14 December 2009

Jonesboro, Georgia: Margaret Mitchell: Literary Landmarks of the Southern United States, #29

Jonesboro (formerly Jonesborough) is proud to be recognised as the Tara in Gone with the Wind (1935) by Margaret Mitchell (1900–45): Fitzgerald House was Mitchell's grandparent's home, although the film turned it into something much more elaborate. Jonesboro, then, is the self-claimed 'official home of Gone with the Wind', and the Back to Tara Museum is in the 1867 train depot.

There are a great number of exhibits in the museum, among them Sherman's necktie and some of Margaret Mitchell's china, but the emphasis is mainly on the film Gone with the Wind rather than the book, with many reproductions of costumes from the the movie. Nevertheless, on show are many translations of the book around the world. We learn that ther have also been tow sequels: Scarlett (1991) by Alexander Ripley and Rhett Butler's People (2007) by Donald MacCaig. It's very enlightening to compare the effort that has gone into the very interesting, amusing and informative display at Jonesboro compared to the hugely disappointing Margaret Mitchell House in Midtown Atlanta, which is owned by the Atlanta History Center. The problem with Atlanta and area around, as far as Margaret Mitchell is concerned, is that you can easily get Winded: there's a third Margaret Mitchell museum at Marietta, but we didn't go. I can't with fairness, therefore, comment on Marietta, but I'd recommend the Road to Tara anytime over the Margaret Mitchell House, which, as I've promised before, I shall comment on later.

And there's another plus with going to Jonesboro: a lovely atmosphere with, unlike central Atlanta, no panhandlers. How about a pumpkin, then? It was approaching Halloween.

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