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Margaret Mitchell - Gone with the Wind - WORLDWIDE IMPACT of GWTW

Although Margaret Mitchell wanted her GWTW manuscript burned, parts of the original remain. The entire last chapter, which she wrote first, is on display at the Atlanta History Center.

 

At a time when the average book sold around 5,000 copies in its lifetime, Macmillan ordered 10,000 copies of Gone with the Wind for its first printing.

When Macmillan published GWTW, in the spring of 1936, it soon became a bestseller (although not everyone thought it was a good book). It was good-enough for Margaret Mitchell to receive the Pulitzer Prize, however, and more than good-enough for David O. Selznick to pay $50,000—then a record amount—for the film rights.

Starring Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara and Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, the film became one of the most-popular and highest-grossing movies of all time.

In August of 1942, Selznick sent Mitchell a $50,000 check to thank her for helping to make the film so successful.

Mitchell never published another novel.

On August 11, 1949—as Peggy and John were walking across the Atlanta intersection of Peachtree and 13th Streets, on their way to see the movie “A Canterbury Tale”—a speeding off-duty cab driver drove through the intersection on the wrong side of the road. He hit Mitchell, fatally injuring her.

Forty-eight years old at the time, the famous author lived only a few days after the accident. Hugh Gravitt, arrested for drunken driving, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. He served about 11 months of an 18-month sentence.

Like the “old South,” at the end of America’s War between the States, Mitchell herself was now “gone with the wind.” Her legacy lives on, however, in her still-popular story (for which she may have used real people as models for her fictional characters).

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5124stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 13, 2016

Updated Last Revision: Jun 17, 2016


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