As recently described, I have re-discovered Gone With the Wind. But I feel guilty about it. I should not enjoy this book that so clearly glamorizes the Old South and sympathizes with most of its racist tendencies. So, what do I do? I go out and buy books about it. I got in the mail today two books that, I believe, will be very critical of the racial politics of the book.
One looks at GWTW and its female fans, and I suspect it will deal with the balance between its progressive-for-its-time feminism and its larger nostalgia and racism. The other looks at GWTW as a reflection of its historical era (1920s-1940s) and "recasts" it in terms of that culture and its political systems.
Hopefully by reading these more "academic" books about GWTW, I can start to feel less guilty about my love for the original.
Update, 8:32pm: I'm reading the one about GWTW and its female fans, and I'm having a bizarre reaction. I keep wanting to tell these women, "You don't understand it like I do." I somehow want to feel like GWTW is mine, that no one could love it as much as I do. It's weird, particularly given the obvious silliness of it--GWTW is the best selling novel of all time. I suppose it's because for so long I defined myself as "the GWTW girl," and perhaps I'm still attached to that identity. I don't want anyone else to claim it. I mean, I can deal with people being way more into Harry Potter than I am. After all, part of my HP-identity is as a part of a larger fandom. I am a shipper (short for "relationshipper"--I'm for R/H and H/G--Ron/Hermione and Harry/Ginny to the uninitiated). I read fan-fiction. I am a part of that crazy mass of people who go to midnight book releases and movie showings. With GWTW, it was always just me, and I'm finding it, after all these years, kind of hard to share. I'm not sure what to make of this.