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I hate to send you1 such a beastly slovenly letter, but my own typewriter is not here and none of my writing tools are unpacked. I using the carpenter's pen.With many apologies W. S. C. FG ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ Dear Mr. Greenslet1;
Excuse old machine,- only one at hand. This morning I received from a
Miss Hahn3, with no sort of letter4 or apology, a
iy reconstructed version of "Antonia."5 You spoke to me of using a portion
of the book, some twenty pages; you did not mention such a horror as a
skeleton oized version of the whole novel. The lady has
tried to make it a story of action; now it was never meant to be a story of
I had decided, after your talk with me, to allow your educational department
to use the first thirty pages6
of the book, minus the introduction7. If it would be an accommodation to you, personally, I would still be
willing to allow that, on condition that there shall be no cuts at
al all in the text, and that
this lady shall not write the in introduction.
Can't we just drop the whole matter8, anyway? You tell me they want something of 'mine'. Then your educators go and make this text as much like Zane Grey9 as possible. The reconstruction by Miss Hahn has neither Zane Grey's merits nor mine.
Really, my dear F.G., you've never
treated "Antonia" very gallantly. You are always trying to do her in and
make ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ her cheap. (That's exaggeration, of course, but I'm really
very much annoyed.)
ButAnd you know how you've suggested
cheap editiond, film possibilities, etc. Antonia had done well enough by her
is , not in the cut rate drugstores or
re-written by miss Hahn. She made her way b
by being what she is, not by being the compromise her publishers have
several times tried to make her. Even a cut in price would be a compromise
in the case of that particular book, I think. And as to a cut in text,
reducing the whole book to some few thousand words - - -! Those horrible boil-downs of "Notre Dame
de Paris"10 and "Adam Bede"11
which are handed out to children are poison, as you well know.
I'm in my new house12, but not unpacked, hence this untidy machine letter.
You see I don't want to go into a book that is made up of reconstructions of
this kind, where the text is boiled down. It doesn't give youngsters
ve even a chance to come in contact with the
writing personality of a single one of the writers presented to them in this
packing-house form. I think
it's the lowest trick ever put over on young people.
Enraged though I am, I'm still your very good friend, and I send you good New Year wishes from my heart. Only let me hear no more of Miss Hahn and her stupid, brutal trade.Faithfully (and affectionately) yours Willa Cather
My new apartment will be ever so nice when it's done.