Gone with the Wind

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Mitchell, Margaret. Gone with the Wind. New York: Scribner, 1936.

Scarlett O'Hara, belle of Northern Georgia, sees her life blighted by her unrequited love for Asley Wilkes, the War, Reconstruction, and her tempestuous marriage to Rhett Butler; but tomorrow, after all, is another day, and she always gets there.

In its time, Gone with the Wind was a sharp revision of plantation-romance formulas, featuring a gutsy do-it-yourself heroine and a distinct lack of romantic sympathy for the Lost Cause and for the Klan. Over the following decades, the racism of the book has set readers' teeth on edge and its feminism has faded considerably in retrospect. Yet the novel remains the single most indelible American image of the Civil War and its aftermath.

Anyone who's written about plantations and Southern chivalry since 1936 has had to cope with Gone with the Wind, but African-American writers have done the most serious literary reimagining of the novel. Margaret Walker's Jubilee is an implicit reworking of Mitchell's novel, and Alice Randall's The Wind Done Gone an explicit rejoinder.


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