The Old and New South: Shakespeare in Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind

Darlene Ciraulo, Central Missouri State University


This essay looks at the influence of Shakespeare in Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind, arguing that Mitchell uses Shakespeare to represent both Old South idealism and New South enterprise. As a symbol of western culture, Shakespeare stands for the lost ideal of the Old South. This ideal is based on the myth of antebellum chivalry and refinement. Paradoxically, however, the planter aristocracy associates a knowledge of Shakespeare with cavalier gentility. Mitchell also draws on Shakespearean characterization, specifically the figure of Lady Macbeth, to indicate the spirit of the New South. Scarlett O'Hara's ambition and "unsexing" are aligned with New South industry.

All my "classical" reading, if you could call it that, was done before I was twelve years old. Mother used to give me a nickel for each of Shakespear's plays. — Margaret Mitchell

Although, as a child, Margaret Mitchell enjoyed rugged tales of romance and adventure, her dramatic imagination was also strongly influenced by her early "classical" readings in Shakespeare. Educated in a private school for young women in Atlanta, Washington Seminary, Mitchell focused her creative talent on drama, excelling as an actor and playwright in the theater group. By adolescence, Mitchell had written a score of romantic stories — mostly plays — with titles such as "A Darktown Tragedy" and, more exotically, "In My Harem." As a society girl, it was Peggy who entertained friends from the Yacht Club with humorous, short plays (A. Edwards 1983, 38, 41, 79). Indeed, when at twenty-seven Mitchell began to write Gone With the Wind (1936), she drew on her knowledge and predilection for drama, including Shakespeare. In the novel, Shakespeare appears intermittently within the context of the American Civil War and Reconstruction. Melanie Wilkes, for example, shepherds the postbellum Shakespeare Reading Circle, while Scarlett O'Hara's ambition is characterized by analogy to the "unsexing" of Lady Macbeth. These allusions to Shakespeare provide glimpses into the conflict between Old and New South ideologies that underpin the postwar experience of defeat and survival. It is the tension between these opposed perspectives on the South that gives shape to Mitchell's appropriation of Shakespeare in Gone With the Wind.
The use of Shakespeare in Mitchell's novel can be appreciated more fully by outlining briefly the philosophical division that developed between Old and New South ideologies. In his essay "The 'Simple Story' 's Ideology: Gone With the Wind and the New South Creed," Richard King identifies two modes of historical consciousness that took root in Southern intellectual life during the early and mid-twentieth centuries. Nietzschean "monumentalism" refers to the nostalgic valorization of a past that is both aesthetically and ethically superior to the present time. "Liberal modernization" views the artifacts and traditions of the past as secondary and inferior to the more urgent and gripping problems of the present (King 1983, 168-73). The monumentalists of the Old South envision the aristocratic plantation class as heroic survivors, staving off the encroachment of the North's predatory economics and social liberalism.1 Alternatively, the modernizers of the New South, although by no means unified, contend that the postbellum South needs social renovation and economic diversification; many criticize as well southern backwater politics and racial prejudice, championing instead social advancement and industrial growth.2 King asserts that Mitchell's novel, neither conservative nor reactionary, combines the spirit of "Old South tradition" and "New South promise" (King 1983, 170). Mitchell's invocation of Shakespeare, I argue, is suggestive of both prewar idealism and postwar enterprise.

Monumentalist Shakespeare

In Gone With the Wind, Shakespeare is frequently associated with the myth of the Old South plantation and with the past as a locus of traditional values. The two characters in the novel who are aligned most closely with Shakespeare and the planter aristocracy are Ashley Wilkes and his cousin-wife, Melanie. It is a discerning Scarlett, for example, who purchases for them "a complete set of Shakespeare" when on honeymoon in New Orleans with Rhett Butler (Mitchell 1988, 831). By contrast, Scarlett gives frivolous souvenirs to relatives and servants: jewelry for Ella and Aunt Pitty; costly clothing for Uncle Peter, Dilcey and Cookie; a St. Bernard puppy and Persian kitten for little Wade and Beau. The "highbrow" gift of Shakespeare is the expected present for the litterateur, symbolizing the gentility, sophistication, and refinement of the planter aristocracy.
Before the war, the Wilkes family, as proprietors of Twelve Oaks plantation in Clayton County, with its white-columned house "like a Greek temple" (Mitchell 1988, 27), are repeatedly connected with the classical and humanist culture of belles lettres. Curiously, the Irish immigrant Gerald O'Hara evinces a disdain for Old South literary culture. He asks his daughter Scarlett, "do you understand [Ashley's] folderol about books and poetry and music and oil paintings and such foolishness?" (36). Although the O'Hara family belongs to the southern elite (Scarlett's mother comes from the well-born Robillards of Savannah), Gerald O'Hara's anti-intellectualism reflects upstart roots and a pragmatic privileging of hard work over book learning: "Look at the way [the Wilkes] go tearing up to New York and Boston to hear operas and see oil paintings. And ordering French and German books by the crate from the Yankees!" (37). The Wilkes's cosmopolitan pursuit of music, painting, and literature appears to Gerald O'Hara unorthodox and non-southern ("proper" men should spend their time "hunting and playing poker" [37]). In essence, Gerald O'Hara's contempt for the patrician society of Shakespeare and the arts reveals his estrangement from the educated members of the planter gentry.
Critical commentary on the Old South has evaluated the relationship between Shakespeare and the golden age of antebellum society. In "The Glory that was the South," Howard W. Odum notes that a knowledge of Shakespeare went hand in hand with the myth of the planter aristocracy. As signs of this myth, Odum cites not only the romanticized images of slave-based plantation life (the colonnaded houses, happy "darkies" singing spirituals, the abundant food and exotic flora), but also the presence of "volumes of Shakespeare" and of Shakespearean productions that premiered in the South "before ever they were given in New York or Boston or Philadelphia" (Odum 1947, 124). Furthermore, as Clement Eaton remarks in The Mind of the Old South, the cavalier spirit of the gilded past was conspicuously marked by an admiration of Shakespeare, as well as of reading in other classical and romantic books (Eaton 1964, 185-86). Although recent studies of early and mid-nineteenth-century theater in America have found that Shakespeare — performed in shortened farces, afterpieces, and divertissements — attracted both "high" and "low" audiences (Levine 1988; Goodson 2002), an appreciation of Shakespeare also flourished in the antebellum South because his works were part of the traditional canon and considered to be "moral" (Dormon 1967). Some southern poets and writers, such as William Gilmore Simms, thoroughly venerated the playwright. Simms, "the most representative man of letters of the antebellum South," edited Shakespeare's apocryphal plays, reviewed performances, and appropriated in his novels an array of Shakespearean characters, including Othello and Hamlet (Watson 1985, 13). Henry Timrod, the "Laureate of the Confederacy," even saw in Shakespeare a paradigm of war-torn Dixie and the loss of Old South ideals (Murphy 1985). From this monumentalist perspective, the Bard of Avon functions as a cultural signpost of Old South custom, history, and civility.
In Gone With the Wind, the planter aristocracy, affiliated with the older families of Virginia, coastal Georgia, and South Carolina (the Wilkes are originally from Virginia), possesses the leisure time to dabble in Shakespeare and the arts. This dilettantism coincides with the antebellum myth of cavalier gallantry, worldliness, and urbane decorum. Even the Charleston-born Rhett Butler knows his Shakespeare. Educated at West Point (though expelled for drunkenness), Rhett displays an easy and smooth familiarity with the playwright. When Scarlett momentarily regrets her unscrupulous conduct — her dogged determination to run a profitable lumber mill in Atlanta by double-dealing, trafficking with Yankees, and using convict labor — Rhett does not mollify her guilt-ridden conscience: "And I fear that when you can afford to fish up the honour and virtue and kindness you've thrown overboard, you'll find they have suffered a sea change and not, I fear, into something rich and strange" (Mitchell 1988, 759). This allusion to Ariel's song in The Tempest perhaps falls on deaf ears. In the novel, Mitchell consistently emphasizes Scarlett's dislike of books and schooling in spite of her upper-class breeding: "books and music and poetry [were] things that interested her not at all" (28). Yet Rhett's ability to commandeer Shakespeare indicates his silk-stocking upbringing in the planter caste of coastal Carolina, despite the fact that he roguishly rebuilds the Butler fortune by gambling and wartime blockade-running.3
The novel further identifies Shakespeare with antebellum tradition in its representation of the turbulent years of Reconstruction. Epitomizing the Old South, the Wilkes emerge as leaders of the Lost Cause. Ashley and Melanie's shabby brick house on Ivy Street in Atlanta becomes the nucleus of a "new society" (Mitchell 1988, 718), which is, paradoxically, based on prewar values — a world devoid of carpetbaggers, freed slaves, Yankee garrisons, and brash Republicans. Although Ashley feels betrayed by the empty platitudes of war ("'King Cotton, Slavery, States' Rights, Damn' Yankees'" [207]), he also mourns the poetic elegance of bygone years: the magnolias, the moon, the roses at Twelve Oaks (208). The patriotic Melanie not only supervises various social clubs — such as the Saturday Night Music Circle, the Beautification of the Graves of Our Glorious Dead, and the Sewing Circle for the Widows and Orphans of the Confederacy — but she also plays an integral part in the Shakespeare Reading Circle:
It was she who cast the deciding vote at the Shakespeare Reading Circle that the bard's works should be varied with those of Mr. Dickens and Mr. Bulwer-Lytton and not the poems of Lord Byron, as had been suggested by a young, and, Melanie privately feared, very fast bachelor member of the Circle. (721)
Melanie upholds standards of decency and propriety primarily by valorizing Shakespeare, as well as Dickens and Bulwer-Lytton, and simultaneously disdaining Byron's racy and exotic verse. More than mere entertainment, Shakespeare represents noble and immutable truths. This idealism characterizes as well Ashley's belief that the Old South possesses an aesthetic principle of excellence: "before the war, life was beautiful. There was a glamour to it, a perfection and a completeness and a symmetry to it like Grecian art" (515). Arguably, the work of Shakespeare both transcends the bleak realities of Reconstruction and evokes a sugar-coated return to the glamour and perfection of the Confederacy.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow

As Gone With the Wind progresses, the Shakespeare Reading Circle serves not only to support, but also to undermine, the fable of the Old South. At one gathering of the Reading Circle, Dr. Meade, an ex-Confederate physician, "acquitted himself nobly in reading the part of Macbeth" (Mitchell 1988, 722). Macbeth was one of the most popular Shakespearean plays performed in the Old South, second only to Richard III (Dormon 1967, 256). Given that many antebellum playgoers deemed Shakespeare a moral playwright, these same audiences probably interpreted the Scottish play as a didactic study in tyranny. Lawrence W. Levine writes that Abraham Lincoln himself regarded the play as a superlative example of the "'problems of tyranny and murder'" (Levine 1988, 39). It is unclear, however, whether this reference to Macbeth in Gone With the Wind reflects ironically on the values of the Yankees or of the Old South. Dr. Meade, using the same voice in which he formerly celebrated "Our Glorious Cause," declares that the tyranny of the North has ravaged and laid waste to the families and traditions of the South, quelling their happiness and livelihood: "They have taken the flower of our manhood and the laughter of our young women. They have broken our health, uprooted our lives and unsettled our habits [ . . . ] But we will build back" (Mitchell 1988, 722). On one level, Dr. Meade reads from Macbeth expressly because the play accommodates the idea that tyranny will succumb to justice and right will prevail over oppression. Yet on another level, Gone With the Wind uses Macbeth to critique the sentimentalization of Dixie, especially of its history of racial discrimination and abuse.
Mitchell originally called her novel "Tomorrow is Another Day," but had to abandon the title since it was already in print (A. Edwards 1983, 182). One of her alternative titles, "Tomorrow and Tomorrow," recalls Macbeth's famous speech outside the walls of Dunsinane. (Seven years earlier, the southern novelist William Faulkner had mined this same speech for the title of The Sound and the Fury [1929].) Macbeth's words summon up a picture of devastation and apocalyptic ruin:4
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. (Macbeth, 5.5.18-22)
More existentially, the passage underlines the futility and meaninglessness of life itself. Overpowered by the North, the beaten Confederacy faces the enormous task of rebuilding itself "day to day." While this speech is not cited directly in Gone With the Wind, it resonates strongly with the novel's narrative of war, defeat, and survival, as Mitchell herself stated: "[my mother told me that] my own world was going to explode under me, some day, and God help me if I didn't have some weapon to meet the new world" (Mitchell 1976, 38). In the context of postwar Georgia, Macbeth's words evoke the senseless devastation incited by the "Glorious Cause." Shakespeare's lines — perhaps the very lines that Dr. Meade recites — also imply a yearning for "yesterdays," and the hope persists, in antiquated groups such as the Shakespeare Reading Circle, that the old way of living will return.
But the old way of the South promotes its own brand of tyranny. The "new society," as typified by the Shakespeare Reading Circle, inflicts a new reign of terror in order to subjugate and retaliate against the newly-emancipated slaves. The Atlanta Klu Klux Klan and its supporters — even Rhett — largely come from the Wilkes's coterie. The new society's involvement in the Klan comes to light when Scarlett is assaulted in Shantytown by a white man and a black man. Even though Scarlett opposes the Klan for her own selfish reasons, the Klan avenges her attack, with the female members of the Wilkes's circle showing their full-hearted complicity. To Scarlett's shock, Ashley and Melanie's house quickly materializes as the hub of a clandestine operation of revenge and murder. When Yankee officers search the Wilkes's home for the culprits, the Klan immediately plays its part in the coverup, with Melanie directing the action: "[Scarlett] realized she was witnessing a play, a desperate play on which lives hinged [ . . . ] they were tossing cues to one another like actors in an oft-rehearsed drama" (Mitchell 1988, 785). In this event, even Old Merriwether and Uncle Henry appear as "two great actors" (793).5 The cues shot back and forth in this scene remind us of Lady Macbeth's coded warnings to Macbeth to conceal the murder of Banquo during the banquet episode in 3.4. Yet Scarlett's rejection of such theatrical "Shakespeare-speak," along with her refusal to embrace the Bard as a representative of the Old South, illustrate the ways in which Shakespeare, as will be shown, becomes a changing cultural signifier in the New South.

Unsexing Scarlett

We have seen that Shakespeare, as a canonical figure in Gone With the Wind, embodies Old South values. Equally significant, however, is Mitchell's appropriation of Shakespeare to convey the idea of the New South: the entrepreneurial spirit of postwar Atlanta is embodied in the ambition and "unsexing" of Scarlett. Louis Rubin, Jr. states that "Margaret Mitchell went to considerable length to identify Scarlett O'Hara with the city of Atlanta" (Rubin 1983, 90). Christened in the same year as Atlanta was founded, Scarlett personifies the city's headstrong resolve to triumph and thrive after the war: "I'm like Atlanta," Scarlett says. "It takes more than Yankees or a burning to keep me down" (Mitchell 1988, 470). The heroine's ambition, symbolized by lack of interest in her "Shakespeare-reading friends" (857), shares affinities with the attitudes behind New South modernization: "Atlanta was of [Scarlett's] own generation, crude with the crudities of youth and as headstrong and impetuous as herself" (139).
In his study of the New South, James Michael Russell discusses Atlanta's economic resurgence in the very midst of postbellum poverty and widespread destruction. As Russell indicates in his chapter "The Phoenix City," rebuilt Atlanta rejected the attitudes of the Old South, looking instead to Yankee-based laissez-faire capitalism as a means to foster industrial progress (Russell 1988, 117-45). One editor of the Atlanta Constitution went so far as to describe the "Atlanta Spirit" as "forceful, aggressive, intelligent, harmonious, with an abundance of that requisite indispensable in man or city — sleepless initiative" (quoted by Doyle 1990, 158). In Gone With the Wind, the newly-regenerated South is mirrored in the restless, "sleepless initiative" of Scarlett, who, like Lady Macbeth, defies social custom and mores.
During Reconstruction, Scarlett invests in and runs a lumber mill. Her brilliance with numbers confounds Frank Kennedy, her second husband, who is astounded by his wife's extraordinary ability to calculate sums with lightning speed. Consequently, Frank thinks Scarlett's business acumen and enterprise "unwomanly" (Mitchell 1988, 622):
All of his life, Frank had been under the domination of the phrase "What will the neighbours say?" and he was defenceless against the shocks of his wife's repeated disregard of the proprieties. He felt that everyone disapproved of Scarlett and was contemptuous of him for permitting her to "unsex herself." (625)
Scarlett's "unsexing" parallels Lady Macbeth's calling forth of murderous spirits to infuse her with defiant courage:
Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here
And fill me from the crown to the toe topfull
Of direst cruelty. (Macbeth, 1.5.38-41)
Lady Macbeth's cruel ambition resembles Scarlett's brazen entrepreneurism. Seeking income to pay the Yankee-imposed taxes on Tara, Scarlett's desire for "a stout levee of cash" turns ruthless (652). She privileges profit over human welfare by employing cheaply-paid convicts and overlooking their starvation, sickness, and maltreatment. Additionally, she demands loan repayments from destitute, penniless friends. Scarlett's unsexing makes her a social outcast from Old South society, "the subdued, church-going, Shakespeare-reading friends of her earlier Atlanta days" (857). Scarlett's single-minded determination, "what drove her like a mad woman," hides a deep-grounded fear of losing Tara (652).
Steeped as she would have been in nineteenth-century character criticism, Mitchell might have drawn on an ongoing debate about Lady Macbeth's character for her portrayal of Scarlett. In his lectures on Shakespeare, Samuel Taylor Coleridge says dogmatically that Lady Macbeth possesses only "mock fortitude," is "deluded by ambition," and demonstrates absolutely "no womanly life, no wifely joy" (quoted by Furness 1915, 472). By contrast, Anna Jameson's Characteristics of Women (1833) rejects the normative critique of Lady Macbeth by assigning to her character compassion, complexity, and femininity: "in Lady Macbeth's concentrated, strong-nerved ambition, the ruling passion of her mind, there is yet a touch of womanhood: she is ambitious less for herself than for her husband" (quoted by Furness 1915, 477).6 Such sensitivity to the motives of Lady Macbeth carried over as well to the nineteenth-century stage. Theater star Charlotte Cushman — majestic and fierce — famously infused into the role of the murdering queen "attributes of humanity" (Winter 1969, 500). The Victorian actresses Ellen Terry and Helena Faucit (Lady Martin) breathed not only humanity into the part of Lady Macbeth, but also wifely femininity. Their performances downplayed the queen's bold masculinity by emphasizing her compassion, seductiveness, and charm (512-14). Coleridge, by contrast, sees little femininity in Lady Macbeth's "consummate art," merely an artful manipulative guile (quoted by Furness 1915, 472). In Gone With the Wind, Scarlett combines feminine charm with artful guile to further her ambition. Scarlett's "art," her ability to charm and influence with "studied artistry and consummate skill" (Mitchell 1988, 155), corresponds to a clever, Machiavellian practicality. But while Lady Macbeth's ambition destroys her, Scarlett's ensures her survival. Her self-reliance and gumption fit squarely into the New South ethos: "the self-willed and vigorous new" (141).
Scarlett learns the consummate art of femininity from the upper-crust culture into which her aristocratic mother, Ellen Robillard, was born: "the mothers of all her girl friends impressed on their daughters the necessity of being helpless, clinging, doe-eyed creatures. Really, it took a lot of sense to cultivate and hold such a pose" (Mitchell 1988, 81). This learned posturing is an integral aspect of the social niceties of the Old South. Ladies, especially those seeking a husband, should behave in a passive and dependent manner: "It was this happy feminine conspiracy which made Southern society so pleasant" (155). Scarlett, however, recognizes gender subordination as a charade and exploits it. The art of feminine obsequience and submissiveness, this putting on of "doe-eyed" helplessness, is in Scarlett merely the veneer of gentility, and behind its facade lurks the crude reality of her "headstrong and impetuous" sensibility (139). Her unwillingness to adopt fully the "happy feminine conspiracy" of antebellum conduct, that institutionalized servility, allows her to manipulate the opposite sex by drawing on her womanly charm.
Scarlett wears the disguise of the delicate and defenseless southern belle in order to secure her interests, which include giving Ashley work at the mill and stockpiling money for her family, including Aunt Eulalie in Charleston. At one point in the story, when Scarlett is pregnant and married to Frank Kennedy, she hides her apprehension that the Reconstruction government will confiscate her capital and property by comporting herself in Old South fashion. Scarlett hides — but only just — a simmering anger and fury: "The rôle she enacted was that of a refined sweet Southern lady in distress. With an air of dignified reserve she was able to keep her victims at their proper distance, but there was nevertheless a graciousness in her manner which left a certain warmth in the Yankee officers' memories of Mrs. Kennedy" (653). Like Lady Macbeth as well, Scarlett expresses an aversion to motherhood: "no woman in her right mind would have babies if she could help it" (Mitchell 1988, 605). Nonetheless, Scarlett uses her condition of motherly respectability for her own ends. Her delicate state does not prevent Scarlett from transacting business on the streets, making savvy deals with Yankees, and swindling her competitors. Not unexpectedly, the old Atlanta society — her Shakespeare-reading friends — deems the pregnant businesswoman "indecent" (652).
Rhett Butler sees through Scarlett's art because he shares her same crude opportunism: "we are both scoundrels, Scarlett, and nothing is beyond us when we want something" (Mitchell 1988, 916-17). Even the possibility of becoming Rhett's mistress does little to distract Scarlett from getting at his purse strings. To accomplish this, she plays the role of a naive coquette. Outfitted in a velvet green dress (made from curtains) and looking like the fashionable women on the "Rue de la Paix" (559), Scarlett tries hard to charm and move Rhett: "She shut her eyes tightly, trying to squeeze out tears, but remembered to turn her face up slightly so he could kiss her with no difficulty" (562). Rhett, however, is enticed by her artistry rather than by her efforts at flirtation. In essence, he values the rough-and-tumble of Scarlett's ambition, which is antithetical to the ineffectual ideals of the Old South, including Shakespeare, virtue, and truth: "he, like her, saw truth as truth, unobstructed by impractical notions of honour, sacrifice, or high belief in human nature" (996). Rhett respects Scarlett's cunning and fortitude, her weapons of survival in the face of Confederate defeat and New South reconstruction. Rhett is not the only one who admires her ambition; Melanie herself, the embodiment of Old South propriety, defends Scarlett's ambition as being consistent with womanhood. As she says to Scarlett, "I don't mean you've ever been unwomanly or unsexed yourself, as lots of folks have said" (925, my emphasis).
Atlanta's newly-defeated planter aristocracy does not, however, consider Scarlett's ambition acceptable even though under Reconstruction, women were entering the workplace. During this time of radical social change and prosperity, these women dispelled the myth that women had to rely on husbands or male relatives for income (Scott 1970, 133).7Gone With the Wind illustrates the economic battle facing women who, like Scarlett, have left behind a chivalric past: "the still forest paths under frosty autumn stars, the barbecues, the fish-fries, the quiet of moonlight nights" (Mitchell 1988, 210). As we have seen, Ashley and Melanie, who speak of "books and dreams and moonrays and star-dust" (516), epitomize Old South monumentalism. But this upper-class utopia comes at a human cost: the plantation ethos is built on the "happy feminine conspiracy" (155) that supports gender subordination and racial bondage. Scarlett's ambition hardly fits into the idealization of the Old South, one reified by a cultural apotheosis of Shakespeare. In fact, she doesn't understand "music and poetry and books or anything that isn't dollars and cents" (916). Mitchell evokes Lady Macbeth's defiant ambition to suggest Scarlett's relationship to New South modernization. Both Scarlett and Lady Macbeth are seduced by the male-dominated sphere of power and its trappings. Yet if Scarlett symbolizes an industrious New South, her industry promotes self-interest over ethical responsibility. With Rhett gone, her child dead, and Melanie dying, Scarlett has, unlike Lady Macbeth, the possibility of another tomorrow.


1.   I would like to thank Christy Desmet, Sujata Iyengar, and Robin Warren for their helpful suggestions in the revision of this essay. For studies that explore the Old South in relation to the social and historical realities and myths of antebellum culture, see the following discussions: John W. Blassingame, The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South (1972); Chalmers Gatson Davidson, The Last Foray (1971); Allison Davis, Burleigh B. Gardner and Mary R. Gardner, Deep South (1941); Clement Eaton, A History of the Old South (1949); Steven M. Stowe, Intimacy and Power in the Old South (1987); William R. Taylor, Cavalier and Yankee (1961); George B. Tindall, "Mythology: A New Frontier in Southern History," in The Idea of the South, ed. Frank E. Vandiver (1964); Edgar T. Thompson, Plantation Societies, Race Relations, and the South (1975); and Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Southern Honor (1982).
2.   For studies that diversely explore the social/historical realities and myths of the New South, see the following studies: Don H. Doyle, New Men, New Cities, New South (1990); Paul Gatson, The New South Creed (1970); William C. Holley, Ellen Winston, and T. J. Woofter, Jr., The Plantation South, 1934-1937 (1971); John C. McKinney and Edgar T. Thompson, eds., The South in Continuity and Change (1965); I. A. Newby, Plain Folk in the New South (1989); James Michael Russell, Atlanta, 1847-1890 (1988); Kenneth M. Stampp, The Era of Reconstruction, 1865-1877 (1965); Tom E. Terrill and Jerrold Hirsch, eds., Such as Us (1978); Jonathan M. Wiener, Social Origins of the New South (1979); and C. Vann Woodward, Origins of the New South, 1877-1913 (1951).
3.   In Mitchell's own life, a knowledge of Shakespeare was a sign of cosmopolitan polish and sophistication. According to her biographer, Margaret's first love, a Harvard man from New York, dazzled her by reading poetry and quoting Shakespeare (A. Edwards 1983, 47). And later as a published writer, Margaret alludes glibly and facilely to Shakespeare. She writes, for instance, that "I know a number of Southern authors who had dreadful criticisms of their first books. These authors put a buckler between them and the 'slings and arrows of outrageous fortune'" (Mitchell 1976, 227). One of Mitchell's favorite borrowings, it seems, derives from Ariel's "Full Fathom Five": "I found that a number of our good Southern idioms had suffered delightful sea changes." Once again, she writes, "I am appalled to think what a sea change my book has suffered!" (Mitchell 1976, 292, 312). That a "sea change" carries negative implications harks back to Rhett Butler's skepticism that Scarlett has the capability to transform positively "into something rich and strange" (Mitchell 1988, 759).
4.   All references to Macbeth are to the New Cambridge Shakespeare edition, edited by A. R. Braunmuller.
5.   Mitchell's depiction of the Klan in the novel is ambiguous. For instance, Mitchell has Ashley play a central role in the revenge of Scarlett's attack, but later Rhett informs Scarlett that Ashley had opposed the Klan: "Ashley never believed in the Klan because he's against violence of any sort" (Mitchell 1988, 959). Rhett doesn't support the Klan because it's "damned foolishness" (959), but earlier, he had killed a black man for disrespecting a white woman.
6.   For further discussions of Anna Jameson's analysis of Shakespeare's female characters, see Christy Desmet, "'Intercepting the Dew-Drop': Female Readers and Readings in Anna Jameson's Shakespearean Criticism" (1990); and Tricia Lootens, Lost Saints: Silence, Gender, and Victorian Literary Canonization (1996).
7.   For studies that analyze the social and cultural realities and roles of women in the Old South and the New South, see the following discussions: Catherine Clinton, The Plantation Mistress (1982); Laura F. Edwards, Scarlett Doesn't Live Here Anymore (2000); Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Within the Plantation Household (1988); Sally G. McMillen, Southern Women (1992); George C. Rable, Civil Wars (1989); and Francis Butler Simkins and James Welch Patton, The Women of the Confederacy (1936).


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