Gone With The Wind

Margaret Mitchell attains that rare feat in which she writes an incredibly long book with quite a bit of fluff that doesn’t necessarily add to the plot and yet the whole thing is captivating from start to finish. It’s my mother’s favorite book of all time, and I can’t blame her – it’s incredible. But enough about the content. Let’s talk about the cover.

Like all classics, it’s gone through stages. Here’s the original and probably best:

The butter-yellow tones give it a naturally nostalgic, days-gone-by aura, which of course goes along with the title. The classic penned figures of societal nicety is artfully presented as a portrait of a South that no longer exists but in memory, and perhaps it never really existed given the drama we read through the lens of Miss Scarlett O’Hara. Fun fact: her actual first name is Katie.

Here’s a more sultry, sexy, and altogether more ubiquitous cover that serves as a sort of movie tie-in. There’s some major crossover marketing here for the romance fiction crowd. It could just as well be called “A Southern Knight” or “The Belle and The Brawn” or some such nonsense.

I’d never seen this one before. It leans to the sultry side but in a far less carnal way than the last one. But I struggle with the picture of Scarlett being carried as this undermines her strong, independent personality, which is both her greatest asset and her bane. Overall, it’s a fairly disorganized and boring cover that almost begs you to keep walking by.

This take flirts with styling itself as a more conventional Southern tame romance like the type my mother-in-law likes to read because she knows how they are going to end within the first three pages. Scarlett here is a bit too dainty for my taste. Maybe it’s supposed to be Melanie?

And for good measure, Gone With the Wind: Racist Edition. Though I guess an argument could be made that every edition is racist. The fact that this cover might still exist somewhere is unfortunate. If nothing else, it only distracts from what the novel is really about.

In the event that you have a first edition, I think you can sell it for at least a cool 3 grand or so. But probably best to hold onto it instead of letting it go with the wind. (Rimshot.)


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