Before Scarlett: girlhood writings of Margaret Mitchell

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Hill Street Press, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 214 pages
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On a sultry summer morning, Jane Eskridge and Wailes Thomas, a relative of Margaret Mitchell's, are knee-deep in over sixty years worth of accumulated detritus in the Atlanta home Thomas had inherited from his mother; and they made a discovery: 200 pages of short stories, fairy tales, journal entries, essays, and one-act plays by Margaret Mitchell, penned from ages eight through seventeen. Since her early death at age 49 (hit by a car while crossing the street), all of Mitchell's personal papers and other writings are thought to have been destroyed. Then, several years ago, a lone novella, Lost Laysen, was discovered and published. Now, with this discovery, the picture is complete, one of a prodigious and moving talent from a very young age by the precocious and sometimes tomboyish author the world would come to love. Through charmed, simply titled pieces -- such as "The Green Snake" (a fairy tale), "Silver Match Box' (a spy story), and "Big Bob of the Sierras" (a western) as well as a tellingCivil War story -- we get a rare glimpse into the soul of a brilliant young talent, one impossible not to fall in love with. Photographs from Mitchell's childhood bring the collection to life and a compelling preface by Mary Rose Taylor places the stories in the context of her broader career as a writer and world celebrity.

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User Review  - pbadeer - LibraryThing

This became a very tedious read which was comprised of exactly what the title said it would - things which Margaret Mitchell wrote in childhood. First, imagine a romance western written by a 7 year ... Read full review


Letter to Eugene Muse Mitchell Atlanta Ga 1910
Letter to Eugene Muse Mitchell Atlanta Ga June 20 1910

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About the author (2000)

Margaret Mitchell, 1900 - 1949 Novelist Margaret Mitchell was born November 8, 1900 in Atlanta, Georgia to Eugene Muse Mitchell, a prominent attorney, and Maybelle Stephens Mitchell, a suffragette. She attended Smith College from 1918-1919 to study psychiatry, but she had to return to Atlanta when her mother died during the great flu epidemic of 1918. In 1922, she married Red Upshaw but left him three months later and had the marriage annulled. In 1925, she married John Marsh, the best man at her first wedding. He died in 1952. Mitchell joined the prestigious Debutante Club, but her public drinking, smoking and her performance of an Apache dance in a sensual costume, ended that for her. She was refused membership to the Atlanta Junior League. She began her writing career as a feature writer for the Atlanta Journal. She authored a freelance column for the paper called Elizabeth Bennett's Gossip. Mitchell is the author of the best selling novel of all time, "Gone with the Wind" (1936). In 1939, the film version was a smash hit and it received ten Academy Awards. Scarlett's original name was Pansy, which was also the book's working title, but editors insisted that it would be changed because of its use in the North to refer to homosexuals. Other early titles of the book were "Tote the Weary Load" and "Tomorrow Is Another Day." It is believed that the character Rhett Butler was inspired by her first husband Red Upshaw, and the character Ashley Wilkes was inspired by her first fiance, the attractive and idealistic Lieutenant Clifford Henry. Henry was killed in France during World War I and Mitchell declared him as the one great love of her life. On August 16, 1949, Margaret Mitchell died of injuries she received when she was hit by an intoxicated cabdriver while crossing Peachtree Street in Atlanta. She was mourned by so many that tickets had to be distributed for the funeral. Published posthumously was "Lost Laysen" (1996), which was a novella Mitchell wrote in 1915, at the age of fifteen, as a gift for her boyfriend.

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