Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Stamp of a Writer: Margaret Mitchell

The following quotes of Margaret Mitchell have been taken from an interview she gave Mrs. Medora Perkerson of The Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine and broadcast over radio station WSB, Atlanta, Georgia, on July 3, 1936. The interview was published for the first time in a digital format at PBS. You can watch the full documentary, Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel, here and read the full text of her interview here. The Civil War had a major influence on her life and shaped her only major work.

"My novel (Gone With the Wind) is the story of a girl named Scarlett O’Hara, who lived in Atlanta during the Civil War and the days of Reconstruction. The book isn’t strictly a book about the war, nor is it a historical novel. It’s about the effect of the Civil War on a set of characters who lived in Atlanta at that time."

"When I was a child I had to hear a lot about the Civil War on Sunday afternoons when I was dragged hither and yon to call on elderly relatives and friends of the family who had fought in the war or lived behind the lines. When I was a little girl, children were not encouraged to express their personalities by running and screaming on Sunday afternoons. When we went calling, I was usually scooped up onto a lap, told that I didn't look like a soul on either side of the family and then forgotten for the rest of the afternoon while the gathering spiritedly refought the Civil War."
 

© Library of Congress

"While I’m talking about knees and laps, that cavalry knees were the worst knees of all. Cavalry knees had the tendency to trot and bounce and jog in the midst of reminiscences and this kept me from going to sleep."

"If Gone With the Wind has a central theme, I suppose is the theme of survival. What quality is it that makes some people able to survive catastrophes and others, apparently just as brave and able and strong, go under? I have always been interested in this particular quality in people. We've all seen the same thing happen in the present depression. It happens in every social upheaval, in wars, in panics, in revolutions."


P.S.: Margaret Mitchell was only 49 when she died of injuries sustained after a speeding car knocked her down while crossing Peachtree Street, Atlanta, on August 11, 1949.


For 24 previous Celebrity Stamps, see under Labels.

6 comments:

  1. My daughter read this book at age seven. When she was done, she turned to page one and began again.

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    1. Patti, I never read this book again though I have seen the film more than once. I know when I re-read the book I'm going to feel as if I'm reading it for the first time.

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  2. Another Southern writer you might enjoy is Eudora Welty. She has a memoir that weaves a personal story much in the same vein, ONE WRITER'S BEGINNINGS.

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    1. Ron, thanks very much for the recommendation. I hadn't heard of Eudora Welty before. I read about her on the internet and found that she has produced some fascinating work including the Pulitzer Prize winning THE OPTIMIST'S DAUGHTER. I'll also check out the autobiographical work you mentioned.

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    2. Her short stories are brilliant.

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  3. Ron, I'll keep that in mind too, thanks again.

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