My book, , appeared in 1970 and was based on much primary material that had not been available to Brown.
I was able to correct errors and add details, but my record was far from complete, and it also contained its own errors.
To make matters still more difficult, Lewis's memoir of her friend also tries to manage the image, and one has to use her data with caution.
If he can successfully negotiate the minefields, the biographer of Cather has a great deal of autobiographical fiction to help in his task.
She certainly made the task of writing her life more difficult; yet she and other writers who have wanted to cover their tracks always have been doomed to failure.
My notes make it clear when I am working from letters and when I am drawing on her fiction.
Knopf tried his best to preserve Cather's privacy, but it was difficult.
He said himself at the time of the centennial celebration of her birth in 1973 that "anyone who abhors contact with members of the public is best advised not to produce work which has public interest." Cather resented the fact that she could not sit on a bench in Central Park without being recognized and accosted by strangers, but all her efforts to keep out of the limelight arid control access to her life have been unsuccessful in keeping biographers off her trail.
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.