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#0375: Willa Cather to Ferris Greenslet, December 16 [1916]

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F.G. Dear Mr. Greenslet1;

Miss Larsen4, one of the editors of the Scandinavian Review5, and Ann Erika Fries6, a Swedish writer and a lecturer on Scandinavian literature, have both suggested to me that there is a strong probability that we can have a Swedish and perhaps a Norwegian translation of [illegible] "The Song of the Lark"7 and "O Pioneers!"8 if we bring them to the attention of the proper persons. Nielsen9, the Danish poet made the same suggestion about the earlier book when he was here two years ago. He advised me, however, not to take it up through any American-Swedes, like Bjorkman10, who all have irons of their own in the fire. Lacking addresses of the right people abroad, I thought no more about it then. Miss Larsen and Mrs. Fries, however, have given me the names and addresses of several publishers and critics to whom they think review copies should be sent. They feel quite confident that I would get good results from approaching these gentlemen, and perhaps get a fine translation which would have a considerable career in the Scandinavian countries.

It seems to me that you11 could take this matter up with the foreign publishers and the critics who read for them, more gracefully than I could. If you wrote each gentleman a letter, enclosing a copy of Edward Garnett's12 article13 in the Atlantic14 of last February(?) and sent to each copies of the two books, it would be much better than anything I could do. This, I know, would be a good deal of trouble, and I don't know that there would be any direct return to the house from a Scandinavian translation, but there would be a great deal of satisfaction and stimulus in it for me. I have been wanting to ask you to whether you could attend to it for me, for six weeks or more now, but I've hesitated to come to the point. If you hate to write letters as much as I do, it is asking a good deal of you, especially as you will probably have to write letters long enough to give reasonable pretext for asking these gentlemen to examine the books. I think they Garnett article will help. They will all know him, in any case.

I enclose a list of the men most appraochable and influential. If, in your letter to Hambro15, you suggest that you mention the fact that the reviewes in the Musical Courier16 and in Musical America17 said that the character of Kronborg was drawn after Olive Fremstad18, it would engage his attention. He himself translated my McClure19 article20 on Fremstad and published it in the Morgenbladet21 with fine illlustrations.

Now, another request. If you have any of those booklets you wrote about me to advertise the "Lark", will you send send me three dozen! I have sent every one of those you gave me to women's clubs and people who write to me asking for 'a short biography.' Those books have saved me time and misery, and I want a lot of them. I am saving three requests for biographical matter from until I can get some of those booklets from you, and I hope you have a supply still on hand.

Just now I am finishing up some short stories22 for Paul Reynolds23. By the first of the year he will have made me so rich that I can a afford to bone down on my long story24, which will probably come rather slowly at first. I have promised to do an article for the American25, but I think I can wriggle out26 of that. When are you com- ing to New York2? I would have liked to talk this attack on the Scandinavian publishers over with you. I have it very much on my mind and want to go at it in the proper way. I think it ought to be done through my American publisher, and your exposition of my the two books in the booklet for which I am now begging, makes me think that you could write to this group of highbrows more effectivly than anyone else, if you are willing to undertake such a chore. As soon as my telephone is in, I will send you my number. I wish you were going to be in town on Thursday night and could dine here at seven with Isabelle27 and her husband28. Let me know if Bby any chance you are to be here. S. S. Mc.29 will be here, and will tell you all about the war. He is really very interesting about it. Harry Dwight30 will be here. Do you know him?

Faithfully Willa S. C.