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In a critical review written in 1936 by Malcolm Cowley in The New Republic, Cowley calls Gone with the Wind "an encyclopedia of the plantation legend":the white-columned mansion, the Aunt Jemima, the Uncle Joe, the white-haired "massa," the Southern belle with her seventeen-inch waist, the darkies singing over the hill as they go to the fields, the handsome rake, and, of course, the Civil War and Reconstruction with the KKK and the Carpetbaggers and Scalawags.
While all of this chronology of the Old South is contained in Mitchell's historical romance, there is also something splendidly captivating about this novel. Perhaps, it is Mitchell's undaunting courage to write with, as Cowley terms it, "splendid recklessness" huge scenes that others would shy from for fear of comparison to Dickens or Dostovesky. Her talent of tying her narrative together with certain motifs such as that of postponement--"I'll think about that tomorrow"--and of heritage with the reverberating memory of Tara make for a dreamingly sentimental, but not maudlin, narrative that pulls the reader into many scenes. Truly, there is a magnificence to the writing of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind that leaves the reader disappointed at having to leave its world when the narrative is finished.
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