Today on Days to remember we celebrate how on May 3rd 1937 author Margaret Mitchell won a Pulitzer Prize for her book titled, “Gone with the Wind.”
I thought the movie was incredible but after sitting there for several hours on the couch, one questions kept coming to mind?
“When is the war going to be over?”
How did Margret Mitchell get inspired to write this book?
The story is set in Clayton County and Atlanta, both in Georgia, during the American Civil War and Reconstruction era.
It depicts the struggles of young Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman’s March to the Sea.
A historical novel, the story is a Bildungsroman or coming-of-age story, with the title taken from a poem written by Ernest Dowson.
How Margret Mitchell got inspired to write this book is because she was born in 1900 in Atlanta, Georgia;
Margaret Mitchell was a writer and a Southerner throughout her life. She grew up hearing stories about the American Civil War and the Reconstruction from her tyrannical Irish American grandmother who endured its suffering.
Her forceful and intellectual mother was a suffragist who fought for the rights of women to vote.
As a young woman, Mitchell found love with an army lieutenant who was killed in World War One, and she would carry his memory for the remainder of her life.
After studying at Smith College for a year, during which time her mother died from the Spanish flu, she returned to Atlanta.
An unsuccessful marriage to an abusive bootlegger husband followed. She then got a job writing feature articles for the Atlanta Journal at a time when Atlanta debutantes did not work.
She married again, this time to a man who shared her interest in writing and literature.
Margaret Mitchell began writing Gone with the Wind in 1926 to pass the time while recovering from an auto-crash injury that refused to heal.
In April 1935, Harold Latham of MacMillan, an editor who was looking for new fiction, read what she had written and saw that it could be a best-seller. After Latham had agreed to publish the book, Mitchell worked for another six months checking the historical references and rewriting the opening chapter several times.
Mitchell and her husband John Marsh, a copy editor by trade, edited the final version of the novel. Mitchell wrote the book’s final moments first and then wrote the events that led up to it.
Gone with the Wind was released to the public in June 1936.
The sales of Margaret Mitchell’s novel in the summer of 1936, at the virtually unprecedented price of three dollars, reached about one million by the end of December.
The book was a bestseller by the time reviews began to appear in national magazines.
On May 3rd 1937, Margaret Mitchell received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Gone with the Wind and the second annual National Book Award from the American Booksellers Association.
It is the second favorite book by American readers, just behind the Bible, according to a 2008 Harris Poll.
As I leave you now I like to end this story with Rhett Butler’s character ending it with his famous line from the movie, “Frankly Scarlett I don’t give a damn.”
Today’s YouTube video shared by user name, (Movie Clips), gives you an idea how intense this book was written for movie adaption.
Written & Designed by JD Mitchell