Skip to main content

#1509: Willa Cather to Viola Roseboro', November 28, 1940

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
⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My dear, dear Miss Roseboro'1:

Your letter3 finally reached me, and I wish you could know how much pleasure it brought with it. You realize exactly the reason why I was so hopeful that you would like it, this book4, and that you would find it true to the spirit of that civilization which, as you say, was so "pleasantly surfaced". And you have seen through to the core of my experience in writing the book. It "eased" the hurt of bitter sorrow, because when the present was painful, it was a help to me to turn back to those very early memories. When I took the story up again after the long break,5 there was a kind of religious comfort in remembering and in trying to treat the material humbly and truthfully and not to overcolor it. I do feel proud and honored that it rings true to an exiled Southerner whose experience has been so like my own. Of course, your real knowledge of the South is much deeper and more discriminating than mine.

With love and deep gratitude to one of my earliest critics6, who was brave enough to tell me that I was certainly going wrong when I tried to write about things of which I had only the most superficial knowledge.

Willa Cather