For years, the original manuscript of the novel Gone With the Wind was believed to have been destroyed. But as WNPR’s Diane Orson reports, the last four chapters recently re-appeared in a Southport, Connecticut library.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell tells the sweeping story of a headstrong Scarlett O’Hara and her turbulent love affair with Rhett Butler – set against the backdrop of the Civil War. The film starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh received ten Academy Awards.
But the last four chapters of the original manuscript have their own story to tell, says Dan Syndacker of the Pequot Library in Southport.
"The hand of Margaret Mitchell is visible on the pages. She and her husband both went through and marked up this typescript, so it’s a bit of a love story."
The book, published in 1936, was an immediate success - and the celebrity overwhelmed Mitchell. She turned against the manuscript and wanted it destroyed. When she was accidentally killed by a taxi cab in 1949 her husband, overcome with grief, went home and burned most of the pages..."..not knowing that George Brett, the publisher had kept back these final four chapters."
Brett was president of Connecticut’s Pequot Library in the 1950s, and donated the chapters as part of a special collection. When a Mitchell biographer requested information earlier this year, the library recognized what it had.
Syndacker says the chapters contain some of the most famous lines in American literature, "It has Rhett saying to Scarlett, “Frankly I don’t give a damn”
"Rhett, if you go, where shall I go? What shall I do? Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn".
The original final four chapters of Gone With the Wind are on display this month at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the book’s publication.