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Margaret Mitchell Biography

(1900–49), Gone With the Wind, Gone with the Wind

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: McTeague to Nancy [Freeman] Mitford Biography

American novelist, born in Atlanta, educated at Smith College; she is the author of America's most celebrated bestseller, Gone With the Wind (1936). The daughter of an attorney who was president of the Atlanta Historical Society, she grew up with stories of the Civil War. These, combined with her grandmother's reminiscences of the South and her own early disastrous marriage to a bootlegger, ‘Red’ Upshaw, were later to provide the background to the novel, which took her ten years to write. Gone with the Wind is set in Georgia at the time of the American Civil War. Its heroine, Scarlett O'Hara, is determined to keep her beloved family home at Tara, despite war, poverty, and frustrated passions. Scarlett, who loves the unattainable, is the epitome of the headstrong heroine who ruins her life, eventually driving the hero, Rhett Butler, to the immortal rejection—‘My dear, I don't give a damn’. The clamour of publicity after the novel's publication locked the author in the legend she had created and for years afterwards, until her death in a road accident at the age of 49, her life was taken up with lengthy correspondence with the book's admirers. See also romantic fiction.

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