Skip to main content

#0824: Willa Cather to Ferris Greenslet, February 15, 1926

More about this letter…
Plain view:

Guide to Reading Letter Transcriptions

Some of these features are only visible when "plain text" is off.

Textual Feature Appearance
passage deleted with a strikethrough mark deleted passage
passage deleted by overwritten added letters overwritten passage
passage added above the line passage with added text above
passage added on the line passage with added text inline
passage added in the margin passage with text added in margin
handwritten addition to a typewritten letter typed passage with added handwritten text
missing or unreadable text missing text noted with "[illegible]"
uncertain transcriptions word[?]
notes written by someone other than Willa Cather Note in another's hand
printed letterhead text printed text
text printed on postcards, envelopes, etc. printed text
text of date and place stamps stamped text
passage written by Cather on separate enclosure. written text
F.G. ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My dear Mr. Greenslet1:

Mr. Knopf3 told me of your decision4 with regard to the question of transferring my books5 to him. If the company is not willing to sell the books to him, then I think it ought to be willing to make some effort to sell them as if they were live property - not merely "creditable" books on the list, by Charles Egbert Craddock6 or Celia BThaxter7, or somebody long deceased.

Now, I come to the question of "Antonia"8. Of course, I do not think that in pushing "Antonia" or "O Pioneers"9, it is quite fair for you to disparage10 a book I published last year or the book I will publish next year. As I told you, I do not like the attitude that "A Lost Lady"11 was in any sense a repetition of "Antonia", though Mrs. Forrester12 was one of the women who employed the "hired girls" to whom Antonia belonged. (Confidentially, let me tell you that the real Antonia13 actually did work for the real Mrs. Forrester14.) The stories are studies of the same society15, but they are studies of two very different elements in it, and thatey are written in a very, very different way.

Now, as to the preface16. The preface is not very good; I had a kind of complex about it. I wrote and reqwrote it, and it was the only thing about the story that was laborious. But I still think that a preface is necessary, even if it is not good in itself. Let me take a trial at shortening the preface. The later part of the book, I am sure, would be vague if the reader did not know something17 about the rather unsuccessful personal life of the narrator.

I am terribly busy just now and shrink from breaking in at all on the story18 I have in hand. When do you want to bring out this new edition and when would you need the copy19 of the revised preface?

Now,Regarding the Benda20 illustrations.; Yyou would, of course, retain those. It is one of the few cases where I think the pictures really help the story, and I would not be willing21 to leave them out.

Cordially yours, Willa Cather