Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gone With the Wind Turns 75

Although disputable, the date June 30 marks the anniversary of the publication of what many consider “the great American novel, one that Time magazine placed on its ALL TIME 100 novels list, and a book James Michener said “It’s the shortest long novel I have ever read,” Gone With the Wind

I loved this book when I first read it the summer before my junior year in high school, and then again about 10 years ago. This occasion serves as reason enough to read Gone With the Wind for the third time, with enhanced appreciation for the book, the movie and the captivating story of both.

An interview with the Ellen F. Brown, author of this book may be watched on this CBS video. But skip this if it you don't want to watch the commercial
Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, A Bestseller’s Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood––a book about the book––appeared this spring, its release timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the classic literary novel. While this book does summarize the process of Margaret Mitchell writing the novel (10 years to complete), this book focuses more on the book’s publishing saga as well as the making of the movie, and the lengths Margaret Mitchell had to go to protect her literary rights.

The Life Is in the Book

Both publication and the making of the 1939 movie, which won numerous Academy Awards including Best Picture, occurred in record time. 

 “In less than a year," Ellen Brown writes, "Mitchell had gone from unemployed reporter and housewife to proud parent of an imminent bestseller. Her reference that spring [1939] to the book as her first and only child was an apt one. Since the contract’s signing, she had spent approximately forty weeks bringing the manuscript to full term. Like any first-time mother, the thirty-five-year-old author was nervous. And, as with parenthood, no matter how stressful the pregnancy, the biggest adjustments were yet to come.”

What a great analogy because books, like children, take on a life of their own. 

Check out this link to an early review of Gone With the Wind, published on July 6, 1936. Nobody, including the author, the Macmillan publishers or readers could have known how far the wind would carry this great story.

Read it and weep.

Please read it and don't settle for watching the 4-hour movie, even though the David O. Selznick production stands on its own merits.