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#2727: Willa Cather to Joseph Lesser, March 28, 1944

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Miss Nettanis Semmens3, Board of Christian Education, 299 Queen Street, West, Toronto 2B, Ontario4, Canada. Dear Miss Semmens:

First, let me say that Miss Cather thinks your condensation of two chapters of “Shadows on the Rock”5 an intelligent one for your purpose. But we are sorry that you took the trouble to make a condensation without first consulting either the publisher or the author.

Neither Mr. Knopf6 nor Miss Cather ever permits any condensation of, or extracts from, her books to be published. Even in scholarly articles written about Miss Cather’s work, the author must obtain special permission from Miss Cather to use lengthy quotations. The American copyright law gives authors strict protection in the matter of quotation. For instance, when a new book is published the reviewers are not allowed to quote an entire paragraphare limited to the number of words they may quote in their reviews.

Very sincerely yours,
Dear Mr. Lesser1;

Here is the letter from the “Christian Educators” and the suggested reply.

Yours W. S. C.