Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Willa Cather on adapting novels

From a 1943 letter to the playwright Zoë Akins:

Novels of action can be dramatized. Novels of feeling, even if it is only feeling for a city or a historic period, cannot be.

The Selected Letters of Willa Cather , ed. Andrew Jewell and Janis Stout (New York: Knopf, 2013).
I learned from this volume that Cather’s 1923 novel A Lost Lady was twice adapted for the screen, in 1924 and 1934 (with Barbara Stanwyck). The editors of the Letters note that it was around the time of the second adaptation that “Cather’s views on adaptation began to harden . . . , and she forbade dramatic adaptation of her works for the rest of her life and in her will.”

Related reading
All OCA Cather posts (Pinboard)

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