Edith Wharton and Margaret Mitchell: Would-be rivals? Or fellow bedfellows?

Red Pickle Dish

A portrait of Margaret Mitchell stares me down every time I hop off the elevator to the floor housing my current workplace at the Atlanta library system. It’s one of those it-doesn’t-matter-where-you-are-in-the-room gazes, (what portraits are not?), and it can be creepy as she wildly projects the dominion of her vision over her typewriter, her premiere editions of Gone With the Wind, and her Pulitzer, all displayed in glass casings that reflect the obnoxious glare of the florescent rectangles of light overhead. It is a shrine to a woman and writer I’ve known so little about, and frankly, until now had the least bit of interest in. The ‘sensation’ of GWTW, both the novel and the film, though unrivaled in popular American culture, just never seemed palatable to me, a kid who attended most of grade school only miles from ‘The Road to Tara’, a kid still, who…

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