A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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To Mr. MillerOct. 24, 1924Newberry 

Sorry he is irritated by her writing, but he will go on being irritated. Does not agree with his standard of judgment. Writes to suit herself. Reason she took the male point of view in Ántonia was certainly not to try to sound like a man. Narrator doesn't really matter anyway, but is only an angle of vision. A story of action doesn't need a clearly defined narrator, but a story of feeling, designed to create a mood, does. Two greatest modern writers were Tolstoi and Turgenev, and they are utterly dissimilar.   Willa Cather   [Stout #750]

To Bernard DeVotoMar. 10, 1937Stanford 

Appreciated his published letter to Edmund Wilson. Has wanted to say something along those lines herself—that economic conditions are a very small part of human life. Theorists the only ones interested in theories. Social crusaders seem to lose sight of individual human beings. Leo Tolstoi decided, in the end, that it was a mistake to try to reform society. Glad he stepped up to say the world is made up of persons, not masses, and that history, not theories, is our best guide to understanding humanity.   Willa Cather   [Stout #1357]

To Mrs. Flynn [prob. c. Mar. 1943, following German surrender at Stalingrad] transcription made by E. K. Brown; ; Beinecke 

Sorry to be late replying to invitation to tea being held in the Jewett garden in May. Has many happy memories of that garden. Was last there three years before Mary Jewett's illness. Would be too painful to go there again. Sorry the village has not kept up the house where Sarah and Mary Jewett gathered such beautiful things. Similarly, Mme Franklin-Grout's estate in France, which was left as a retreat for women writers, was turned to other purposes by the French government right away and her Flaubert collection sent to a museum in Rouen that no longer exists. Tolstoi's estate has been damaged by the Germans. Sarah Orne Jewett still lives in her work.   [Stout #1621]