Friday, November 8, 2013
November 8 - Margaret Mitchell
Author and journalist Margaret Mitchell was born on November 8, 1900, in Atlanta, Georgia. Her mother instilled in her a bitter view of the post-Civil War South, haunted by the damage of General Sherman’s “March to the Sea” through Georgia. She also listened to war veterans’ one-sided stories. Mitchell attended Smith College, then wrote for the Atlanta Journal for six years. She quit after marrying John Marsh in 1926 because of a persistent ankle injury. Partly egged-on by her husband, she began writing a Civil War novel (in secret) whose heroine, a plantation-owner’s spoiled daughter named Pansy O'Hara (later renamed Scarlett), would do anything to escape post-war poverty and loss. Mitchell used parts of the manuscript, titled Gone With the Wind, to steady a wobbly sofa. Known for her interest in “dirty” book stores, she collected erotica and relished pornography. During the 10 years in which she wrote the novel – published in 1936 and winner of the Pulitzer Prize – she was also reading sexology books. Her racially-charged views on sex are strongly reflected in the character of Rhett Butler.