coming eventsComing Events

September 6

PBA

September 13

Heritage

September 18-19

Sotheby’s 

September 20

Swann Galleries 

September 21

Skinner 

September 25

Bonhams 

September 27

Forum 

Find More Events in the FB&C Calendar

In the News

Personal Items from the Estate of Stephen Hawking to be Offered Online at Christie’s

London - A brilliant mind whose discoveries have shaped our understanding of the universe,... read more

Exemplars from the History of Printmaking at Swann Galleries on November 1

New York-An auction of Old Master Through Modern Prints on Thursday, November 1 at... read more

Exhibition Charts the Rise and Relevance of the Arts and Crafts Design Movement

Austin, TX — A detailed look at the history of the Arts and Crafts... read more

The Morgan Appoints Maria L. Fredericks as Head of the Thaw Conservation Center

New York —The Morgan Library & Museum announced today the appointment of Maria L.... read more

LOC Puts Papers of President Theodore Roosevelt Online

The largest collection of the papers of President Theodore Roosevelt, documenting his extraordinary career... read more

The 42nd Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, Nov. 16-18

Boston - The annual fall gathering for booklovers, the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair... read more

1785 Engraving of Washington & Bob Dylan's Handwritten Lyrics at University Archives Auction

Westport, CT - A rare, 1785 hand-colored portrait engraving of George Washington, printed for... read more

HistoryMiami Museum Features Former National Geographic Photographer Nathan Benn

Miami - HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate and a premier Miami cultural institution, presents... read more

Follow us on TwitterLike us on Facebook
Auction Guide
Advertise with Us
2015 Bookseller Resource Guide
Fine Books Review

Scarlett at 75

An engaging history of Margaret Mitchell’s great American novel
By Rebecca Rego Barry Rebecca Rego Barry is the editor of this magazine.

Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller’s Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood by Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley, Jr.

Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind: A Bestseller’s Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood

Ellen F. Brown and
John Wiley, Jr.
Taylor Trade
379 pages with photo insert
jacketed hardcover
$26.95

Some people are born readers. I was not one of them. But I can trace my subsequent devotion to books to the reading of one title—Gone With the Wind—at the age of fourteen. It was that simple a transition from ‘regular person’ to reader to bibliophile. The plump red paperback affected me in a way that The Iliad or The Good Earth (the reading list of my ninth-grade literature class) decidedly did not. Margaret Mitchell gave me Scarlett fever, and I am eternally grateful.

So it was with great eagerness that I dove into Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley, Jr.’s new history of Mitchell’s masterpiece (Brown is a regular contributor to this magazine). It’s been too long since I revisited the book, or the film for that matter, and I was repeatedly surprised and delighted by the stories Brown and Wiley, Jr. uncovered in the archives. Using the voluminous correspondence of Mitchell and her family, editors, publishing executives, agents, movie producers, literary executors, and fans, an incredibly rich story emerges about all the people involved in this great American success story. Its cast of characters sometimes as riveting as Mitchell’s: the associate editor who never received the credit for ‘discovering’ Mitchell; the over-zealous husband who acted as copyeditor and manager; the underhanded agents who bungled deals and stole royalties. As Macmillan publisher George Brett keenly observed in a letter to Mitchell, “What history [GWTW] is writing in the annals of American publishing!”

Brown and Wiley, Jr. have focused on the book’s wild ride from manuscript to movie, from editorial details to producer David O. Selznick’s repeated attempts to secure sequel rights. Because so much correspondence survived—real letters on real paper, thankfully not destroyed upon her death—Mitchell becomes less of a mystery as well, no longer the shy, reclusive Southern lady, instead a whip-smart woman with a sense of humor who was surprised by her own success and, at the same time, horrified by too much of it.

With such comprehensive research and dynamic writing, this book is certain to appeal to a wide audience of literary, history, and film buffs. GWTW aficionados may already be familiar with one of the authors—Wiley, Jr. is a major collector of GWTW and Mitchell memorabilia and publisher of the Scarlett Letter, a newsletter for fans and collectors. His extensive collection and knowledge of foreign translations of the novel are put to good use here, both in the text and the impressive photo insert. Foreign editions actually played quite a role in the history of GWTW, as Mitchell owned and managed these rights—through World War II, no less—a task that greatly challenged her and her husband, John Marsh.

This year marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the book’s publication. From Pulitzer to Academy Award, Gone With the Wind is one of the greatest American stories, one that endures with every new generation. Brown and Wiley, Jr. have given us an accessible, highly enjoyable history worthy of that legacy.

Page 1 | 2 | Next
comments powered by Disqus