Sunday, March 30, 2014

Remember Mammy? 'Gone With the Wind' Prequel to Focus on Her


MGM Studios / Getty Images
British actor Vivien Leigh (1913-1967) holds on to a pillar as American actor Hattie McDaniel (1895-1952) tightens her corset in a still from the 1939 film "Gone with the Wind.

Decades after the publication of "Gone With the Wind," Mammy is finally getting a back story.

Simon & Schuster imprint Atria announced Thursday that it will publish Donald McCaig's "Ruth's Journey" in October. A prequel to Margaret Mitchell's million-selling 1936 novel, the book was authorized by Mitchell's estate. McCaig previously wrote an authorized spinoff focused on Rhett Butler, "Rhett's People."

"Ruth's Journey" will track Scarlett O'Hara's no-nonsense servant's life from her arrival in Georgia in the early 19th century.

In 1939, Mammy was immortalized on film by Hattie McDaniel, who became the first black performer to win an Academy Award. Mitchell's novel was often criticized for romanticizing antebellum life and for its one-dimensional portraits of blacks.

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