On this day in 1936, Margaret Mitchell's novel, Gone with the Wind, was published. It went on to be one of the best selling novels of all time and the basis for the 1939 movie.
In 1926, after a series of physical injuries, Margaret was forced to quit her job as a reporter at the Atlanta Journal. She grew restless with so much time on her hands, and with the aid of her typewriter, a gift from her husband, she began telling the story of an Atlanta belle named Pansy O'Hara.
In telling the story of Pansy's life through the Civil War and beyond, Margaret drew on the tales she had heard from her parents and other relatives, as well as Confederate war veterans she had met as a young girl. She was very secretive about her work but she eventually gave the manuscript to an editor from MacMillan Publishing. He encouraged her to complete the novel, with one important change: the heroine's name. Margaret agreed, changed it to Scarlett, and now it's one of the most memorable names in the history of literature.
When it was published, Gone with the Wind caused a sensation in Atlanta and went on to sell millions of copies in the United States and throughout the world. It drew some criticism for its romanticized view of the Old South and its slaveholding elite, but its epic tale of war, passion and loss captivated readers far and wide. In 1937 Margaret won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and by this time a movie project was already in the works. The film was produced by Hollywood giant David O. Selznick, who paid Mitchell a record-high $50,000 for the film rights to her book.
Even though they were plagued with problems on set, Gone with the Wind nonetheless became one of the highest-grossing and most acclaimed movies of all time, breaking box office records and winning nine Academy Awards out of 13 nominations.
If you have never read Gone With The Wind, I highly recommend it. This is easily my most favorite novel of all time and is so much more in depth than the film. You really get a sense of who Scarlett truly is and why she does the things she does to survive.