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#1730: Willa Cather to Ferris Greenslet, March 29 [1946]

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F.G. ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ Dear F.G.1

At last I have accomplished3 the Cogitator4: the only anthology I have ever tried to read in prose. I did, and still do, enjoy Wavell's5 delightful "Other Men's Flowers"6. I love his witty and fearless comment. Anthologies of poetry are the best, surely, because they can present a complete work and avoid the old "Pearls from Ruskin7" pattern which cursed our childhood. I think I like Huxley8's reply9 to Kingsley10 as well as anything in the "Cogitator." There are many things like that- - - which one is very grateful for. But I do find the book too long. For my limited mentality the fine things blunt each other. I like to read a man in the atmosphere of his time. One reads Justice Brandeis11 with one mind and Pascal12 with quite of another mind. The satisfaction one feels in entering a man's time through his book is a deeper pleasure than the shock of contrast13 when the thought of the eleventh century is brought against that of the twentieth.

I would enlarge upon this but I doubt if you can read my script at all, for my thumb is strapped tight in Doctor Ober's14 inexorable steel brace, and I must hold my pen between my first and second fingers—to which limitation I am not as yet accustomed. This is temporary.

Faithfully yours Willa Cather

Don't you honestly believe that anthologies are the curse of a very superficial period?