The first edition of Gone with the Wind

by Liz on February 16, 2012 · Rare Romance

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell     While the universal day of love has quickly come and gone, one sweeping, unforgettable, and indisputably unsurpassed rare love story will be with us for as long as we live: Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. The rare book inundates the mind and senses with the eternal lines which are passionately uttered by the immortal characters of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, as well as the stunning images of superfluous evening gowns, ardent kisses, and utter disaster as the American South is forever altered.

   After opening Margaret Mitchell’s literary masterpiece, the reader is instantly and euphorically transported and encapsulated to the deep South into the carefree and laid back life of the indulged debutante Scarlett O’Hara, as she effortlessly lives from one ball to the next, all the while trying to lure her much beloved and unrequited love, Ashley Wilkes. However, the reader soon realizes that there is tension in the air as the threat of the American Civil War looms on the horizon, which will forever change the lives of all who know it. As the turbulent and intense novel progresses, the horrific violence and destruction of the war is spelled out, and the shallow and self pleasing soul of Scarlett is slowly welded from formidable and determined, to a soft and caring human being, who realizes too late that there are no hands on earth which will hold her heart as completely as the hands of the seemingly callous and debonair Rhett. 

    The character of Rhett Butler is perhaps the most beloved and remembered in the entire 1,037 page, 1st edition novel. From his smooth and effortless charm, to his biting and cruel dialogue which is frequently hurled at Scarlett for her unwillingness to love him, Rhett Butler has achieved permanent citizenship in the hearts and minds of many, as all who read the enthralling novel ultimately feel his pain and sorrow of being rejected by the one woman whom he will forever love. Clark Gable is also forever hailed and loved, for his incredible rendition of Rhett Butler in the 1939 film, and it is quite simple to put his face to the name as the wonderful novel is being read. Clark Gable artistically brings Rhett Butler even more to life with his superb acting skills, bewitching facial expressions, and his undying personality which is so closely matched to the character of Ms. Mitchell’s confection. In the current season of love, there may be nothing better than to lose yourself in Rhett’s pain soaked and lust filled frustrations, such as the famous line, “Scarlett! Look at me! I’ve loved you more than I’ve ever loved any woman and I’ve waited for you longer than I’ve ever waited for any woman.” Or perhaps, his taunting and teasing flirtation: “No, I don’t think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.”

     Unsurprisingly, the first editions of Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel are extremely valuable and scarce, commanding tens of thousands of dollars. One extraordinary first edition copy being offered for sale is signed not only by Margaret Mitchell, but by Clark Gable as well. This copy is offered for sale along with a typed and signed letter by Mr. Gable describing his feelings concerning the film and the phenomenal novel which inspired it, fairly priced at $85,000.  It offers a remarkable glimpse into Clark Gable’s thoughts on Margaret Mitchell’s novel and the film which represented it. There are however, many first edition copies of the novel that are being sold for much less depending on condition.

    Margaret Mitchell’s masterpiece is a very attractive addition to any rare book library. It represents all that is romantic and sensual in our times with a Pulitzer Prize award and a block buster film adaptation that inspired a sequel. It remains the most revered American saga and a beloved work that continues to sell well beyond the 35 million copies already sold throughout the world.


About the author

Partner, rare book dealer. Sekkes Consultants.

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