A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

13 letters found

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To Earl and Achsah Barlow BrewsterJuly 1, 1934Drew U (Brewster 22) 

Injured hand has kept her from writing to express her admiration for their book on D. H. Lawrence [D. H. Lawrence: Remembrances and Correspondence, London: M. Secker, 1934]. The book reveals a kinder aspect of Lawrence and is much more truthful than the rest, though Brett's was sincere in its way [Lawrence and Brett: A Friendship, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1933]. Isabelle Hambourg writes that she feels it is the best book about Lawrence. Is going with Edith to Grand Manan the second week of July. Has been stuck in the city finishing her book which was, unfortunately, interrupted for months when her hand was so poor. Hopes to see them soon.   Willa Cather 

To Norman FoersterJanuary 14, 1931UNL-Cather Collected 

Does not lecture anymore, so must refuse his invitation. Has been meaning to write an extended letter to him about his book, which she read closely. Concurs with him generally, but feels he inflates the importance of many of the New York critics. Only Randolph Bourne and, to a degree, Mr. Canby had the essential innate sense of quality needed by critics. Consider, for example, Stuart Sherman (nothing personal to Sherman, as he always treated her well), who did not have such a sensibility. He could research a writer and say many valid things about him or her, but it was an external product of scholarship. To put it another way: if she mixed up a few pages of Nigger of the Narcissus with some of Joseph Conrad's respectable imitators (like Francis Brett Young), Sherman wouldn't know the difference. A critic must be more than idealistic and hardworking. In fact, a good deal of first-rate criticism was done by non-professional critics like Henry James, Walter Pater, and Prosper Mérimée (particularly his essay on Gogol). Not all good writers are good critics; Turgenev was not. That said, writers are the best at evaluating new writing and composers are the top critics of new music, or at least they are better than scholars. Since she wants to say this and so much more, she knows that his book was successful, as a reader's fierce engagement with a book's ideas is always a mark of accomplishment. P. S.: [dated January 20] After writing letter, was asked not to send it by secretary, who thought it would needlessly offend people. Secretary is now on vacation in Cuba, and has decided to risk sending it. Feels that he won't be indiscreet with the letter, even to his talkative publisher.  Willa Cather 

To Carrie Miner SherwoodNovember 25, 1935WCPM 

Wants to update her on her life lately: just arrived after a rough overseas journey. Edith was quite ill and had to enter a hospital to get a growth on her shoulder removed after they arrived. Thankfully it was benign and she is now on the road to recovery. Has a temporary housekeeper since beloved Josephine returned to France with her family. Her husband is in poor health and wanted to end his days in his native village in the Pyrenees. Josephine, who was with them twenty years, is a wonderful cook, but also one of the great friends of her life. Is glad she is back in her home country, but misses her terribly. Did send a letter to Dean Lee [of St. Mark's Pro-Cathedral] for the anniversary of the Bishop, though he wasn't very polite in his invitation, and might not choose to read it at the dinner. The Dean seems unhappy with both the Bishop and herself. Would like to write a sincere letter to the Bishop, for she respects him tremendously. In both appearance and character, Bishop Beecher is just right. Please share her deep feelings with him, as she is shy about doing it.   Willie 

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