More on Southern Women Writers — televised segments of “American Masters”

       Fortunate timing!  Corresponding to recent blog posts here on Southern women writers, I stumbled upon news about two back-to-back American Masters series segments to be televised on PBS this next week concerning two Southern women writers:

Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel premieres nationally Monday, April 2, 2012 at 9 p.m. followed by Harper Lee: Hey, Boo at 10 p.m. (you’re advised to check local listings).

Am especially interested in the program about Harper Lee, who wrote the novel To Kill a Mockingbird.  My earlier blog post discusses why I recently developed a bit of a fascination about her life.  I hope this American Masters segment sheds more light on her.

Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind.  I haven’t read this novel.  I’ve seen the film 2-3 times and enjoyed it.  Actors Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable were terrific as Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler and their portrayals are now cinematic legend.  The movie is something of an “epic,” and I guess people would say the same about the novel, I imagine.  I’ll probably watch the American Masters segment also on Margaret Mitchell just to familiarize myself with her a bit.

P.S.  As an aside, I began watching American Masters series in the late 1980s.  This is a no-holds-barred quality presentation about individual writers, poets, film directors, musicians, composers, actors, visual artists, etc. who have had an impact on the arts in America.  While the format of some of the segments are a bit similar, there is nothing “cookie cutter” about how the biographical material is presented.  For example, for Charlie Chaplin there are three segments.  I believe the presentation on Bob Dylan is two segments.  The people who make these segments do a good job of drawing the viewer in to the life, mind and creativity of each person discussed in a way that makes you understand how this person worked and created.

Anyway I’ve never been bored watching an American Masters segment.  After I saw the one on George Gershwin I walked around for a couple of days saying I was in love with a dead man (I was so enamored with this man’s talent and the music he composed and played.  I remember being astonished that he never married and   shocked that he died before he reached 40…)

Yes, this is my plug for the PBS American Masters series.  Check it out sometime if you’re not able to watch next week’s segments on Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee.

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One thought on “More on Southern Women Writers — televised segments of “American Masters”

  1. This is the blogger here commenting:

    Well, I just saw the two American Masters PBS segments on Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee I wrote about in this blog post. As always, these were well done.
    It turns out each of these Southern women writers wrote only the one great novel that they each became known for. Margaret Mitchell was a journalist and was prompted by her 2nd husband to write a book while she was housebound with a bad ankle. Her novel is “Gone With the Wind.” Harper Lee was prompted to take a year off from her job working as an airline ticket agent when two of her best friends, a couple, gave her money to live for a year and write. Her novel is “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
    My main interest is actually Harper Lee and her segment was full of a number of people (including her older sister, some long time friends and quite a few contemporary writers) giving their opinions and feedback on Harper Lee, herself, and on “To Kill a Mockingbird.” There is also a good amount of time devoted to discussing the issue of racism in the South, how racism is still prevalent in the U.S. today and how this novel presents this issue in such a realistic and compelling way. Another aspect that draws people to the story is that it’s told from the perspective of an adult who is looking back to her childhood and how life was then. Somehow Harper creates a duality of perception that is very unique.
    The mystery of why Harper Lee never wrote another book still remains. This concern is brought up and speculated upon and no one really knows the answer.

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