RANDALL HAS NEVER DENIED that Gone With the Wind
was the inspiration for her first novel. But when she set out
to write a literary parody of Mitchells book, she says,
she deliberately inverted the world of the plantation, privileging
the African-American slaves with intelligence and wit while
portraying whites as flat, ridiculous cartoons.
key differences in plot and character development, anyone with
even a passing knowledge of Gone With the Wind can discern
Tara and its inhabitants in Randalls parallel universe.
The Wind Done Gone is told from the perspective of Cynara,
the mixed-race daughter of the master, Planter, and slave, Mammy,
of the Tata plantation. She is the half-sister of Other, the
spoiled young lady of Tata, and becomes the mistress of Others
husband, called only R. In the course of the narrative,
Other dies and Cynara marries R, then leaves him for a handsome
says her book is a form of political protest, an antidote
to the poison of racism in Gone With the Wind.
I wrote this book so that Gone With the Wind would
no longer sit on the shelf unanswered, so that young black girls
who were damaged by that book, as I was, would have somewhere
to turn, she says. To create a literary parody is
to derive the most absurd thing possible from the original text,
and that is what I have created in Cynaraan intelligent
may have intended to produce a classic parody, but Anderson
views her work as classic plagiarism. If people were permitted
to just take what they pleased of Gone With the Wind
and do with it what they pleasedif they were permitted
to do that unchallenged, he says, then the copyright
would have no value.
an active alumnus who received an Emory Medal in 1976, first
got wind of the impending publication of The Wind Done Gone
last March and obtained a publicity copy.
then, Anderson had known nothing of Randalls work. We
would not have granted permission to publish it, though we were
given no opportunity to refuse, he says. It was
an offensive piece of writing, and it would not have been anything
the Mitchells would have wanted to see published or authorized.
Its just a takeoff on Gone With the Wind that reflects
discredit on the original and an attempt by the writer to latch
onto Gone With the Wind to produce something that will
sell books for herself.
immediately, the Mitchell Trusts began to mount a campaign to
halt publication of The Wind Done Gone. Anderson is not
arguing the case himselfthat task has fallen to high-profile
New York attorney Martin Garbus, whose clients include Nelson
Mandela and Salman Rushdiebut like an old-fashioned Southern
gentleman, he has proven one of the most vocal defenders of
Margaret Mitchells artistic honor. Finding himself at
the center of a media maelstrom, Anderson says hes just
trying to do right by an agreement he made with an old friend.
in the 1950s, Anderson practiced law for many years with Stephens
Mitchell, Margarets brother, who had inherited the copyright
to Gone With the Wind after the authors 1949 death.
Before he died in 1983, Mitchell created trusts for each of
his two sons and named Anderson and two other colleagues, Herbert
Elsas and Thomas H. Clarke, to direct the trustee, SunTrust
Bank, in the protection and exploitation (a legal term for money-making)
of the copyright. Elsas has since died, leaving the trusts in
the hands of Anderson and Clarke.
Mitchells death, Anderson says, the committee has been
vigilant in its oversight, remaining true to what they regard
as Margaret Mitchells intention and the spirit of Gone
With the Wind. They have authorized the publication of one
sequel, Scarlett, and the making of a TV miniseries, but have
turned down several other attempts to capitalize on the enormous
popularity of Gone With the Wind that they deemed not
up to the authors standards.
is a duty I take very personally and seriously, Anderson
says, because Mr. Mitchell reposed great confidence in
the three people whom he charged with this responsibility.