As editor of "The Uncollected Stories of John Cheever," I appreciate the challenges faced by Elizabeth Mehren when she researched "A Cacaphony of Cheevers" (Dec. 2).
Sorting out four years of litigation is no trifling task, and she crisply summarized the whole affair. I write only to clarify a few points that perhaps the demands of space precluded her from exploring.
Yes, I sent a "working" list of stories to Ben Cheever in November, 1987. More important, in December of that year I discussed the entire project with Mrs. Cheever at her home: the subtitle "1930-1981" (certainly an indication of scope); John Updike and Raymond Carver as candidates to introduce the volume; the four or five stories identified as "uncollected" but which were then not located.
Mrs. Cheever has admitted in testimony that she voluntarily gave me one of these missing stories. At our meeting, she also reviewed the table of contents, and I left two photocopied binders of stories with her. Not once did Mary Cheever indicate she was anything but enthusiastic. With the story provided by Mrs. Cheever in hand, "The Uncollected Stories of John Cheever: 1930-1981" amounted to 64 or 65 identified and secured stories as of December, 1987.