A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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To Professor HornbergerMay 1946 "DRAFT" is written across the top and the letter is unsigned; ; UNL-Rosowski Cather 

Will never allow Death Comes for the Archbishop to be in an anthology, as anthologies are ultimately shallow [Horberger published The Literature of the United States in 1946]. After speaking to many young people, is convinced that the college classroom is no place for modern books. When a man is in school, he ought to study the classics of the English canon. An energetic undergraduate will read current books for fun. When teaching school in Pittsburgh, was forced to use a set list of texts, which included Silas Marner, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Marmion, Quentin Durward, Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, Macbeth, and the poetry of Robert Burns. Some students are still in contact. Would Prof. Hornberger consider Silas Marner—a rewarding if unhurried book, good for modern students—worthy of an anthology? Does not know who selected the list and was given no options, but was expected to read them and test the students on them. This is the limit of what a high school English class can be. If one hundred students read a great writer, about two of them will be affected deeply, and the other ninety-eight will not be injured by it. When reading the classics, there needs to be no distasteful argument of a writer's worth. All anthologies make this kind of argument, except for Field-Marshal Wavell's [ Other Men's Flowers: An Anthology of Poetry ], whose notes are sometimes better than even the selected work. Except for the glut of Browning's work, his selections are perfect. He loves The Hound of Heaven and expresses that. He fears neither Rommel nor erudition. PS: Please send a list of pieces in Volume One to aid in thinking about Volume Two.

To Roscoe CatherJune 23 [1917], on W.S.C. letterhead, from Red Cloud, NebraskaUNL-Roscoe 

Has neglected to answer his letter with story of Virginia's tooth, which she told to all of her New York friends. Quickly came west because the University of Nebraska presented her an honorary Doctor of Letters on their fiftieth anniversary commencement. Edith Abbott, who works with Jane Addams, also got one. The two of them were the first women ever to receive such degrees from the University. John Neihardt also received the award, and the Doctor of Laws was given to Theodore Roosevelt, Roscoe Pound, and General John J. Pershing. Elsie was already there, but father drove to Lincoln for the sole purpose of attending the ceremony. So sweet of him! Barnard McNeny also attended. Was happy to see her old teachers so proud of her. Only twelve or so women have received honorary degrees in the U.S., most of them educators, like Alice Freeman Palmer and Jane Addams. Any chance there would be someplace to rent in Lander between July 15 and August 15? She and Edith Lewis are thinking that when Edith comes west, they may go to Wyoming. Couldn't stay with at his house, as Edith doesn't like visiting. At $5 a day the Amoretti ranch seems overpriced. Unfortunately, getting the degree meant that she never was able to shop for new dresses for the twins as she intended. Will get them New York dresses soon. P.S. Father and Elsie are doing well.  Willie. 

To Roscoe CatherApril 25, 1933UNL-Roscoe 

Should have wired him. So pleased that his bank has weathered recent events. Curious about his perspective on the banking sector. Thinks anything is preferable to doing nothing, and though Roosevelt is not a genius, at least the U.S. will be active again. Haven't had a President who can converse in French with the French Ambassador since Theodore Roosevelt. The Laval incident only happened because Hoover and Laval had a misunderstanding. Is very busy, but hopes Roscoe continues to stay in touch about his business activities.   Willie. 

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