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#0627: Willa Cather to George Seibel, October 12, 1922

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NUMBER FIVE BANK STREET3 My dear Mr. Seibel1:

Thank you for your very, very kind letter. The book4 of course has made the hottest kind of friends and the hottest kind of enemies. On one morning I got two letters from two Lutheran ministers - one challenging me to a debate in Carnegie Hall, and the other telling me that I had written “a masterpiece that will shed glory on our literature for many, many years to come.”

Mr. Knopf5 is delighted with the controversy6 and the very good business results7 of it. I can’t say I enjoy it so much. I think it is rather unfortunate for an imaginative work to be argued about in this way - it destroys the perspective.

But I am glad you think it a good book. I think it is. It took a great deal out of me. and I worked at it so long and so hard that I think my interest would have flagged if there hadn’t been a live fire at the core of the book. story.

I see your proofreader eye is still with you and I am immensely obliged to you for the errors you noted. I’ll see that they are caught up in the next printing8 - which, I believe, is to be made very soon.

I have had one or two irate letters from Germans, but I think they were simply people who were not very intelligent. Nobody could read the book without seeing how sympathetically the individual German is always handled - almost sentimentally.

If ever I do come to Pittsburgh9, you may be sure I’ll let you know. I go West in a few weeks but I will be here again soon after the first of January. Please be sure to let me know if you and Mrs. Seibel10 are in town.

Very cordially yours, Willa Cather