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#1714: Willa Cather to Ferris Greenslet, August 23, 1945

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Mr Kent
mailed 9/26/45
Mr. Ferris Greenslet1 Houghton Mifflin Company 2 Park Street Boston 7, Massachusetts4
Dear Ferris Greenslet:

I do not think there is any objection to the proposition for an Italian translation of Antonia5, though I rather hate any business proposition6 that comes through the Viking Publishing House7. In my bookcase at home I have translations of Death Comes for the Archbishop8 in nine different languages, and of the nine translations the one in Italian9 is much the best. One might think that the French translation would be very good, but I had to send back10 to the French publishers the first translation because it sounded like a school girl's exercise in French and, above all, because all the footnotes explaining western terminology were incorrect and absurd. "Trappers", for instance, in the footnote appeared as "a religious order." I suppose the eventual French translation11 is better, but I have never had the heart to examine it very closely.

An Italian friend read a large part of the Italian translation to me and he approved of it heartily. I myself examined all the foot notes carefully and I should say they were models for lexicographers. I wish I had the Italian translation here or that my secretary12 were not away on her vacation. Perhaps when I go home, lete in September, it will not be too late to give you the name of the woman13 who translated the Archbishop. In case she is still living she would be incapable of doing a slovenly job.

Cordially yours, Willa Cather