|Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in the 1939 movie version of Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell|
Gone with the Wind (1936)
by Margaret Mitchell
Gone with the Wind is a brick, first of all. The hard back version I checked out from the San Diego Public Library was full 8.5 x 11 dimensions and close to a thousand pages. A thousand pages! Gone with the Wind is both a top ten novel and film in terms of popularity for those art forms. Gone with the Wind was the first and only novel that Margaret Mitchell wrote. In 2015, more people are familiar with the 1939 film but the book has sold 30 million copies. It's the second most popular novel behind the Bible with American audiences.
Make no mistake- Gone with the Wind is racist as HELL. It is UNBELIEVABLE how virulently racist Gone with the Wind is. Annnddd.... even though Gone with the Wind is written about the 19th century, it was published in 1936 and everyone LOVED it. I don't know that GwtW is defensible in the way that Uncle Tom's Cabin- a book written during the 19th century by an ardent abolitionist.
In terms of literary antecedents, Scarlett O'Hara most resembles Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair. The amount of literary merit one accords to GwtW is likely to tie closely to ones opinion about the literary merit of Vanity Fair. If you haven't read Vanity Fair, you should probably read that book before you read this book.