Beach, 2003.
(Coeditor, with David Fine) John Fante: A Critical Gathering, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (Madison, NJ), 1999.
Full of Life: A Biography of John Fante, North Point Press (New York, NY), 2000.
(Editor) John Fante, The Big Hunger: Stories, 1932-1959, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 2000.
(Editor) The John Fante Reader, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor of short stories, articles, and essays to periodicals, including Threepenny Review, Southwest Review, American Fiction, Hot Type, PEN Syndicated Fiction Project, Critic, Film Quarterly, Keats-Shelley Journal, Literature and Psychology, Flannery O' Connor Bulletin, Los Angeles in Fiction, and Los Angeles Times.
Author's work has been translated into French and Italian.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Los Angelesque (stories); a novel.
SIDELIGHTS: Stephen Cooper is a professor of English at California State University, Long Beach. In 1991 he won a National Endowment of the Arts creative writing fellowship for his short stories. He has also published articles on literature, film, and culture, along with several books.
Cooper edited Perspectives on John Huston, in which he provides an analysis of the work of film director John Huston. Included are fifteen essays by authors espousing different viewpoints on Huston. Cooper also provides his own essay on Huston's film The Maltese Falcon. A Films in Review contributor called the book a "marvelous compilation."
Cooper's Full of Life: A Biography of John Fante is the first biography written about legendary novelist and screenwriter John Fante. Cooper first became interested in Fante shortly after graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles, but did not write the biography until twenty-five years later. Fante is known more for his novels than his screenplays. One of his greatest novels Ask the Dust, published in 1939, traces the tragicomic experiences of struggling young writer Arturo Bandini in Depression-era Los Angeles. Fante himself was an Italian American who came to Los Angeles from Colorado when he was twenty. He worked at odd jobs and wrote in the evenings. Soon after beginning to publish his stories he got a job as a contract screenwriter for Warner Bros. For the next few years his writing life was divided between serious fiction and hack work for various Hollywood studios. Cooper portrays not only Fante's career and lasting achievements, but also his dark side: gambling, womanizing, drinking, and violence. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted, "Cooper seamlessly pieces together every detail of Fante's life.... [and] makes a convincing case for Fante's placement on the mantel of the greats." Both the biography and and Cooper's edition of the John Fante Reader were named by the Los Angeles Times among the best books of the year.
Cooper told CA: "When I was in my early twenties I stumbled upon John Fante's masterpiece, Ask the Dust. The novel had been out of print for over thirty years, but I was so stunned by its beauties that I looked up Fante in Contemporary Authors and then I wrote him a unabashed fan letter. Incredibly, he wrote back: 'Writing is a great joy but the profession of writing is horrible. I wish you all the good luck in the world.' As I note at the end of my life of Fante, I have felt his wish with me all these years."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Films in Review, November, 1994, review of "Perspectives on John Huston," p. 70.
Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television, August, 1995, Nevena Dakovic, review of Perspectives on John Huston, p. 446.
Library Journal, April 1, 2000, Morris Hounion, review of Full of Life: A Biography of John Fante, p. 101.
Publishers Weekly, March 20, 2000, review of Full of Life, p. 78.
Canongate Books Web site,http://www.canongate.net/ (December 19, 2001).