Thursday, September 13, 2012

Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell (1900 – 1949) was a famous writer and native of Atlanta.  In fact, she was a fifth-generation Atlantan. 

She was the first female to write for the Atlanta Journal and had one novel published during her lifetime.  But what a book it was.  Gone with the Wind, one of my all-time favorites, is the best-selling novel of the 20th century.

Margaret Michell Square in Downtown Atlanta
Gone with the Wind, first published in 1936, is a romance novel set during the Civil War and Reconstruction.  Margaret Mitchell actually wrote the book's last moments first and then worked backwards in order to come up with the story.  She won the National Book Award for the Most Distinguished Novel of 1936.  In 1937, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.  The book has been translated in to around 70 different languages.  I wonder if I should try to re-read it but this time in Czech?  Perhaps after I finish trying to read Harry Potter in Czech. 

In 1939, the film version was released and forever brought Scarlet O'Hara and Rhett Butler to the forefront of American consciousness.  The film won 10 Academy Awards.

The novel and the movie have contributed to the fact that many people think it was a true story of how the "Old South" was transformed by the Civil War and Reconstruction. 

Margaret Mitchell's grave at Oakland Cemetery

On August 11, 1949, Margaret Mitchell and her husband were crossing Peachtree Street at 13th Street to see a movie when she was hit by a speeding car.  She never regained consciousness and died five days later.  The driver was arrested for drunk driving.  He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served four months in jail. 

The Margaret Mitchell House is now a museum.  She referred to it as "the Dump" and this is where she wrote most of her manuscript.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  I took my parents here the first time they visited me in Atlanta back in 2000.

1 comment:

  1. I read Jih proti severu at least five times :-)
    Great great book.