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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Why Did Margaret Mitchell Want Her Manuscript Burned?

The order was clear. When she died the original manuscript of Gone With The Wind was to be burned. Not much different than the burning of Atlanta. Total oblivion. Taken out to see the old plantations left from the war when she was a child she became the savant for the South. Why did this "flapper" take on such a task. Or do writers ever get a choice? And what about the accidents and depressions she suffered.

Writers all suffer from depression. But Margaret Mitchells came when she was laid up from accidents. She seemed early on accident prone. And on one of her recovery periods she began the giant manuscript that would fill a McMillans rep suitcase...two of them in fact. And then she wanted it all back but by then it was too late. He had already started reading.

And the world was never the same. The rebel without a cause who never really settled down until she did to write Gone With the Wind became a celebrity. And she hated it. And the movie came out and she spoke with Clark Gable and then she and her husband became semi recluses after World War II except to go to the movies.

And there she died. A speeding car killed the author of Gone with the Wind on her way to the movies. And then the final order was carried out by her husband. He burned the entire manuscript. Why? Destroy the artist and destroy the art. She didn't want people to see that her early draft was rough? Or maybe the wind that carried her to write the story of the South in a vision also carried a final command. Destroy the evidence. After all she wrote the South's version of the Civil War.

And the South takes no prisoners.

Books by William Hazelgrove