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Gone With The Wind.
April 9, 2011
6:00 pm
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Anyanka
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I got this out of the library today due to other posters recommending it.

 

I have never read it before not have I seen the movie apart from the odd scene when critics were  talking about the movie..

It's always bunnies.

April 10, 2011
10:56 am
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Sharon
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You are going to love it!

April 10, 2011
10:56 am
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TinaII2None
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Anyanka said:

I got this out of the library today due to other posters recommending it.

 

I have never read it before not have I seen the movie apart from the odd scene when critics were  talking about the movie..


If you read and like it, then I'd definitely recommend the movie if only so you can see the differences. But then again, GWTW was one of the many movies I cut my teeth on as a kid Laugh so I'm somewhat biased LOL I guess it's time for me to pickup my own copy!

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

April 10, 2011
11:38 am
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Anyanka
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I'm going to start tomorrow when I'll have the house to myself. I have the feeling it's not a book to read while constantly being talked at…

It's always bunnies.

April 10, 2011
12:11 pm
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Sharon
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When I was reading it, I blocked out everything else.  People would tell me things while I was reading and I wouldn't remember them having been in the room with me…nor would I remember what they said to me.  

April 10, 2011
1:29 pm
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I like GWTW as entertaining historical fiction, and I feel badly that in more recent years the novel has been given a bad rap due to its lack of political correctness.   I think the characters and attitudes outlined in the book are pretty authentic.   It's really up to readers to identify the pros and cons related to the era. 

The book is beautifully written if you like epic style storytelling.  The book is also vastly superior to the film.

April 10, 2011
4:35 pm
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TinaII2None
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La Belle Creole said:

I like GWTW as entertaining historical fiction, and I feel badly that in more recent years the novel has been given a bad rap due to its lack of political correctness.   I think the characters and attitudes outlined in the book are pretty authentic.   It's really up to readers to identify the pros and cons related to the era. 

The book is beautifully written if you like epic style storytelling.  The book is also vastly superior to the film.


I think I mentioned it on the What Are You Reading thread, but I think most of my family got strange looks because we all loved GWTW despite being biracial. I guess we were supposed to develop an instant hatred for it since we have a black heritage (in addition to others including Irish and Jewish), so I'm thankful our mother was a person who taught us to love all types of books and music. And we used to get into GWTW discussions all the time. The movie didn't have to be on TV. We could just see something that made us think of it and off we'd go.

You are right. It's a lovely piece of storytelling which others have attempted to copy but usually barely came close.

Some time ago, I read a massive novel which took place in India during the 19th century at the time of the British Empire, and had one of the major uprisings as its' background story. The heroine was Scarlett O'Hara with an English accent, perhaps not as spoiled as our Southern belle could often be, but there were other similarities. She was in love with one man who marries another, and I think ended up in India because of her “love” for him. There was a Rhett type but he wasn't as “brutal” as Rhett could be. The other love interest could have been Ashley's twin, and his wife — who delivers her baby during a major part of the uprising — was Melanie without a doubt. I remember finishing it and thinking 'And the Mitchell estate didn't sue?' LOL The only things missing were Mammy and Prissy.

Now I've got to track down a copy of GWTW so I don't get too far behind! Smile

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

April 10, 2011
5:15 pm
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MegC
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I have to say that part of making historical fiction believable and enjoyable is to “take it there” a lot of the time and use words and phrases that were used in that time period–even if it makes it non-pc to do so.  I mean, intellectually, I know how African Americans were treated during the Civil War and the names they were called, I find it insulting to my intelligence and maturity when an author feels like they have to avoid topics or words or situations because they don't want their readers to be “offended”.  Do they need to be over-used or used unnecessarily?  No.  But, let's be honest, would ANYONE have found GWTW half-way believable if Tara hadn't had any slaves because Mitchell was trying to be PC?  No!! 

However, I also realize that GWTW was published in the 30's when racial attitudes in the U.S. were still lax.  I wonder if GWTW were written today if it would even be published.

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

April 10, 2011
5:26 pm
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TinaII2None said:

La Belle Creole said:

I like GWTW as entertaining historical fiction, and I feel badly that in more recent years the novel has been given a bad rap due to its lack of political correctness.   I think the characters and attitudes outlined in the book are pretty authentic.   It's really up to readers to identify the pros and cons related to the era. 

The book is beautifully written if you like epic style storytelling.  The book is also vastly superior to the film.


I think I mentioned it on the What Are You Reading thread, but I think most of my family got strange looks because we all loved GWTW despite being biracial. I guess we were supposed to develop an instant hatred for it since we have a black heritage (in addition to others including Irish and Jewish), so I'm thankful our mother was a person who taught us to love all types of books and music. And we used to get into GWTW discussions all the time. The movie didn't have to be on TV. We could just see something that made us think of it and off we'd go.

You are right. It's a lovely piece of storytelling which others have attempted to copy but usually barely came close.

Some time ago, I read a massive novel which took place in India during the 19th century at the time of the British Empire, and had one of the major uprisings as its' background story. The heroine was Scarlett O'Hara with an English accent, perhaps not as spoiled as our Southern belle could often be, but there were other similarities. She was in love with one man who marries another, and I think ended up in India because of her “love” for him. There was a Rhett type but he wasn't as “brutal” as Rhett could be. The other love interest could have been Ashley's twin, and his wife — who delivers her baby during a major part of the uprising — was Melanie without a doubt. I remember finishing it and thinking 'And the Mitchell estate didn't sue?' LOL The only things missing were Mammy and Prissy.

Now I've got to track down a copy of GWTW so I don't get too far behind! Smile


Tina, I can identify with why some readers might feel uncomfortable with or offended by GWTW's romanticization of all things Old South, especially relationships between different races and the practice of slavery.  I don't think anyone should ever have to read books they don't like.  At the same time, I see little merit in the detractors of GWTW taking offense with the novel because it is what it is. 

By chance have you read “Isle of Canes” (by Elizabeth Shown Mills?)  It's a novelization of the Metoyers, one of the wealthiest, most affluent multiracial families who thrived in the Antebellum South.  Mills's storytelling isn't the best — she's more a geneaologist than a novelist — but I found the family's history truly heroic.

April 10, 2011
5:45 pm
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MegC
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Btw, did I mention that I live in Atlanta (well, right outside Atlanta–like, less than an hour away).  Maybe I can track down some of the places mentioned in the novel and take pictures or something (although I think MM's house burned down several years ago).

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

April 10, 2011
5:56 pm
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MegC said:

I have to say that part of making historical fiction believable and enjoyable is to “take it there” a lot of the time and use words and phrases that were used in that time period–even if it makes it non-pc to do so.  I mean, intellectually, I know how African Americans were treated during the Civil War and the names they were called, I find it insulting to my intelligence and maturity when an author feels like they have to avoid topics or words or situations because they don't want their readers to be “offended”.  Do they need to be over-used or used unnecessarily?  No.  But, let's be honest, would ANYONE have found GWTW half-way believable if Tara hadn't had any slaves because Mitchell was trying to be PC?  No!! 

However, I also realize that GWTW was published in the 30's when racial attitudes in the U.S. were still lax.  I wonder if GWTW were written today if it would even be published.


My honest opinion?  GWTW wouldn't stand a chance in the present day publishing market. 

I don't think I've ever heard anyone complain of the use of racial slurs in GWTW.  The most prominent complaints have to do with the portrayal of slavery as relatively benign and non-exploitative.  To some extent, I appreciate the complaint, but at the end of the day, GWTW isn't a novel about slavery and its merits or its lack of merits. 

The anti-Antebellum sentiment is a bit bizarre in U.S. society, to the point some African-Americans express offense if a white person appears in public clothed in Antebellum costume.  

  

April 10, 2011
6:10 pm
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MegC
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@ La Belle Creole:  I agree.  I don't think a publisher would look at GWTW twice today.  Not only because of it's racism, but also because of it's length.

I think MM wrote GWTW by hand while she was recovering from a broken ankle.

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

April 10, 2011
6:17 pm
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MegC said:

@ La Belle Creole:  I agree.  I don't think a publisher would look at GWTW twice today.  Not only because of it's racism, but also because of it's length.

I think MM wrote GWTW by hand while she was recovering from a broken ankle.


Well, an editor might give it a chance if MM included some kind of apologist social commentary in the narrative.  As you say, it would also have more of a chance if it was shorter.  Scarlett's child-marriage (she was sixteen years old when she married Charles) would have to be adjusted (age change) as well. 

April 11, 2011
8:56 am
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TinaII2None
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MegC said:

I have to say that part of making historical fiction believable and enjoyable is to “take it there” a lot of the time and use words and phrases that were used in that time period–even if it makes it non-pc to do so.  I mean, intellectually, I know how African Americans were treated during the Civil War and the names they were called, I find it insulting to my intelligence and maturity when an author feels like they have to avoid topics or words or situations because they don't want their readers to be “offended”.  Do they need to be over-used or used unnecessarily?  No.  But, let's be honest, would ANYONE have found GWTW half-way believable if Tara hadn't had any slaves because Mitchell was trying to be PC?  No!! 

However, I also realize that GWTW was published in the 30's when racial attitudes in the U.S. were still lax.  I wonder if GWTW were written today if it would even be published.


I doubt MM could have gotten her novel published if it had been written today. If it was, the controversy would be a 10 on the Richter scale and then some. But GWTW wasn't published in 2011 but in the 1930's and as you said, racial attitudes were often lacking. (The infamous Birth of a Nation had a seal of approval from the then President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, who called said “It's like writing history with lightning.”).

I guess that what I saw in GWTW was what my grandmother and mother saw — it was a GREAT story with memorable characters. My grandmother loved the movie because she had a limited education and didn't read very well, but sometimes I would read parts of it to her so we could compare. My mother, like her daughters Laugh, was an avid movie lover and reader and GWTW was as important to her personal library as was the works of Dickens or Jane Austen. None of us were ignorant of the evils of slavery — we know of at least two slaves in our family who managed to escape and went on to serve in the Union army. But we also remembered that MM was writing of HER South — and that wasn't necessarily the South of Uncle Tom's Cabin or Alex Haley's Roots. As you said MegC, in order for historic fiction to be real, you want to take the reader there…and sometimes that may not be pleasant. A writer doesn't have to go out of their way to be offensive just to stir up controversy to make sales. But they should also be able to set the scene and put us in that world which should then be populated with characters that stay with us when we close the back cover and are done, hopefully satisfied.   

Do you all know who one of my favorite and most memorable characters is in GWTW, I mean other than Scarlett? Mammy — the character who gave the wonderful Hattie McDaniel an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, the first person of color to win an Academy Award! Despite being a slave, she is a force to be reckoned with. She tells Scarlett what she doesn't want to hear. She looks after Ellen (and keeps Ellen's secrets). She's a slave but never thinks twice about calling the Slatterys “poor white trash”. She may be uneducated, but she's a…I think Rhett called her “a wise old soul.”

I'm digressing a bit from the topic of your post MegC, but as we do read the book, I'd love to discuss the various class distinctions too. I know we naturally have slave and master, but even among those groups you had an even further break down I've always found interesting whenever I read the book or saw the movie.

And I've GOT to order my copy from Amazon. One paperback version is down to 13 copies! Are you all buying them up? LOL

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

April 11, 2011
9:50 am
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La Belle Creole said:


Tina, I can identify with why some readers might feel uncomfortable with or offended by GWTW's romanticization of all things Old South, especially relationships between different races and the practice of slavery.  I don't think anyone should ever have to read books they don't like.  At the same time, I see little merit in the detractors of GWTW taking offense with the novel because it is what it is. 

By chance have you read “Isle of Canes” (by Elizabeth Shown Mills?)  It's a novelization of the Metoyers, one of the wealthiest, most affluent multiracial families who thrived in the Antebellum South.  Mills's storytelling isn't the best — she's more a geneaologist than a novelist — but I found the family's history truly heroic.


Oh I can definitely agree that no one should be forced to read it — if I was a teacher, I wouldn't make it required reading for my class. And I don't really listen to the detractors because as you said “it is what it is.”

My brother doesn't like GWTW but it has nothing to do with racial issues. He says he can't waste his time watching a movie or reading a book about someone like Scarlett O'Hara! LOL So to each his own.

I haven't read the book and actually, your reference is the first time I've heard of it but sounds like it's worth checking out!

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

April 11, 2011
9:55 am
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TinaII2None
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MegC said:

Btw, did I mention that I live in Atlanta (well, right outside Atlanta–like, less than an hour away).  Maybe I can track down some of the places mentioned in the novel and take pictures or something (although I think MM's house burned down several years ago).


You know I saw Georgia in your by-line and was wondering where in the state you might be.

I think you're right about MM's house. Frown Can't remember where I heard about that though….

I read somewhere — Lord knows where the way I read LOL — that the Hollywood version of Tara was not MM's version. As far as the house I mean. I don't think she saw Tara as being that “stately.”Laugh

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

April 11, 2011
10:34 am
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TinaII2None
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La Belle Creole said:


My honest opinion?  GWTW wouldn't stand a chance in the present day publishing market. 
I don't think I've ever heard anyone complain of the use of racial slurs in GWTW.  The most prominent complaints have to do with the portrayal of slavery as relatively benign and non-exploitative.  To some extent, I appreciate the complaint, but at the end of the day, GWTW isn't a novel about slavery and its merits or its lack of merits. 

The anti-Antebellum sentiment is a bit bizarre in U.S. society, to the point some African-Americans express offense if a white person appears in public clothed in Antebellum costume.  

  


I think that IS the major complaint I've always heard as well — the portrayal of slavery. I'd say that the book that gets the most complaints about racial slurs is probably The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (which recently was put through a rewrite that had me screaming at my TV, but that's another story — and book — for another day).

I love Antebellum costumes although the workings of the underclothing continues to amaze me! LOL

I guess what I'm trying to say is that there are way too many things in life that are way more serious to me than worrying about a white person wearing Antebellum costumes or some re-enactor “fighting” for the Confederacy. I may have no love for the CSA, but there are things I can find to admire in the military leadership of Robert E. Lee, the same as I might think that Field Marshal Rommel conducted some incredible tactics.

Anyway, I hope that made sense. I worked last night (WHAT A WEEKEND — we had 2 murders last night) and haven't been to bed yet even if I need to be. I keep forgetting I have to work again tonight. Laugh

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

April 11, 2011
1:02 pm
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Sharon
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This book is Epic!  It's just too bad that some people had to stick their nose in and say it was not pc.  That really gets me!  As you said, Tina, MM was writing about “her” South.  Take it or leave it. If people don't like the way a story is told, they do not have to read it. And don't be telling me that the book is banned.  I remember how books were banned in school.  We would get the list and go right out and buy the books. 

After reading GWTW, it was a long time before I didn't want to see Sherman hung.  Come to think of it, I don't believe I have changed my mind on that score.  What a path of destruction he wrought.  I did feel sorry for the way the carpetbaggers came in and took over.  Robert E. Lee will always be a true gentleman in my book.  My husband calls me a southern sympathizer.  I am not.  It wasn't because I thought their cause was just, because it wasn't. Slavery was despicable.  I think it was because of the utter destruction that befell them.  They lost a way of life that had been theirs for 200+ yrs. It was complete annihilation.  MM made me feel the total loss those people must have felt.  She put me in Scarlett's, and Melanie's shoes. That is the way you are supposed to feel after reading a book.  They open your eyes as to the way other people deal, or did deal, with life.

April 11, 2011
4:45 pm
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La Belle Creole said:

MegC said:

@ La Belle Creole:  I agree.  I don't think a publisher would look at GWTW twice today.  Not only because of it's racism, but also because of it's length.

I think MM wrote GWTW by hand while she was recovering from a broken ankle.


Well, an editor might give it a chance if MM included some kind of apologist social commentary in the narrative.  As you say, it would also have more of a chance if it was shorter.  Scarlett's child-marriage (she was sixteen years old when she married Charles) would have to be adjusted (age change) as well. 


@MegC — it's astonishing to me how many wrote these massive novels by hand (we have it SO easy these days LOL). And you're right about length as well — as though I did once joke with a friend that I wondered if JK Rowling was being paid by the word (or letter) as one of her Harry Potter books ran nearly 600 pages and most of it felt like filler material that added nothing to the story.

@Le Belle Creole — About Scarlett's child-marriage. Compared to Lady Margaret Beaufort, Scarlett was almost over the hill. Poor Margaret was TWELVE when she was married to the 24-year-old Edmund Tudor! I know it was the 15th century but….

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

April 11, 2011
4:53 pm
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Anyanka
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Well, I'm up to part II.

 

I can see the way GWTW has influenced several books I have read. Certainly the part's of  CHE's books which are based in  the American South are based on parts of it. The father wins the plantation by playing cards.

 

eta…Book 21 of the Morland Dynasty…The Outcast. It not only has the father winning the plantation, but the pregnant child widow….

It's always bunnies.

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