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.


  1. Hey ladies,

    I just wanted to let you know I've given you a blog award :)

    keep up the good work!

  2. Sweet! We'll tackle it at some point today. Such a fun surprise, thanks!

  3. Oh yes, 'mechanical quality of its irony' does call for a defense post. If only because our Rhett is the master of mockery ;-) However, the line before that hits the nail on the head I believe: ‘As escapism, it is excellent, for it moves and excites without disconcerting by the presentation of eternal truth. For each figure in turn, the stage is lit – dexterously, and, to the casual reader, enjoyable.’
    Casual reader or not, it is indeed a gripping tale and at most times you forget you are reading fiction. It is not often that you can't get fictional characters out of your head; she is a star. Pity that the suggestion for a sequel made in this review did not inspire MM.

    I know the book was immediately a hit with the public but was it also a hit with all the other critics? Those people often take themselves too serious and I can image how they slammed the first attempt from this unknown author. So my question is: Were all the reviews this favourable or did she have to endure some bashing too?

    And while I am asking; have you run out of Rhett quotes? It has been long I have seen one and I do love your explanations of Mr. Snarky’s comments.

  4. Well, re: GWTW reception, haven't done proper amount of research, but top of my head, I am inclined to say that there were negative reviews even in the beginning, and this increased with the book's popularity. For example, Malcolm Cowley, highbrow critic, friend and editor of Faulkner, Hemingway, you get the picture, wrote a famous scathing review in September of 1936. There is a later study that we have and would like to upload and discuss: Gone with the Wind as Vulgar Literature, that is also pretty acid.

    As for Rhett witticism, the quotable has been postponed every day since Monday, but will definitely be here before the week ends. For further reference, see how we said we love procrastination. ;)

  5. Thank you for your prompt reply. I look forward to both posts then.

    I won't waste too many words on your last commment; I think my opinion on procrastination is well documented by now.

  6. Sweet! We'll tackle it at some point today. Such a fun surprise, thanks!


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