Volume 77
Number 3

Turning Point

12 Hours on Unit 21

Outreach in Action

War of the Winds

A Sense of Place

Enigma: Defying Gravity

Emory University

Association of Emory Alumni

Current News and Events

Emory Report



Sports Updates






















































LICE 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 Mitchell’s 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.

Despite 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 Randall’s 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 Other’s husband, called only “R.” In the course of the narrative, Other dies and Cynara marries R, then leaves him for a handsome black congressman.

Randall 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 Cynara—an intelligent black woman.”

Randall 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 pleased—if they were permitted to do that unchallenged,” he says, “then the copyright would have no value.”

Anderson, 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.

Until then, Anderson had known nothing of Randall’s 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. It’s 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.”

Almost immediately, the Mitchell Trusts began to mount a campaign to halt publication of The Wind Done Gone. Anderson is not arguing the case himself—that task has fallen to high-profile New York attorney Martin Garbus, whose clients include Nelson Mandela and Salman Rushdie—but like an old-fashioned Southern gentleman, he has proven one of the most vocal defenders of Margaret Mitchell’s artistic honor. Finding himself at the center of a media maelstrom, Anderson says he’s just trying to do right by an agreement he made with an old friend.

Beginning in the 1950s, Anderson practiced law for many years with Stephens Mitchell, Margaret’s brother, who had inherited the copyright to Gone With the Wind after the author’s 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.

Since Mitchell’s death, Anderson says, the committee has been vigilant in its oversight, remaining true to what they regard as Margaret Mitchell’s 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 author’s standards.

“This 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.”

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