Gone with the Wind
Margaret Mitchell (sold)
When Gone with the Wind hit the big screen in 1939, it was like nothing audiences had ever seen - a sweeping, panoramic drama of epic proportions, complete with turmoil, life lessons and more romance than anyone could ask for - in almost four hours of technicolor. But the story had already made its mark in the pages of Margaret Mitchell's book. First published in 1936, Gone with the Wind won the 19th Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and had readers everywhere eagerly turning pages.
Criticised by some for a lack of originality in writing style, a failure to achieve consistent tone, and especially its inherent racism and refusal to take a firm stance against slavery, the novel was neverthless a smashing success. The story is one of struggle, growth and survival in harsh physical and emotional circumstances. Scarlett O'Hara especially is a fascinating character, beginning as a spoiled, entitled, wealthy girl unaware of her own privilege, and growing up quickly throughout the novel as she endures indescribable tests of faith and mettle in the form of war, death, loss, hunger, rejection, tragedy, and the general shock of the transition from untold wealth and servant slaves to going hungry and having to fend and work for herself and others.
Even in the midst of her darkest hours (of which there are many, throughout the novel's dramatic 1000+ pages), Scarlett is fierce, brave, manipulative, dramatic and scheming. While she displays courage and resilience under fire, she never learns the lessons of humility, real kindness or authenticity, instead consistently plotting ways to better her own station and turn situations to her advantage. With her desperation and driven determination toward her own ends, Scarlett O'Hara remains, the better part of a century after her initial debut in the world of fiction, one of literature's most lasting and notable drama queens.
Now, decades after the book's debut, there are numerous editions available for collectors and readers alike. True first edition, first printing copies in good condition or better can easily fetch four figures and up, with Mitchell's signature, intact dustjacket, and fine or better condition sending prices into the five figures.
Never has literature produced a more powerful, manipulative, anxious drama queen to be reckoned with than the character of Lady MacBeth.