A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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To Zoë AkinsDec. 15, [1936], from New YorkHuntington 

Please tell Mr. Totheroh that she does not authorize his dramatization of A Lost Lady. He should have asked her before he worked on it. Her sale of screen rights does not imply that anyone can use the book who wants to. Will keep the manuscript until she sees her. Has already marked it up some. This may seem curt, but it's a business letter, not a personal one. Has many demands on her time.   W. S. C.   [Stout #1337]

To Zoë AkinsJan. 18, [1937], from New YorkHuntington 

Loves the Chinese nightingale! But don't order from Thorley's florist shop again; quality has deteriorated. Will try before long to explain why she so dislikes Dan Totheroh's dramatization of A Lost Lady and send it back. How could Zoë have liked it? Dialogue doesn't fit the characters. Maybe she thinks it doesn't matter how a book is butchered so long as it becomes a play. However bad [Eugene] O'Neill is, at least he makes up his own drivel. Is always struggling to protect books from stage and radio. But as to radio, hopes she listened to king's speech. Sorry to be so cross. Please don't hold it against her.   W.   [Stout #1352]

To Zoë AkinsMar. 16, [1937], from New YorkHuntington 

Is in bed with lumbago and also is not writing letters because starting a new book. In spite of both of those things, wanted to write and say how much she liked her poems. Keep sending those, not plays written by idiots [ref. to Totheroh]. Hope it's nicer in California than in New York, where it's very cold for March. P.S.: Likes Tovarich [a play by Jacques Deval] very much.  Willa   [Stout #1359]

To Zoë AkinsApr. 19, 1937Huntington 

Here are comments on Mr. Totheroh's play. When Mrs. Forrester enters the judge's office she says, "My, your stairs are steep!"—very low class usage, makes her look common. Then he has her refer to her age; she would never have done so. She tells a Swede his son's eyes are as blue as mountain lakes—language of a pretentious social climber. Same when she says she would die to have eyes like that—makes her seem low class. Repeatedly so. On p. 13 he has the judge imply that Captain Forrester has behaved un-ethically—contrary to the whole ethical foundation of the book! Couldn't read beyond the first act. It was like a betrayal of the person she knew after whom Mrs. Forrester was modeled. Once again, thanks for sending the verses. Is not irritated with her any longer and is sorry this incident has caused disharmony between them.   Willa   [Stout #1364]