A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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To Ferris GreensletFeb. 15, 1926, from New YorkHarvard 

Mr. Knopf says Houghton Mifflin not willing to sell rights to her books. Please, then, try to sell copies. Not fair for him to imply that A Lost Lady was only a reprise of My Ántonia. True, the original of Ántonia did work for the original of Mrs. Forrester. Both books consider the same society but different elements of it and in very different ways. Yes, will try to shorten the preface [to My Ántonia], which is quite necessary to a reader's understanding of the ending. Wants to wait, though, to avoid interrupting the work in progress. When is the new edition to appear? Must keep Benda illustrations.   Willa Cather   [Stout #824]

To Zoë Akins ,  Sunday [Dec. 20, 1936] , from New YorkHuntington 

Needs to follow-up that business letter with a personal one. No, isn't angry. Play manuscript butchered her book, showed no understanding of Mrs. Forrester. Doesn't hold that against her. Sorry to be in such a rush. Life very hectic now, but will cheer up again soon.   W.   [Stout #1342]

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]