I first (and last) read Gone with the Wind when I was a teenager, which was, ahem, quite a few years ago. Recently, I started re-reading it – and I’m just as captivated and enthralled as I was first time around. In fact, more so.
The historial context resonates with me a lot more now, as do Margaret Mitchell’s subtle and not-so-subtle social commentaries. And as for Scarlett O’Hara…was there ever a more eye-poppingly outrageous heroine?! I’m agog to see what she’s going to do next…
What a wonderful book. Mitchell wrote it around 70 years after the events occurred, so I imagine she must have known people who still remembered those days. Although it was a “historical” novel even when it was written, I admire the way she keeps so firmly within her context, without letting social views from her present day affect the story. For example, abhorrent though Scarlett’s attititude to slaves etc is to our modern view, it’s very true to a Southern belle of her time whose very existence relied on slaves every moment of her day. A modern writer creating a novel set in the same time period must surely be tempted to make her pampered heroine a sympathizer with the abolition of slavery…which would be so out of keeping with Scarlett’s background lifestyle as to be impossible.
But enough about that…to get back to the essence of GWTW, which is a powerful romance…ah, that Rhett Butler! He makes my 21st-century heart go pitter-pat just as he did when I met him in the 20th century 🙂
I’m so glad I pulled this book from my crowded shelves and re-read it. Now I’m thinking it might Jane Eyre’s turn next. Does anyone else have any classics – old or new – that they love to revisit?