MITCHELL, Margaret. Typed letter signed ("Margaret") to Herschel Brickell, Atlanta, 14 April 1938. 3½ pages, small folio, single-spaced, on her stationery with name embossed in blue at top of each sheet, a six-word holograph insertion, usual folds, with stamped, addressed envelope.
"'GONE WITH THE WIND' WAS PROBABLY AS VICTORIAN A NOVEL AS WAS EVER WRITTEN"
A fine letter: "...You asked about news of the movie [of Gone With the Wind]. Here is the latest I know, and it is six weeks old. I have a friend who is perhaps the world's leading authority on the Atlanta campaign and all the historic events centering around Atlanta...When the movie folks were here a year ago I persuaded him to take them about the countryside. They were impressed by him and in February sent for him to come to Hollywood for 'a preliminary conference' on the background of Gone With the Wind...Evidently, the ground has been broken for the production, even if the four main characters have not been cast...He said the research department was working overtime as were the art department, and the set-building department. But no one had any idea when the actual shooting would begin...He said that if there had been anyone definitely chosen for Scarlett or Rhett he believed the news would have leaked out on the lot. He said that Sidney Howard had adhered very closely to the book...I gathered that it was a good script and that the ending was as I had written it. Of course, the script may be re-written twenty more times before it is shot..."
The final page of this letter is devoted to Mitchell's ideas on writing and literature: "...I am two years or more behind on my reading and instead of reading new books I endeavoured to catch up on those I had missed. I read Appointment in Samarra, Butterfield 8, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Serenade, Imperial City and dozen of others [while on a trip]. By the time I came home I had bad emotional indigestion...What depressed and bothered me was the tiredness of everyone concerned. These characters did not leap gaily in and out of strange beds as did the characters of the jazz age, nor did they commit murder, forgery et cetera with passion, enthusiasm or regret. They did all these things -- for what reason I cannot say...I think the novelists, especially in the New York area or those who write about New York, have cut themselves off from the realities of America. For I could see [visiting friends in the small towns of Georgia and Florida] that the old morals persist and the old ways of looking at sin and such have not changed...There was a vitality and enthusiasm for life in both its good and bad aspects in these small town people...After reading all these books I was seized with a violent desire to write a story about a girl who went wrong and certainly did regret it...I could not find in any of the books I read the perfectly normal feminine reaction of fear of consequences, of loss of reputation, of social disapproval or of that good old-fashioned Puritan institution, conscience. I suppose my desire to write such a book puts me definitely in the Victorian era.But then, Gone With the Wind was probably as Victorian novel as was ever written in spite of anything anyone may say..."