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#3219: Transcriptionion of Letter from Willa Cather to Paul Kohner, [January or February 1942]

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COPY Paul Kohner1 9169 Sunset Blvd Hollywood3 My dear Mr. Kohner,

I thank you for your friendly letter4 and your friendly interest in the ARCHBISHOP5. I must tell you, however, that I have not changed my mind6 about the filming of DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP. Had I planned it for the cinema screen, I should have written the book very differently; or rather I should not have written the book at all. I should have written a play for cinema production. I often think the cinema people are blind to the possibilities of their own work, and I am confident that twenty-five years from now there will be a group of very gifted writers who will write for the cinema alone. And these writers will invent their own material and will have too much professional pride to dramatize novels - a rather parasitic process, after all. You ask me to "try to see what a great thing it would be for people at this time to see the beauty of this book." My dear Mr. Kohner, the book is not meant to be seen with the eye (which means no effort at all on the part of the observer), but to be seen with the mind, which means a slight effort on the part of the reader. In this slight effort lies the whole reason for the reader's interest in the book.

Some day I may try my hand at writing a film, and if I do I shall certainly let you see it.

Very cordially yours,