Date of Award

8-1-2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

English

First Advisor

Klaver, Elizabeth

Abstract

Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind (GWTW) has long been termed an "epic" of the American South. The implications of that term, however, have not been fully investigated, particularly as they concern generic criteria. How can we assign the generic characteristics of the epic narrative to GWTW? Using theories of the epic as postulated by Hegel, Lukács, Merchant, and Bakhtin, this study examines the ways in which GWTW writes the Southern nation into history, and how the objective portrayal of its epic heroine reflects the emergence of the New Southern nation. More specifically, it looks at how the depiction of Scarlett O'Hara's "everyday" existence reflects the larger New Southern identity and consciousness. The "everyday" or quotidian experience has been defined by such scholars as Henri Lefebvre, Michel deCerteau and Joe Moran as the space in which the life as lived is developed in all its minutia and the manner by which the state acts upon that existence. Using these ideas as a framework, we begin to see how the narrative of Scarlett's day-to-day existence functions as a voice for the New South. Finally, questions of how GWTW enters into the "everyday" of contemporary American culture are explored.

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