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#1404: Willa Cather to Ferris Greenslet, March 22, 1938

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ FG My dear Mr. Greenslet1:

I am greatly obliged to you3 for Trevelyan's4 "Grey of Fallodon"5. What a fine, sane book it is - full of the out-of-doors;- very good reading when one is a little under the weather.

I wish6 I could say a good word to you about "The Single Hound"7. It seems to me, from first to last, utterly artificial and "made up". If the lady8 should tell me that these were real people whom she knew, I could only say, "then you have touched them up and made them the mere mouthpieces of your own ideas, until they are no longer real".

You, my dear Ferris Greenslet, ought to know my tastes pretty well by this time. When I like a thing I like it very much, as I do "The Enemy Gods"9. That book is about real people10, we know they are real, even though their beliefs and customs are exotic. But Miss Sarton's book is full of all sorts of affectations and has nothing to do with the life of ordinary human beings.

Just in general, I detest novels about writers11. Mr. McClure12 more than once told me how Stevenson13 exclaimed to him that novels about writers were "a sickening kind of cannibalism". That is exactly the way I feel about it. If there has ever been a really fine imaginative work written about the struggles of a writer, I wish you would name it to me.# The very fanciful, I don't much enjoy either - not even Walter de la Mare14. You may murmur, what about "A Midsummer's Night Dream"15? Well, that is in verse, as the very fanciful always should be, and we have the comedy to buckle it fast to the ground. I venture to prophesy that Miss Sarton will never write anything good, because she thinks she is a little tripping fairy - and she is not. I don't know the lady, you understand - no personal grudge.

Faithfully yours, Willa Cather # I seem to remember Gissing's16 "Grub Street"17 as the best one I know.