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Fortunately, correspondents who outlived her had the good sense to realize that Cather belongs to the world and her letters ought to be preserved.It is still impossible to publish or quote from her letters (her will forbids it), but they are available for consultation, and the information they contain is public property.

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When she died, her reputation was firmly established as one of the most significant American novelists, and during the succeeding decades her stature has continued to grow. Donald Adams wrote in the that "no American novelist was more purely an artist," and George Whicher declared four years later that "no American writer . While no biography ever can be definitive, this study contains a great deal more material than any previous one and goes considerably beyond my own earlier biography, as well as the efforts of others, in presenting a life-size portrait of this remarkable woman. He was wrong, of course, and since Cather died there has been a steady accumulation of material to fuel the ever-growing interest in her life and work.Elizabeth Sergeant's memoir of her long friendship with Cather is another important contribution to Cather studies, as are the reminiscences of Ferris Greenslet, Alfred Knopf, and many others who knew her.I came to my interest in Cather in 1967 or 1968 when I was invited to contribute a brief critical biography to a series brought out by the nowdefunct publisher Pegasus.Bernice Slote at the University of Nebraska was indefatigable in recovering and organizing Cather's fugitive essays, editing her poems and stories, and writing about her.Virginia Faulkner and the University of Nebraska Press carried out a large publishing venture in making Cather's early work available, and William Curtin, editor of , two volumes of Cather's journalistic writings, is the benefactor of all Cather scholars.