A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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To Marine LelandJanuary 31, 1942Smith 

Is compelled by Leland's letter and believes that North America is home to a French language and literature, despite what most American tourists think. It is difficult to understand the French of rural areas, for they seem to leave out syllables in the same way southern Americans do. Loves the French of urban Canadians; it is charming and antique. President Thomas Masaryk wrote after reading Shadows on the Rock that he overheard Canadian soldiers speaking an antiquated French in London during the World War. Masaryk, who studied Old French, could detect patterns in the language that appeared to be from the time of Louis XIV and XV. Appreciates hearing about the new division of the Modern Language Association, and sends her good wishes. P.S.: Please keep Masaryk's story private. He is dead and cannot grant permission to quote from a letter.  Willa Cather 

To Roscoe CatherNovember 16, [1930], on letterhead of The Grosvenor, 35 Fifth Avenue, New York, NYUNL-Roscoe 

The new pure gold medal is good-looking and quite big: a great paperweight! Will have it appraised at the bank. It's one kind of praise that actually has value! [In the fall of 1930, Cather received the Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters for Death Comes for the Archbishop.] Is sending a New York Times editorial that correctly explains why Sinclair Lewis received the Nobel Prize ["Mr. Lewis's Nobel Prize," New York Times, 6 November 1930, p. 24]. Americans seem that way to Europeans, and those we've bullied like to read a critical account. They are probably right about us. Wrote Lewis and confessed that though she would have rather received the award herself, she's glad that if she didn't, he did. Many of the paper's readers mistakenly believe she won, and are sending requests for a share of the prize money. Is mailing a copy of the speech made by Judge Grant when she got the [Howells] award. Maybe he could consider sending it and clippings on to Elsie. Is so busy with other letters that she won't have time to write Elsie herself. George Whicher was going to bring Virginia and Tom up to Jaffrey to see her the first weekend in December, but her schedule has been changed by the medal ceremony. Will spend Thanksgiving with friends in Philadelphia, where she expects only a dinner, a room of her own, and privacy.  Please send check to Grosvenor address.  Willie. 

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