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Thank you for your letter bearing good wishes, and may I send you all possible good wishes for the coming year?
I have been a long time in replying to your letter3 of December 4th. I have thought your proposition over carefully and I am still, as I was when I first read your letter, strongly against any plan to make an illustrated edition of ANTONIA4 for next year, or for any other year.
Certainly, I like Grant Wood's5 work, but his whole view of the West, and his experience of it, is very different from my own. Our geographical background was different. Iowa6 is a black-loam and heavy-clay state: too much rain and plenty of mud. In Central and Western Nebraska7 the soil is sandy and light, not nearly so productive as in Iowa,- that is why the farms were so much further apart. Settlers in Nebraska were seventy per cent from overseas. Foreign population in Iowa was much smaller - though there were a good many Czechs there.
Why can't we let ANTONIA alone? She has gone her own way quietly and with some
dignity, and neither you nor I have reason to complain of her behavior. She wasn't
played up in the first place, and surely a coming-out party, after twenty years,
would be a little funny. I think it would be all wrong to dress her up and
push her. We have saved her from text books8, from dismemberment, from
omnibuses, and now let us save her from
⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ colored illustrations. I like her
just as she is.
I would, of course, be pleased if I could feel sure that the Benda9 illustrations will never be ripped out10 again, and I would be greatly
gratified if one of the excellent proof-readers at the Riverside Press would run
through the book and mark the broken letters and illegible words which should be
replaced. In case you should ever decide to reset the book, I beg you to use just
the same type and the same slightly tinted paper
. ( now used.
By the way, I think very well of a book you have recently published, but I would not
dare tell you which, lest one of your enterprising young men11
should manage to work my name into an