Sunday, June 30, 2013

On This Day: Gone With the Wind



Gone With the Wind

On this day in 1936, Margaret Mitchell's novel, Gone with the Wind, was published. It went on to be one of the best selling novels of all time and the basis for the 1939 movie.


Margaret Mitchell

In 1926, after a series of physical injuries, Margaret was forced to quit her job as a reporter at the Atlanta Journal. She grew restless with so much time on her hands, and with the aid of her typewriter, a gift from her husband, she began telling the story of an Atlanta belle named Pansy O'Hara.

In telling the story of Pansy's life through the Civil War and beyond, Margaret drew on the tales she had heard from her parents and other relatives, as well as Confederate war veterans she had met as a young girl. She was very secretive about her work but she eventually gave the manuscript to an editor from MacMillan Publishing. He encouraged her to complete the novel, with one important change: the heroine's name. Margaret agreed, changed it to Scarlett, and now it's one of the most memorable names in the history of literature.

When it was published, Gone with the Wind caused a sensation in Atlanta and went on to sell millions of copies in the United States and throughout the world. It drew some criticism for its romanticized view of the Old South and its slaveholding elite, but its epic tale of war, passion and loss captivated readers far and wide. In 1937 Margaret won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and by this time a movie project was already in the works. The film was produced by Hollywood giant David O. Selznick, who paid Mitchell a record-high $50,000 for the film rights to her book.

Even though they were plagued with problems on set, Gone with the Wind nonetheless became one of the highest-grossing and most acclaimed movies of all time, breaking box office records and winning nine Academy Awards out of 13 nominations.

If you have never read Gone With The Wind, I highly recommend it. This is easily my most favorite novel of all time and is so much more in depth than the film. You really get a sense of who Scarlett truly is and why she does the things she does to survive.



8 comments:

  1. Lovely post and look back at one of the best and most beloved novels (and movies) of the 20th century. It is so fascinating to think that Margaret actually got a chance to speak firsthand with Civil War veterans. In a sense that seems like such a very long time ago, but in reality, it was only been a few generations and, you know, it's possible that there are some elderly people with us still today who, in their youth, knew and spoke with Civil War vets, too (wouldn't it be fascinating to have a conversation with such folks?).

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Oh indeed! My grandma (born in 1903) used to tell me stories from the war of family members that had lived through it. It is so fascinating to hear the real life stories and not just know Hollywood's version.

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  2. Ohhh I love this! It's one of my favorite films and its the film that changed my life and made me fall in love with classic movies. I agree with what Jessica said-it must have been so intriguing to listen to all of those stories. Coming from my background I have no American great grandparents as they either came from Spain or Puerto Rico but nevertheless to hear any stories about actual history told by the people who lived it-swoon! I'm still trying to get my dad to tell me more about the 60s! LOL I love this post-def do more of these-I find it so interesting!!! xox

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    1. Thanks Bunny, I have several others in mind to do and want to make it a regular series.

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  3. I nominated you for a Liebster Ms. RetroGran you are such a class act:)

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  4. Before To Kill a Mockingbird debuted, GWTW was the great American novel of the 20th century. And both were from Southern writers...hmmm. I love reading American literature. Did you happen to see American Masters on PBS when they featured Margaret Mitchell? It was quite interesting.

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  5. I have seen the movie but never read the book; although I vow every year that I will! ;) What a great post!
    ~xoxo, CoriLynn

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  6. Psst...hop on over to my blog. I've nominated you for the Liebster award! :)

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