"Life's under no obligation to give us what we expect": First Edition of Gone with the Wind
Gone With the Wind.
Item Number: 53033
New York: Macmillan, 1936.
First edition of the author’s classic novel. Octavo, original gray cloth. First printing, with “Published May 1936” on the copyright page and no mention of other printings. First issue dust jacket, with Gone with the Wind listed in the second column of the booklist on the back panel, with $3.00 cost on the front flap. Near fine in the original near fine price-clipped dust jacket with some light reinforcement to the verso. A very nice example.
In 1923, Margaret Mitchell became a feature writer for the Atlanta Journal, and in 1925, married John Marsh, a public relations officer for Georgia Power. She found most of her assignments unfulfilling, and she soon left to try writing fiction more to her own taste. Her own harshest critic, she would not try to get her work published. She began to write Gone with the Wind in 1926, while recovering from an automobile accident. Over the next eight years she painstakingly researched for historical accuracy. She accumulated thousands of pages of manuscript. Here is how she later described her life's labor: "When I look back on these last years of struggling to find time to write between deaths in the family, illness in the family and among friends which lasted months and even years, childbirths (not my own), divorces and neuroses among friends, my own ill health and four fine auto accidents ... it all seems like a nightmare. I wouldn't tackle it again for anything. Just as soon as I sat down to write, somebody I loved would decide to have their gall-bladder removed. ... " In 1934, an editor from Macmillan's Publishers came to Atlanta seeking new authors. He was referred to John and Margaret Marsh as people who knew Atlanta's literary scene. She steered him to several prospects, but didn't mention her own work. A friend told him that she was writing a novel, but she denied it. On the night before he was to leave Atlanta, she appeared at his hotel-room door with her still imperfect, mountainous manuscript and left it with him for better or for worse. "This is beyond doubt one of the most remarkable first novels produced by an American writer. It is also one of the best" (New York Times). Gone With the Wind is said to be the fastest selling novel in the history of American publishing (50,000 copies in a single day), and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize.