Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lorena Encore

If MM were still alive I suppose she would have better things to do with her time than read our blog. But if I spammed her mail hard enough if she somehow stumbled upon it, this would be the kind of comment she would leave for my Lorena post from some weeks ago.
"My dear Bugsie Mr. Otis:
"Thank you so much for your letter and the interest in 'Gone With the Wind' which prompted you and your mother to write to me. Yes, I knew that the Reverend H. D. L. Webster wrote the words of 'Lorena' but I did not know the history of the song and the circumstances under which it was written. Of course I found the information you sent me very interesting. 

"You asked if I would let you know 'how a copy of this song happened to come to my attention.' To tell the truth, I never saw a copy of 'Lorena' until last year. At that time a reader of 'Gone With the Wind' sent me a copy of it, published by the Oliver Ditson Company, Boston, Massachusetts. In my childhood I heard 'Lorena' sung by many elderly people. It was as familiar as 'Rock-a-bye Baby,' 'Dixie' and 'The Bonnie Blue Flag.' It was as great a favorite with the Confederate soldiers as 'Over There' was with the A.E.F. All the people I knew who had lived through the war and Reconstruction period were familiar with it and loved it. I included it in 'Gone With the Wind' for this reason. 

"Should you and your mother order a copy of 'Lorena,' you will discover only six verses. Perhaps your grandfather wrote only six verses but I have heard at least twenty verses sung. Perhaps poetically inclined young ladies of the sixties added other verses to his."
--excerpted from Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind Letters edited by R. Harwell.
Well, there goes my childhood's theory that the lyrics were somehow connected to the story. But I love the insight into why she really chose the song. And the idea that fans had taken to doing her research for her, while probably very tiring for MM herself, is not without its humor.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Quotable Rhett Butler: Dog in the Manger

Ooops, have I been derelict in my blogging duties last week? It looks like I've skipped on our Quotable Rhett Butler series, so we'll have to fix that today. But first I have a quiz for you. Can you name one similarity between Ashley Wilkes and Catherine Earnshaw, the heroine from Wuthering Heights? The answer, related to this week's quote, after the jump, at the end. 

And now let's turn to our eloquent hero. The line I had selected for last week came from the famous "no more babies" scene. This is Rhett's cryptic reply when Scarlett announces him that she wants separate bedrooms: 
"You like dogs, don't you, Scarlett? Do you prefer them in kennels or mangers?" --Gone with the Wind, Chapter LI
As his previous question ( "You've been to the lumber office this afternoon, haven't you?") indicates, Rhett is aware of the part Ashley Wilkes played in Scarlett's decision, and he lets her know about it by alluding to the expression "dog in a manger," which perfectly defines their situation. Well, tries to let her know, since Scarlett obviously misses the implication, but still...

I myself had to google for the expression the first time I read Gone with the Wind in English, and the fable from which it was derived struck me as quite ironically adequate to the circumstances. (Okay, so substituting Rhett for the ox and Ashley for the dog made me giggle. Did I ever claim I went above the mental age of 5?) Here's the fable: 
"A Dog looking out for its afternoon nap jumped into the Manger of an Ox and lay there cosily upon the straw. But soon the Ox, returning from its afternoon work, came up to the Manger and wanted to eat some of the straw. The Dog in a rage, being awakened from its slumber, stood up and barked at the Ox, and whenever it came near attempted to bite it. At last the Ox had to give up the hope of getting at the straw, and went away muttering: 

'Ah, people often grudge others what they cannot enjoy themselves.'"
--Aesop, Fables
Not a particularly hard to follow allusion, since the phrase "dog in a manger" was and is in common use. Even Scarlett would have probably caught it if not for her anger and disappointment at her husband's reaction (though one can wonder, what did she expect?) and the only remarkable thing about it was the extent to which Rhett kept his cool in this scene. Such a difference between the Rhett in the book, who is able to find a stinging elaborate comeback in any situation and perfectly hide his true feelings, and the Rhett in the movie, who kicks  doors and hurls glasses. (Note the depth of my hatred for that particular scene.)

What gave me a thrill, though, was to later find the  expression Rhett used in a similar jealousy/love triangle context in Wuthering Heights. See what that context is after the jump (minor spoilers if you haven't read the book).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Reading: "A Tough Little Patch of History"

We've made another addition to Our Stash of GWTW Goodies page and present it here, should you like a reading project.  It's a 2007 dissertation by Jennifer Word Dickey, Georgia State University, called "A Tough Little Patch of History": Atlanta's Marketplace for Gone with the Wind Memory

But don't let the word dissertation scare you- it's actually a very readable and interesting look at Atlanta's relationship to Gone with the Wind, and what the different efforts to memorialize GWTW by the Atlanta History Center, the Clayton County Welcome Center and the Margaret Mitchell House say about Atlanta's identity and the public memory of GWTW.

The link is below and you can also find it on GWTW Goodies page on the side bar. 


LE: If the recommended link doesn't work for you, try this one and go from there:


We're on Facebook!

And we need your help. 

See that shiny new badge in our sidebar? Yes, that's right, we've gotten ourselves a Facebook page... and a new project to go with it. 

Besides being the official Facebook page of our blog, that page will be a home for all the Gone with the Wind references we can find. We know it's been done before, but the project  fascinated us. We're always excited when we stumble across an allusion to Gone with the Wind in a movie or book, and so we wanted to create a comprehensive database, including the relevant quotes and when necessary/possible the Youtube videos to accompany them. 

We already covered the period between 1937 and 1967 with movies, plays, books, songs etc. and with your help, we hope to cover the rest. We will be sharing what we have so far twice a day on Facebook and, once we posted enough references on that page, we will create a page in our sidebar for the database.

So whether you want to share a reference you've recently found, see what we or other people shared so far, or simply stay in touch with our blog, become our fans on Facebook! 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New Book Coming Soon

  1. We love books. 
  2. We love books about Gone with the Wind.   

Taking into account 1 and 2, you shouldn't be surprised that we're happy to hear there's a new one on the way. Especially since this one is a book that aims to cover an area only partially charted by the studies published so far: Gone with the Wind's road to fame. How did one novel become so successful worldwide and why does it continue to keep our attention today?

Part of the answer can be found in its publishing history and that's exactly what the upcoming Margaret Mitchell’s Gone the Wind: A Bestseller’s Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood will focus on. We think it's a topic worth exploring. If you agree, you can pre-order the book through all major booksellers, including Amazon. The book is to be released in February next year.

If you're on Twitter you can follow one of the authors here: http://twitter.com/EllenFBrown (and even if you're not on Twitter, do visit from time to time for various interesting GWTW links). And if you want to read more about her other Gone with the Wind project, here's nice blog entry for you.

Rue de la Paix

It's Rue times two today. Why? Well, the two collages below actually tie into two themes of ours this week. The first is Honeymoon Week. And, in honor of Honeymoon Week, I decided to play around on polyvore and create not one, but two Rhett and Scarlett honeymoon-themed collages for you.

What's the second theme these collages embraces? Why, none other than procrastination of course! For while I have several other more pressing GWTW things I should be working on, I of course decided to work on something rather lighthearted instead. Oh well. I hope you enjoy! 

Friday, August 27, 2010

The St. Charles: A Hotel Fit for a GWTW Honeymoon

First comes the wedding, then the honeymoon. And since we already covered Scarlett's wedding day toilette, it's now officially Honeymoon Week here at How We Do Run On. On Monday, we brought you a look at some classic Creole recipes for Rhett and Scarlett to enjoy, and now we're back with more honeymoon goodness for you--in the form of a luxurious and historic New Orleans hotel where the new Mr. and Mrs. Butler could have stayed.   

The St. Charles Hotel would have been an excellent choice for our newlyweds, as it was heralded as one of the finest hotels in the United States in its heyday. And like Rhett and Scarlett too, it held its roots in the antebellum aristocracy, but embraced the modernity of the vibrant post-war South. First erected in 1834 at a cost of $700,000, the grand structure took three years to complete and featured a portico of marble columns and sweeping marble steps. But its crowning glory was its rotunda, complete with a dome 46 feet in diameter that was considered one of the most beautiful in the world. The hotel soon became the playground of the wealthy planter elite and a place for them to conduct their business affairs, earning the hotel the moniker of "The Exchange Hotel." Over the years, the hotel played host to a number of prominent guests, including Charles Dickens on his trip of America.

But the good times could not last forever. Sadly, a 1851 fire destroyed the building and its famed dome. The hotel was rebuilt within a year in the style of the original building, with one regrettable difference: the stunning dome was gone. The second version of the hotel (seen in the picture above) is the one that would have hosted Scarlett and Rhett, and they likely would have found it very well-appointed:  

"This house, which fronts on St. Charles street, and occupies about three- quarters of the large square bounded by St. Charles, Carondelet, Common and Gravier streets, is one of the handsomest hotel structures in America. Those who have traveled much assert that the front, with its massive columns, many windows and imposing cornice, is unequalled for beauty and grandeur by any in this country. The magnificent furniture, commodious rooms, and sumptuous table of the St. Charles enjoyed a wide reputation in antebellum days, which has been well maintained since the war, under the able management of Col. Robert E. Rivers."
--excerpted from The Illustrated Visitors Guide to New Orleans (1879)

The hotel later remodeled its interior in the summer and fall of 1878, and held a grand re-opening in November 1878 that showed off its "new furniture... and all the modern improvements, including a steam elevator" as described by the Illustrated Visitors Guide to New Orleans. And see? That's just in time for Scarlett and Rhett to have patched things up and taken a second honeymoon to New Orleans to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. 

Okay, my bout of starry-eyed romanticism is now over and our post draws to its end. A the third and final renovation of the St. Charles hotel took place in 1896, when its outmoded antebellum columns were scrapped for a new swanky structure built in the style of the Italian Renaissance. Unfortunately, the historic building was demolished in 1974, but its legacy as one of the most beautiful hotels in New Orleans' colorful past lives on

(Edited) image from Souvenir of New Orleans, "the city care forgot" (1917)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Poster of the Week

Dancing is the theme for this week's poster, a 27x41 print from 1941 that features Rhett and Scarlett at the Atlanta bazaar, along with some cheerful can-can dancers for good measure.

Image from moviegoods.com. Poster information cited from Herb Bridges' "Frankly My Dear..."

Shame On You, F. Stanley, Shame On You

The other day, I accidentally stumbled across a quote on Google Books that made my blood pressure rise. Here it is: 
"Spring had come early this year, with warm quick rains and sudden frothing of pink peach blossoms and dogwood sappling [sic] with white stars the backdrop about the farm and off into the hills."
The catch? This isn't labeled as being written by one Margaret Mitchell and belonging to a book called Gone with the Wind. No, sir. This one is from a book called Clay Allison written by a F. Stanley and originally published in 1956. As you can imagine, this book is a biography of the famous "shootist" Robert "Clay" Allison, and the chapter in question is devoted to describing life in his native Tennessee at the outbreak of the Civil War. Compare to what Margaret Mitchell had written a solid twenty years earlier: 
"Spring had come early that year, with warm quick rains and sudden frothing of pink peach blossoms and dogwood dappling with white stars the dark river swamp and far-off hills."
--Gone with the Wind, Chapter I
Now, unless changing a "that" for a "this" and misspelling "dappling" qualify as originality, we're obviously looking at a clear case of plagiarism. Googling for the guilty author proved largely unsuccessful, but you have all you need to know in this short quote from the introduction to Clay Allison:
"As a professional historian, I've often been asked my opinion of the author who wrote under the pen name, F. Stanley. According to his 1996 obituary, he published 190 books and booklets on New Mexico history, quite a record by any standard. The problem is, F. Stanley has been almost universally condemned for the innumerable flaws that litter his writing." 
--Mark Simmons, The Controversial F. Stanley
Apparently, this F. Stanley was famous for sloppy historical research and even sloppier prose (I guess he couldn't use that of other people all the time). I haven't seen anyone in the studies that serve as introduction for that book accuse him of plagiarism, but it should obviously be added to the list.

F. Stanley humbly admitted to his faults and said something along the lines of "pardon the mistakes, but say a kind word for my effort." Well, guess what, Father Stanley? I don't think we will. I don't think we will.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

If You're From Florida, You Know What You Have To Do

I don't know how many of you noticed, but there's a new article on our Gone with the Wind Goodies page touching on a less known aspect of Margaret Mitchell's activity: her role as a benefactor of Morehouse College. Starting with 1942, Mitchell secretly funded the medical education of Morehouse graduates, through an agreement with the president of the college, Dr. Benjamin Mays. It really is an inspiring story, and the way she conducted this philanthropic act speaks well of her discretion and generosity.

A documentary on this theme was very recently released, and if you live anywhere near St. Augustine, Florida you might be lucky enough to attend a free screening. Part of the Andrew Young Presents series, the film is called A Change in the Wind and tells the story of the interaction between Margaret Mitchell and Benjamin Mays. We missed the chance to let you know about its official premiere, which was in Atlanta, on August 24, but here's the next best thing. The film will be screened on September 3 at the Flagler College in St. Augustine Florida. Here are all the details, on the Flagler College's page:

And here's a teaser for you. If you want more snippets from the documentary, you can find them on  the Andrew Young Foundation blog or, alternatively, on the Andrew Young Facebook page.

I read about this screening on the lovely Facebook page GWTW...But Not Forgotten. If you're not fans already, why don't you drop by to say hello, raise a thumb, that sort of thing? 

Oh, and if you do attend the screening, or were lucky enough to have attended the premiere, drop us a line and let us know how it was! 

Uncovering the Everett Report: The Review to the First Draft of Gone with the Wind

Editors' Note: Earlier this month, we featured a guest post by Shaninalux called Margaret Mitchell, Her Biographers and the Conclusion to Gone with the Wind that addressed issues of (mis)representation by MM's biographers surrounding Mitchell's preference for an open-ended conclusion to GWTW. Featured prominently in that post was a reference to the Everett Report--the critique of the rough draft of GWTW that Professor Charles W. Everett of Columbia University submitted to Harold Latham of Macmillan Publishers at the latter's request.  

While the full Everett Report has been lost to the sands of time, there was interest in the comments about cobbling together what could be found of it from various sources, and Shaninalux kindly offered to compile it  for us here, at How We Do Run On.  Her compilation is below. We've also added the Everett Report as a page on the side bar for future reference. Many thanks again to Shaninalux for her help!  --iso and Bugsie

The Everett Report

From “Margaret Mitchell of Atlanta” by Finis Farr (1965):

There really are surprisingly few loose ends, and the number of times the emotions are stirred one way or the other is surprising.  I am sure that it is not only a good book, but a best seller.  It’s much better than Stark Young.  And the literary device of using an unsympathetic character to arouse sympathetic emotions seems to me admirable.

This is the story of the formation of a woman's character.  In the peace and quiet of plantation life before the war, in the crisis of the Civil War, and in the privation of the reconstruction period.  Pansy O'Hara inherits an aristocratic tradition and charm from the mother, Eleanor D'Antignac of Charleston.  From her father, Gerald O'Hara, who has left Ireland as the result of a shooting, she inherits most of her qualities--aggressiveness, courage, unscrupulousness, obstinacy, and charm.  By the time she is born, O'Hara has won a stake in the new world of Georgia and he's accepted by his neighbors for his courage and generosity.  Pansy has lived her seventeen years in luxury without even knowing that it was luxury.  Her greatest problems have been those having to do with clothes and flirtation.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ten Things We Like

Aww, we got a Sweet Friends blog award from Kendra at Days in Mayfair. And it has cupcakes too! (Doing our best not to go aww again and/or break into a rendition of Julie Andrews singing "My Favorite Things," after reading Kendra's title. Failing of course.) Thanks, Kendra, we heart you!

The rules:
1. Post who gave you this award.
2. State ten things you like.
3. Give this award to 10 other bloggers and notify them with a comment.

Now, we would be happy to give this award to 10 bloggers but the thing is, we're new around here and only had time to discover a handful of blogs. They're all very cool blogs, though, and we'll tag them at the end.

As you know, ours is a collective blog, so instead of having two separate lists, we've decided to go for a list of things we like together and post it under The Old Guard account. Here goes:

1. Gone with the Wind
She needs kissing badly
This one is pretty obvious. After all, you're here reading a Gone with the Wind blog by us, aren't you? Besides, this obsession passion deserved to go first, simply because without it we would have never met, so naturally we wouldn't have had any common list of favorite things to share with you.

2. White wine
This row? Endless. Cheers!
Second on our list comes...booze? Naturally, considering the fact one of us voted to reduce the list to "books and booze" and be over with (name withheld to protect the guilty drunk). Common decency and our need to ramble on to ten topics won, so instead we're just giving white wine a nod. White wine is the stuff we both like and of which we could drink endlessly.

3. Old books
Photo from here.Starry eyes from Bugsie's AW collection.
And the taste of victory, Bugsie adds. You see, her enthusiasm for musty old books is only surpassed by her enthusiasm for finding bargains on musty old books. She has a small collection of 19th century books and devoutly hopes this potentially expensive hobby will never get out of control. Iso, on the other hand, started by being unimpressed, but was gradually won over by the beauty of old books (and the persistent nagging of her co-blogger), and nowadays she'll go "whee!" just as loudly at the sight of some scanned online treasure.

4. Chocolate
This pile? They said it was endless. We proved them wrong
Self-explanatory. How can you not like chocolate? [Bugsie understands if you just pick out the dark ones though. White chocolate is not real chocolate.]

5. Regina Spektor

We actually have pretty similar tastes in music in general, but Regina Spektor scores high on both our lists, so she was the obvious choice here. We love her voice. And her lyrics. And her sense of humor. And her playfulness. You might as well call us fangirls.

6. Procrastination

Well, Scarlett is our role model. After all, tomorrow is another day.... Oh, and by the way, this post? was due yesterday.

7. Cats 
One of Bugsie's cats, now in white
If she doesn't end up living under a bridge after she sold her house to pay for old books (which let's face it, is likely to happen at some point), Bugsie will grow old to be your typical crazy cat lady. She started off young, given the fact she already owns three (fat lazy adorable) cats, two of which are black. Iso is a big cat fan too, though for the moment she's content with admiring her parents' cats from afar. 

8. The Victorian Age
We like history in general, but the Victorian age deserved a nod, since it's more or less the focus of our blog. We first discovered it in connection to Gone with the Wind, but the more we read about it, the more fascinating we find it in itself.

9. England
Keeps the sun out.
Bugsie: okay, we're down to two
iso: how about England then? 
Bugsie: England?
iso: I lived there, you like it, you have the UK flag serving as a curtain [very long story, vaguely related to the World Cup.]
Bugsie: oh yeah, England it is then
iso: but wait...didn't we sort of cover it with the victorian age and all?
Bugsie: haven't been outside much in the last century, have you?

10. Words

No, not just words in general, because that would be just weird, wouldn't it? But if you read our blog, you know we love long sentences and lame jokes, and words are instrumental to both, so there you have it: we love words. And just so you know it, we very much prefer the term "word-lovers" to "wordy."

We're passing this award to:

All Things De Havilland
The Scarlett Olive
The Victorian era
[We wanted to give it to Corra too, but her blog is gone. It's a shame, we loved that blog.]

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gorging on Creole Dishes: A Honeymoon Edition of Southern Cookin'

"Best of all things in New Orleans was the food.  Remembering the bitter hungry days at Tara and her more recent penury, Scarlett felt that she could never eat enough of these rich dishes. Gumboes and shrimp Creole, doves in wine and oysters in crumbly patties full of creamy sauce, mushrooms and sweetbreads and turkey livers, fish baked cunningly in oiled paper and limes.  Her appetite never dulled, for whenever she remembered the everlasting goobers and dried peas and sweet potatoes at Tara, she felt an urge to gorge herself anew of Creole dishes." 
--Gone with the Wind, Chapter XLVIII

It's time for another edition of Southern Cookin' and this time, we are bidding the aristocratic cuisine of Charleston adieu and moving on to that "strange, glamorous place" of New Orleans and its rich Creole dishes. As you've surely all guessed, the recipes we've prepared for you come from the quote above, taken from probably my favorite chapter in GWTW- the honeymoon chapter. Sigh, such happy times!

Some quick info on our recipes, which you'll find after the jump: They come from The Picayune's Creole Cook Book, first published in 1901 by The New Orleans Times-Picayune. While the cookbook's publication date marks the first year of the 20th century, many of its recipes are in fact older, as it was partially published to preserve Creole culinary tradition out of fear that the Civil War generation was now dying and, with them, the legacy of old Creole cooking. The Picayune's Creole Cook Book is still in publication today, last published in 1987 with slight modifications to aid the modern cook, and our recipes are excerpted from this version for your convenience, should you like to play Nola chef.

I was able to round up recipes (or close approximations) for all the dishes referenced in the quote above, with the exception of doves in wine and turkey livers. But, honestly, I can't imagine that you'll feel the loss of those two recipes too terribly.  At least I hope not because I'm sure you have much business eating doves these days, anyway.

But I shan't run on any more, for our New Orleans honeymoon banquet is all set and prepared for you after the jump. Bon appetit!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"A mistress of the classical technique of artful suspense..."

Our Margaret Mitchell selection for today actually isn't something written by MM at all. Of course, it discusses her and we think you'll enjoy reading it. It's a 1936 review of Gone with with Wind from the North American Review. A largely positive one, the only faults the author finds with the novel are "its over-embellishment, and the somewhat mechanical quality of its irony." Does the last one call for a defense post? My co-blogger is tempted.

North American Review- 1936 Review of Gone with the Wind.pdf

With this we also inaugurate a new page in our sidebar: a collection of links to Gone with the Wind books and articles. We will add articles as we go, so keep an eye on that page.

This post is part of our series A Week in August: The Margaret Mitchell Tribute. Be sure to check out the other posts (here, here, here and here) and leave your comments either here or on the Margaret Mitchell thread.

Rue de la Paix

We have a minimalist but romantic collage for this week's Rue de la Paix. It sort of reminds me of Rhett and Scarlett on a European honeymoon. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Quotable Rhett Butler: Down with Popery!

What better time to shout "Down with Popery!" than in the week we bragged about that most pious set of Gone with the Wind fans, the Catholic nuns? You see, we're all about denominational impartiality here, at How We Do Run On. So, as you probably already guessed, our (somewhat belated) Rhett quote for the week is this:
"Sometimes the rallying cry is 'Save the Tomb of Christ from the Heathen!' Sometimes it's 'Down with Popery!' and sometimes 'Liberty!' and sometimes 'Cotton, Slavery and States' Rights!'" --Gone with the Wind, Chapter XII
It is this line, uttered at Mrs. Elsing's silver musicale, that signs Rhett's exclusion from Atlanta's society. His stand in the entire speech is that of the perfect cynic, and as such is both hard to dismantle and extremely insulting for his idealistic countrymen. The current war is not sacred,  Rhett says, simply because no war is sacred. All wars are fought for money. All other reasons men go to war are just false reasons, pretexts and empty words fed to them by stay at home orators.

For years I believed this theory to be true. I think I know better now. I will try to explain, though, why this was such an appealing world view for me at one time, and why I now consider it to be flawed.

What Rhett is basically saying is what progressive historians say: economy precedes and dictates ideology. But then Rhett Butler (or should I say Margaret Mitchell?) makes this  significantly more appealing than any historian could. I don't know which one you'd rather be, the dashing cynical captain that harbors no illusions, or one of his compatriots that MM portraits as naive at best, but for me the choice was simple. *cue music* Enter Bugsie, the jaded 7-year-old (and yes, my parents were insane, but hey, MM's nephew had it read to him at age 5!).

For a long time my view of history was colored by this stance. With the exception of WW2,  I pretty much thought any war a "money squabble." It's not the worst way to be introduced to history either, I hasten to add. There are indeed economical patterns in history. Let's take Rhett's quote for example. First, admire its sneakiness, since the first rallying cries he chose are both from religious conflicts. And if one tried to find an ideological driving force for a war, religion would be the most obvious choice, so Rhett's mining the main counterargument to his theory right from the beginning. Let's see what events he's alluding to, and what economic causes lie beneath each of them.

  • Catholics against the world - 'Save the Tomb of Christ from the Heathen!': First we have the famous Crusades, the campaigns Western Europe waged to recapture the territories occupied by the Muslims. Did the Crusades have an underlying economic reason? More than one. Perhaps control over the Tomb of Christ was the first thing the Christians wanted to extract from the Muslims, but control over the sea ports at the Mediterranean definitely ranked a comfortable second. Not to mention the fact that a crusade was a fine way to occupy some of the warriors the medieval society was so good at producing and so bad at employing in a constructive fashion.

  • The world against Catholics - 'Down with Popery!': This a trickier one, since there are few things the world has enjoyed shouting more from the times of Henry VIII forth. One could link a multitude of violent conflicts to this cry, partially the English Civil War and definitely the Gordon Riots of 1780. Its echoes were still very much alive in the 19th century, even across the ocean. Economic reasons? Aplenty, from the larger scale ones related to the monarchs ascertaining political and implicitly economic control over their territories by rejecting the meddling of the Catholic Church, to the particular set of conditions that led to the Gordon Riots and that were only marginally related to the Catholics receiving rights (hint: poverty, low wages, inflation, unemployment. That sort of thing).

  • The world against Catholics & friends - 'Liberty': Again a pretty general cry, but I am going to assume it refers to that most celebrated of revolutionary mottoes (Liberté, égalité, fraternité), especially since Rhett will later compare the Southern aristocrats to the French ones, unaware of the fate lying before them before they climbed into the tumbrils. Again, one can trace multiple economic reasons for the French Revolution, like the financial crisis that preceded it, or simply see it all as passing the power and money from one group of people to another. The same idea applies if he's talking about the American Revolution.

So all three of these events can be (and have been) explained as "money squabbles." But here's the trick: while the economic cause is undeniably at work, it is not the only driving force behind these conflicts. It is very comfortable to reduce everything to money. But it is also terribly simplistic. Just as simplistic as reducing everything to some other cause, be it religion, wish for freedom etc. Took me a while to get it but a) history is complicated, b) cynic is not the definition of "right" and c) cynic is not the definition of "cool." (Okay, the jury is still out on that last one. ) In any case, enter Bugsie, less jaded twenty-something.

Rhett's position effaces some lines that I would like to keep and, in this particular case, serves as a subtle defense of a system I don't want to see either rationalized or defended. If everything is about economy, and nothing about ideology, then there are no moral issues to discuss about in a war. There is no right and wrong. And while that might hold true for some wars, I can't bring myself to say it holds true for all of them.

In any case, I think Rhett employs some dose of bravado when he exposes his views here, just like when he tells Scarlett at the bazaar that money can buy everything. And we know from him enlisting in the Confederate army and failing quite spectacularly in buying his wife's affection that both these stands were quite inaccurate.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Margaret Mitchell's Lost 50 (Confederate) Dollars

Quick and last post of the Margaret Mitchell letters series, for tomorrow we have something different for you. Keeping in line with the modesty/self deprecation theme (hmm... want to know exactly what she's doing? Here it is. I knew there oughta be a German word for that! ) we bring you a letter from October 22, 1936, addressed to Herschel Brickell. Brickell had just written an article for the New York Evening Post, discussing among other thing the possibility of Gone with the Wind's sales reaching one million copies before 1936 was over (the millionth copy was printed on December 15th), and this was Margaret Mitchell's reply:
"Dear Herschel:
"No, I will not bet you on any figures for "Gone With the Wind." You got me licked on it. However, I will bet you $50.00 (Confederate) with the poem "Lines on the Back of a Confederate Note" upon it that I do not win the Pulitzer prize. I think I am very safe in making this bet. I do not think I am safe in making any bets on sales. I am completely floored by what has happened..."
--excerpted from Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind Letters edited by R. Harwell.
This post is part of our series A Week in August: The Margaret Mitchell Tribute. Be sure to check out the other posts (here and here) and leave your comments either here or on the Margaret Mitchell thread

Poster of the Week

Let me preface this week's Poster of the Week with a disclaimer. I'm a proud Polish-American and love my cultural heritage. That being said, I have to be honest and admit that this week's poster from my Motherland (date unknown) is perhaps one of the oddest Gone with the Wind posters I have ever seen.  I'm not sure what to make of it.

 Image from movieposterdb.com

Of course, I must defend Poland's GWTW honor and present you with a nicer image to end our post. This lovely picture of Rhett and Scarlett graces Polish copies of the 70th anniversary edition of the movie. Well done, Polska! And regardless of whatever GWTW images you produce, I love you still.  

Image from amazonka.pl

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Scenery and Greenery of Gone with the Wind (2)

"Spring had come early that year, with warm quick rains and sudden frothing of pink peach blossoms and dogwood dappling with white stars the dark river swamp and far-off hills."
--Gone with the Wind, Chapter I

"Through the window Scarlett could see the bright riot of the twin lanes of daffodils bordering the graveled driveway and the golden masses of yellow jessamine spreading flowery sprangles modestly to the earth like crinolines.  The mockingbirds and the jays, engaged in their old feud for possession of the magnolia tree beneath her window, were bickering, the jays strident, acrimonious, the mockers sweet voiced and plaintive."
--Gone with the Wind, Chapter V

Well, dear readers, it's time for another edition of the Scenery and Greenery of Gone with the Wind, where we offer you a look at the flora and foliage mentioned in GWTW. As I'm sure you've all guessed, the two quotes above serve as the inspiration for this week's bouquet of Southern blooms.  Well, the inspiration with one small caveat--since we already featured dogwood in our first post, we thus won't re-list it here.

Like last time, our main source for plant info and description is the very long-titled Southern wild flowers and trees, together with shrubs, vines and various forms of growth found through the mountains, the middle district and the low country of the South (1901). Sadly, several plants this week (the peach tree and the daffodil) are sans description, as the book with the endless title doesn't include record of them. But as long as they are good enough for MM and GWTW, they are, of course, good enough for a photo spread here. Enjoy!

Peach Tree 

Family: Rose          Color: Pink          Blooms: March-April, with fruit starting in July


 Family: Amaryllis         Color: White, Yellow         Blooms: February-May           


 Family: Logania         Color: Yellow         Blooms: February-November       

"As interwoven, it seems, with the beauty and sentiment of southern lowlands is the “Jasamer,” as it is called by the natives, as is the velvety edelweiss with the history of snow-clad peaks. Early-laden indeed is the warm air of spring with its delicious perfume while, basking himself on its intensely yellow petals, the sly chameleon drowsily opens his rounded eyes. Through woods and thickets it wends its way vigorously and gleams as brightly as does later the Cherokee rose. It is one of the joys of the season, instilling impressions long remembered by those who know it well."

Southern Magnolia  (Laurel Magnolia)

Family: Magnolia         Color: Cream-White         Blooms: April-June

"Laurel magnolia or sweet bay, is a small member of the genus and perhaps the one most generally known; for while mainly found east of the Alleghanies to Florida and Texas, it is hardy, indeed indigenous, as far northward as eastern Massachusetts. As long ago as 1584 the tree was brought into prominence by some navigators who found it on Roanoke Island, N. C. ... In comparison with other flowers of the genus these are quite small, but there is still a charm about them. They are so waxy, so well modelled and exhale a strong fragrance very like that of Fraser's magnolia."

"A Comfort--and a Disillusionment"

Today we bring you another selection from Margaret Mitchell's letters, a selection that should be an inspiration to slow, self-critical and meticulous writers everywhere. Of course, we here at How We Do Run On plead total ignorance to the phenomenon of which MM speaks, being only the swiftest of swift writers in all matters. (Inside joke. Unless you're familiar with our other Gone with the Wind projects, or willing to dig deep enough through the links on the sidebar to find them. Then it's just the sad truth.)

All jokes aside, the excerpted paragraphs below come from Margaret Mitchell's letter of September 29, 1936 to Stark Young, a drama critic at The New Republic and the author of the Civil War epic So Red The Rose, published two years earlier in 1934. Mitchell was an admirer of her fellow Southern writer and his novel, and her esteem for Young's writing, along with her trademark self-deprecation, is on display in her charming letter. 
"My dear Mr. Young:

"Your letter was both a comfort—and a disillusionment. I am referring to the part of the letter where you disclaimed the 'ease in writing' which I attributed to you. You see, I had believed that established writers, writers who really knew how to write, had no difficulty at all in writing. I had thought that only luckless beginners like myself had to rewrite endlessly, tear up and throw away whole chapters, start afresh, rewrite and throw away again.

"I knew nothing about other writers and their working habits and I thought I was the only writer in the world who went through such goings-on. After I had rewritten a chapter ten or twelve times and had what I thought was a workable 'first draft,' I'd put it away for a month. When I dug it out again I'd beat on my breast and snatch out my hair, because it was so lousy. Then the chapter would be thrown away, because the content of it had not been reduced to the complete simplicity I wanted. Simplicity of ideas, of construction, of words. Then there would be another awful month of substituting Anglo-Saxon derivatives for Latin ones, simple sentence constructions for the more cumbersome Latin constructions.

"Then before I went to press I snatched out double hands full of copy, whole chapters. Snatched them out under such pressure that I didn't have time to tie up the severed arteries. In my eyes the book will bleed endlessly and reproachfully.

"But I had thought that people who knew how to write just breezed along. Now your letter arrives and disillusions me. Doesn't ease ever come?—However, there is comfort in the knowledge that the author of so many grand books as you didn't just sit down and bang them out. I know that's an Unchristian kind of comfort—the misery loves company kind of comfort—and I should feel guilty about feeling that way but I cannot prod my emotions into a sense of guilt."
--excerpted from Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind Letters edited by R. Harwell. 
This post is part of our series A Week in August: The Margaret Mitchell Tribute. Be sure to check out the other posts (yesterday's can be found here) and leave your comments either here or on the Margaret Mitchell thread.

Fresh Off the Press

Check out this article from the Los Angeles Times. Ann Rutherford talks about how she got permission from MGM to star in Gone with the Wind and about how cool Clark Gable was.  Those are our highlights, of course, but there's interesting stuff in there about her other movies as well. Enjoy!

There will be more coming at some point today (the Margaret Mitchell daily stuff and probably the Quotable as well), so stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Catholic Nuns Like It..."

We all know the immense popularity Gone with the Wind enjoyed the very moment it was published. We are also aware of how unprepared that instant celebrity status caught its author. But in the excerpt we selected for today, you can see both of these aspects through Margaret Mitchell's eyes, in an account that speaks of her humor, modesty and talent at painting a picture, all at once.

Some quick background info before leaving you with our selection for today. The letter from which the respective paragraphs were detached is dated October 9, 1936 and addressed to Herschel Brickell. A journalist, reputed literary critic and supporter of the Southern Renaissance,  Brickell was among the first to review Gone with the Wind upon its publication in June 1936. His article, written for the New York Evening Post and called Margaret Mitchell’s First Novel, "Gone With the Wind," a Fine Panorama of the Civil War Period, praised the novel for "its definitiveness, its truthfulness and its completeness." He was also the first journalist to interview Margaret Mitchell in 1936 and the two became friends over the years. Their correspondence can be found in the Herschel Brickell collection at the University of Mississippi.
"Herschel, sometimes, when I have a minute I ponder soberly upon this book. And I can not make heads or tails of the whole matter. You know the way I felt toward it—and still feel toward it. I can not figure what makes the thing sell so enormously. I ponder soberly in the light of letters, newspaper articles and what people tell me. At first I thought the book might sell a few thousands to people who were interested in the history of that period. A few hundreds to college libraries for use in collateral readings in American History. But I've had to give up that idea because—well, my small nephew [Eugene Mitchell], aged nearly five, has had the book read to him several times and he has announced that it doesn't bore him with repetition as do other books. Here in Atlanta, the fifth and sixth grade students are reading it—obstetrical details and all—and with their parents' permission. I get scads of letters from school girls ages ranging from thirteen to sixteen who like it.

"As for the old people—God bless them! There are scores of grandchildren whose voices are rasping and hoarse from reading aloud to them and Heaven knows how many indignant grandchildren have told me that they had to sit up all night reading because the old folks wouldn't let them quit till after Scarlett was safe at Tara again.

"And in the ages between—this is what stumps me. The bench and bar like it, judges write me letters about it. The medical profession must like it—most of my letters from men and my phone calls from men are from doctors. The psychiatrists especially like it, but don't ask me why. And now, the most confusing thing of all. File clerks, elevator operators, sales girls in department stores, telephone operators, stenographers, garage mechanics, clerks in Helpsy-Selfy stores, school teachers—oh, Heavens, I could go on and on!—like it. What is more puzzling, they buy copies. The U.D.C.s have endorsed it, the Sons of Confederate Veterans crashed through with a grand endorsement, too. The debutantes and dowagers read it. Catholic nuns like it.

"Now, how to explain all of this. I sit down and pull the story apart in my mind and try to figure it all out. Despite its length and many details it is basically just a simple yarn of fairly simple people. There's no fine writing, there are no grandiose thoughts, there are no hidden meanings, no symbolism, nothing sensational—nothing, nothing at all that have made other best sellers best sellers. Then how to explain its appeal from the five year old to the ninety five year old? I can't figure it out. Every time I think I've hit on the answer something comes up to throw out my conclusion.

"Reviews and articles come out commending me on having written such a 'powerful document against war . . , for pacificism.' Lord! I think. I never intended that! Reviews speak of the symbolism of the characters, placing Melanie as the Old South and Scarlett the New. Lord! I never intended that either. Psychiatrists speak of the 'carefully done emotional patterns' and disregard all the history part. 'Emotional patterns?' Good Heavens! Can this be I? People talk and write of the 'high moral lesson.' I don't see anything very moral in it. I murmur feebly that 'it's just a story' and my words are swallowed up while the storm goes over my head about 'intangible values,' 'right and wrong' etc. Well, I still say feebly that it's just a simple story of some people who went up and some who went down, those who could take it and those who couldn't. And when people come along and say that I've done more for the South than anyone since Henry Grady I feel very proud and very humble and wish to God I could take cover like a rabbit....

"P.S. Small things do make me happy. The marked clipping, for instance. I sweated blood to try to make the voices sound differently and never dreamed anyone would catch it. The problem, for instance, of Archie and Will. Both Georgians, both practically illiterate, but one with a mountain voice and one with a wire grass voice. And Rhett and Ashley, both gentlemen, both educated, but with different intonations. It meant completely different sentence constructions, vocabularies not only in their words but in their thoughts and when I, as author, wrote about them."
--excerpted from Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind Letters edited by R. Harwell.
This post is part of our series A Week in August: The Margaret Mitchell Tribute. Be sure to check out the other posts and leave your comments either here or on the Margaret Mitchell thread

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Week in August: The Margaret Mitchell Tribute

Non omnis moriar multaque pars mei vitabit Libitinam.

August 16 being the day Margaret Mitchell died, we thought a tribute was in order.  But then, between us being ourselves and a lovely lady reader giving us advice, that tribute quickly evolved into a series. So why not declare this week a Margaret Mitchell week and have a little snippet of her letters/writing outside Gone with the Wind each day, while inviting you to share your thoughts on MM and GWTW with us?

Sounds like a good enough plan, so let's proceed, shall we? Today being the first day of our tribute, and the date on which Margaret Mitchell passed away, we thought we'd simply invite you to share what Gone with the Wind means to you and the impact Margaret Mitchell's writing has had on your life so far. This thread will be open all week, so please join us and leave your comments below.

We'll go first:

Like many Windies, it's hard for me to fully express what Margaret Mitchell and  Gone with the Wind mean to me. But the most succinct answer I can give in this short space is that Margaret Mitchell was the first author to make me truly fall in love with literature. No book before or since has moved me like Gone with the Wind has. No other author has ever inspired me the way Margaret Mitchell first did, through the sheer power of her words and her characters, to want to be a writer myself one day. Everyone deserves to have a book like that in their lives--a book that inspires love for the written word--and Gone with the Wind is my book. And for that, thank you, Margaret Mitchell! 

Dear Mrs. Mitchell, 
I've often wondered what it was about your book that made me always remember it, for I've known many books that were prettier than it and certainly more innovative and, I fear, historically much more objective and kind. But somehow, I always remembered Gone with the Wind. Even during the years when I thought I had grown out of it and was immersed into so many other wonderful books, I always remembered yours and wondered what Scarlett and Rhett were doing. And there I have my answer, for no other book, however wonderful, has ever given me characters like yours. Characters so strong that I see them not only as old friends, but almost as real people. Gone with the Wind and its figures are simply part of my life now and that's all there is to it.

Well, now it's your turn! Kicking off the week-long Margaret Mitchell thread.

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