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#2083: Willa Cather to Roscoe Cather [November 28, 1918]

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My Dear Roscoe1:

Your nice letter deserved a speedy answer. I am so glad that you and father4 and mother5 like this book6. Most of the critics, too, seem to find this the best book I have done. I got quite a wonderful letter about it from France7 today, and it will be published in France8 very soon. Personally, I like the book before this one9 better, because there is more warmth and struggle in it. All the critics find "Antonia" more artistic. A man10 in The Nation11 writes that "it exists in an atmosphere of its own—an atmosphere of pure beauty12." Nonsense, its the atmosphere of my grandmother13's kitchen, and nothing else. Booth Tarkington14 writes that it is as "simple as a country prayer meeting or a Greek temple—and as beautiful.15" There are lots of these people who can't write anything true themselves who yet recognize it when they see it. And whatever is really true is true for all people. As long as one says "will people stand this, or that?" one gets [illegible]nowhere. You either have to be utterly commonplace or else do the things people don't want, because it has not yet been invented. No really new and original thing is wanted: people have to learn to like new things.