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Margaret Mitchell's Masterpiece

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Margaret Mitchell published only one book during her lifetime. But what a book...

It was an immediate best-seller, considered by many to be one of the most readable and enjoyable long novels ever published. It spawned a record-breaking blockbuster movie that swept the Academy Awards. It seemed like the beginning of a brilliant career — but "Gone With the Wind" was the only novel Margaret Mitchell (1900 - 1949) would publish in her lifetime.

Mitchell wrote most of the novel in secret, fearing failure and discouragement. Even after she steeled herself and gave a partial manuscript to a publisher, she changed her mind and tried to get it back. Lucky for us, the publisher had already begun reading it — and he loved what he'd read. At his urging, Mitchell completed the novel, and the rest is literary and cinematic history.

Revisiting her great work is a fitting way to remember Mitchell, who died tragically young when she was hit by a car while crossing busy Peachtree Street in Atlanta. While it may take you a while to read "Gone With the Wind" in its entirety, it will take only four hours to watch the Oscar-winning classic film based on the book. Here are a few clips from "Gone With the Wind" to whet your appetite.

Rhett tells Scarlett, "You need kissing badly."

Clark Gable as Rhett Butler utters one of the most famous lines in movie history.

And Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) displays her strength against a backdrop of one of cinema's most gorgeous shots.

Originally published November 2011