Saturday, December 7, 2019

Happy birthday, Willa Cather

Willa Cather was born on this day in 1873. In a letter to her brother Roscoe Cather, January 8, 1940, Cather writes about Alfred A. Knopf, who became her publisher in 1920:

Somewhere I still have a letter from him, dated “Christmas morning, 4 oclock.” I had been at his house for a Christmas Eve party (awful English, excuse!) and I took with me the ms. of “A Lost Lady” thinking he might read it over the holiday. He sat up after the party that night and read it, and wrote me that night at 4 a.m. The letter reached me by special messenger on Christmas morning. So it began:
                                 “Christmas morning,
                                               four oclock.

My dear Miss Cather.
    I think you are a very great writer.————
The story struck him hard; and he was there at the bat when I pitched him a ball. (This figure is bad baseball, I know, but it expresses the relation between a writer and a live publisher, who isn't afraid.)

The Selected Letters of Willa Cather , ed. Andrew Jewell and Janis Stout (New York: Knopf, 2013).
Related reading
All OCA Cather posts (Pinboard)

[Re: “Christmas morning: there’s no closing quotation mark in the text.]

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