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Dear Melissa, Kari, and Diane,

Thanks for the additional information. I think my underlying question is
whether Cather herself preferred British spellings (in moderation: the
"basic" ones like "colour" instead of "color," etc.). From what I've seen
and from your very helpful information in this discussion, it's starting to
sound like it's really hard to know for sure, that is, the British
spellings may have been introduced by Knopf copyeditors, as Melissa pointed
out, and/or to make texts easier to market (without completely reprinting
them with UK spelling) in Britain and Canada.  In short, it's hard to know
what she herself actually preferred.

There is certainly no doubt she preferred "good English"--there is abundant
evidence of that, but from her letters it seems this may primarily mean
well-constructed, thoughtful, grammatical English. I've been looking at the
letter on p. 503 in *Letters *in which she says that she wishes that "college
students were taught to write good, sound English sentences (sentences with
unmistakable articulation) and to avoid hackneyed platitudinous,
woman’s-club expressions," etc. But as we all know, she also relished
western expressions and wrote *The Song of the Lark *"in the language of
Moonstone." Given the wealth of information about her thoughts about
written English, I'm concluding that whether *she *preferred English
spellings is a red herring.

Thanks again to everyone for sharing their expertise on this!

Best,
Julie


On Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 4:10 PM, Kari Ronning <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Dear Julie and Diane,
>
>
>
> Diane, thanks for bringing out those other spellings that I didn’t
> remember off hand; I’m reminded of another one, “plough” for “plow.”
>
>
>
> A note from David Stouck reminded me of some other considerations. Matthew
> Bruccoli wrote and essay (1969) about west to east transatlantic texts,
> which I think suggested that at least a modest amount of British spellings
> might have made the sheets of US texts more marketable in the UK, where
> they often were just bound by the UK publisher. David reminded me that
> Canada uses British spellings also, and Cather’s Knopf books were (almost?)
> always sent to be bound and distributed in Canada.
>
>
>
> Hope this doesn’t just complicate things for you!
>
>
>
> Sincerely,
>
>                 Kari
>
>
>
> *From:* 5 Bank Street: The Listserv for Willa Cather Scholars [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]] *On Behalf Of *Diane Prenatt
> *Sent:* Tuesday, April 05, 2016 2:33 PM
>
> *To:* [log in to unmask]
> *Subject:* Re: [5BANKSTREET] Cather and British spelling
>
>
>
> Julie,
>
>
>
> One of James Woodress’s  textual notes in the scholarly edition of *My
> Antonia* reads: “Cather had begun to adopt British spelling conventions
> in the 1920s, and [the 1937 Autograph edition of] *My Antonia* was
> brought into conformity with her later preference” (p. 517, n. 16); the
> note continues to list some of those changes—not only “-our” instead of
> “-or,” but doubled L before a suffix, “moustache” instead of “mustache,”
> “cheque” instead of “check,” “draught” instead of “draft,” etc.
>
>
>
> Diane
>
>
>
> *From:* 5 Bank Street: The Listserv for Willa Cather Scholars [
> mailto:[log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>] *On
> Behalf Of *Olin-Ammentorp, Julie
> *Sent:* Tuesday, April 05, 2016 12:29 PM
> *To:* [log in to unmask]
> *Subject:* Re: [5BANKSTREET] Cather and British spelling
>
>
>
> Thank you both so much, Melissa and Kari. This is a big help. I will
> revise accordingly!
>
> Best,
>
> Julie
>
>
>
> On Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 11:25 AM, Kari Ronning <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> Dear Julie,
>
>
>
> I don’t recall any specific place where Cather outright says she wants
> British spellings, or at least the ‘-our’ one. I agree with Melissa that
> she didn’t use it in her letters or her own typing of her manuscripts.
>
>
>
> Alfred Knopf told Sue Rosowski that house style was never imposed on
> Cather—see *A Lost Lady* textual essay, p. 323. It is, of course possible
> that he was romanticizing the relationship.
>
>
>
> It may still have been Knopf house style but one to which she agreed; he
> was positioning himself somewhat as an international publisher.  It would
> be interesting to look at other Knopf books from the same period as
> Cather’s to see if they have the same style. I suspect she was valuable
> enough to Knopf that she could have asked for something different.
>
>
>
> Houghton Mifflin did not use British spellings—but the house style of the
> Autograph Edition was very British, going much further than ‘-our’—grey,
> programme, axe, waggon, whiskey, and others. We have always thought Cather
> agreed to this, even if she did not originate the idea. And she made other,
> more slightly more substantive revisions that followed the same
> path—enquired is the only one I can think of off the top of my head.
>
>
>
> Hope this is of some help.
>
>
>
> Sincerely,
>
>                 Kari
>
>
>
> *From:* 5 Bank Street: The Listserv for Willa Cather Scholars [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]] *On Behalf Of *Olin-Ammentorp, Julie
> *Sent:* Tuesday, April 05, 2016 9:11 AM
> *To:* [log in to unmask]
> *Subject:* [5BANKSTREET] Cather and British spelling
>
>
>
> Dear 5 Bank Streeters,
>
>
>
> I'm trying to locate a solid source that states that Cather preferred
> British spellings to American spellings, but so far have come a cropper.
> Online I found the Bernice Slote edition of *Uncle Valentine and Other
> Stories, *which states that “In ‘Coming, Eden Bower!’ Willa Cather for
> the first time used the English spelling in words like ‘*neighbour*’”
> (183), but felt this was inconclusive. I checked the textual essay in the
> Scholarly Edition of *Youth and the Bright Medusa, *which confirms the
> substitution of English spelling for American in this book (470, 478), but
> does not indicate that this was Cather’s personal preference; on the
> contrary, it *may *have been house style (470). I checked Woodress on the
> publication of YBM, and found lots of publishing details, but nothing about
> Cather's spelling preferences; I also checked the online Calendar of
> Letters to see if I could find anything, but had no luck; the same with
> re-reading some key letters in the print Cather *Letters, *though it may
> be there someplace.
>
>
>
> If anyone has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it. Please feel
> free to tell me, too, if I'm fabricating the idea of "Cather preferred
> English spellings" because it fits an argument I'm making!
>
>
>
> Thanks so much.
>
> Julie Olin-Ammentorp
>
>
>
>
>
> --
>
> Julie Olin-Ammentorp
> Dept. of English
> Le Moyne College
> 1419 Salt Springs Rd.
> Syracuse, NY 13214
>
> 315-445-4429
> [log in to unmask]
>
>
>
>
>
> --
>
> Julie Olin-Ammentorp
> Dept. of English
> Le Moyne College
> 1419 Salt Springs Rd.
> Syracuse, NY 13214
>
> 315-445-4429
> [log in to unmask]
>



-- 
Julie Olin-Ammentorp
Dept. of English
Le Moyne College
1419 Salt Springs Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13214
315-445-4429
[log in to unmask]