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#1758: Willa Cather to E. K. Brown, April 12, 1947

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ Dear Professor Brown1:

I can't give any definite plans as to where I will be in the early summer, but I am now quite sure that I will not be going West3 in the middle June. I expect, indeed, to go straight North to a cottage4 in Northeast Harbor, Maine5, where I have often been very comfortable and where I can work a little.

I warmly agree with you about the benefits of our young people going abroad, especially to France6. But I am sure you will agree with me that one has to choose the kind of young people. Once when I was in France for a year7, I had an opportunity to observe some of the young Americans who flocked about Gertrude Stein8. One couldn't very well tell whether they were youths of promise or not; they certainly thought they were, and fearlessly stated that opinion. But not one of them in the years that have gone by has done anything that took hold of one very hard. One of them, Steinbeck9 I think, wrote a play set in Norway10, called "The Moon is Down"11. I read that with great interest and felt a real throb of life in it. I was a little disappointed when the last act and the climax of the play was a long quotation from Plato12. The quotation was very fine . . . belonged where the American put it and was effectively introduced. But to me it threw a backward shadow on the earlier part of the play. Perhaps, if I were to read it again, I would feel differently.

What I mean is, that it takes the right kind of young American to go to France. He must have character and depth, and a passion for the things that lie deep behind French history and French art. I wish I ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ could have had a comfortable boardinghouse near Chartres13 when Henry Adams14 used to prowl about the cathedral. Young people who flocked about Gertrude Stein were a rather soft lot. Some of them wore bracelets!! I hope you have had better luck with your students who have gone over.

As soon as I have arranged my dates for Northeast Harbor, Maine, and Nova Scotia15, I will certainly let you know, Mr. Brown.

Faithfully yours, Willa Cather
Professor E. K. Brown1 5432 East View Park Chicago 1516 Illinois NEW YORK, N.Y.2 APR 14 1947 630 PM FROM CATHER 570 PARK AVE.17, NEW YORK CITY2