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4. The Southern Belle
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the figure of Scarlett O'Hara as "The Southern belle", focusing in particular on her literary antecedents in 19th-century plantation romance, her unimpeachable "whiteness", and her development through the book as she overcomes the death and destruction of the Civil War and its aftermath.
In this course, Professor Helen Taylor (University of Exeter) explores Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind. We start by thinking about tremendous impact of the novel, as well as the celebrated and critically acclaimed film adaptation starting Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. After that, we explore the life and career of the novel's author – Margaret Mitchell – including an account of how the book came to be written, before turning to the issues of war and slavery in the novel itself. In the fourth module, we think about Scarlett O'Hara as a representative of the 'Southern belle' stereotype, before thinking about the many retellings of the Gone with the Wind story by subsequent writers and film-makers. In the sixth module, we look more closely at the relationship between Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler, before moving on in the seventh module to think about how the novel engages with transgression and loss, and why Gone with the Wind might still speak to us today.
Helen Taylor FRSA FEA is Emerita Professor of English. In 2011 she was elected Honorary Fellow of the British Association of American Studies for her distinguished contributions to the subject. Having taught English and American literature and Women's Studies at the universities of Louisiana State, West of England, Bristol and Warwick, she moved to Exeter in 1999 where she was Head of English and University Arts and Culture Fellow.
She has published widely on American southern literature and culture, and is also known for feminist critical articles and editions, as well as engagement with radical pedagogy. Her books include Gender, Race, and Region in the Writings of Grace King, Ruth McEnery Stuart, and Kate Chopin (1989), Scarlett's Women: Gone With the Wind and its Female Fans (1989, translated into Finnish and Japanese), with Richard H. King, Dixie Debates: Perspectives on Southern Cultures (1996), Circling Dixie: Contemporary Southern Culture through a Transatlantic Lens (2001) and The Daphne du Maurier Companion (2007). In recent years she has published on the transatlantic historical and cultural significance of the Storyville District of New Orleans, 1897-1917, as well as the post-Hurricane Katrina cultural revival of New Orleans. Her most recent book is a British Film Institute Film Classic on Gone With the Wind (2015).
She served on the AHRB 2000-2003 as Convenor of the AHRB Postgraduate Panel, and was a member of the RAE 2008 American Studies and Anglophone Area Studies Sub-Panel. She has programmed for, and been on the Boards of, several literature festivals. She is the Director of Liverpool Literary Festival, 2016.
Cite this Lecture
Taylor, H. (2018, August 15). Mitchell: Gone with the Wind - The Southern Belle [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/mitchell-gone-with-the-wind/the-southern-belle
Taylor, H. "Mitchell: Gone with the Wind – The Southern Belle." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/mitchell-gone-with-the-wind/the-southern-belle