Skip to main content

#2729: Willa Cather to Alfred A. Knopf, June 30 [1944]

More about this letter…
Plain view:

Guide to Reading Letter Transcriptions

Some of these features are only visible when "plain text" is off.

Textual Feature Appearance
passage deleted with a strikethrough mark deleted passage
passage deleted by overwritten added letters overwritten passage
passage added above the line passage with added text above
passage added on the line passage with added text inline
passage added in the margin passage with text added in margin
handwritten addition to a typewritten letter typed passage with added handwritten text
missing or unreadable text missing text noted with "[illegible]"
uncertain transcriptions word[?]
notes written by someone other than Willa Cather Note in another's hand
printed letterhead text printed text
text printed on postcards, envelopes, etc. printed text
text of date and place stamps stamped text
passage written by Cather on separate enclosure. written text
Dear Alfred1;

Certainly, I would not mind being quoted5 on Kessel6's book7, f if you could use a word from me along with comment from two or three other persons. I have been purposely out of things so completely for the last two years that I wouldn't want to appear alone—as if I thought myself an authority and greatly valued my own opinion.

By the way—within the last ten days the Herald Tribune8 printed on the front page a statement ar from from Eisenhauer9 on about the actual assistance rendered to the invasion by the sabotage of the Maquis10. Now in so many ASTICOU INN
2of the Western cities where Kessel's book ought to be read, those two words mean nothing. All middle Westerners hate foreign words—especially french. Whyfore? Uncertain as to how to pronounce them.

Don't betray me to the advertising writer, but couldn't you quote Eisenhauer's statement, and yourself make a statement about Kessel's book? It is the only book I know (in English) which will tell my friends in Kansas City11 what the Resistance actually is; how it was formed and how it operates. Why, it told me all this! The very word "underground" has an ugly connotation for us; Al Capone12—dirty politics—graft.

Of course the finest things in 3the book will miss the general public. Saint Luc. for example, who is all that the lovers of France13 have loved in French history and french in french life. But even my friends in Red Cloud14 would get Gerbier and Mathilde15. A little horror won't hurt them any.

Please give my grateful congratulations16 to Blanche17 on these two books18 (Brown19's and Kessel's). To me they seem more important than most worthy books because they are more alive.

Faithfully yours W. S. C.

Even here, in law-abiding Maine20, the French rResistance is suspect—to farmer and fisherman it means "underground"—simply a form of lawlessness; dangerous, not to be trusted.

From Willa Cather ASTICOU INN NORTHEAST HARBOR2 MAINE Mr. Alfred A. Knopf1 501 Madison Avenue New York3 22 New York NORTHEAST HARBOR, MAINE2 JUN 30 1944 630 PM Personal