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17 December 2020

Gone with the Wind (1939) encapsulates the huge difficulty so often confronted at Persephone: should we despise a book or a film because it encapsulates attitudes that are abhorrent to us nowadays but were simply part of the language ('discourse' as academics would say) at the time the film or book appeared? We get an email a month about perceived antisemtisim in one or two of our books. Yet in a list of great films of the 1930s we cannot possibly ignore Gone with the Wind. Even though 'the enslaved Black people in the film conform to old racial stereotypes “as servants notable for their devotion to their white masters, or for their ineptitude. The film’s treatment of this world through a lens of nostalgia denies the horrors of slavery, as well as its legacies of racial inequality"'  (Professor Jacqueline Stewart quoted here). Gone with the Wind has now been reissued with a video preceding the main film about 'why it should be viewed in its original form, contextualised and discussed'. This seems very sensible. But here is an article saying that the film is undeniably racist (this is true) and should be banned (it should not).

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