On this day in 1937, Margaret Mitchell wins Pulitzer Prize for “Gone With the Wind”.
Margaret Mitchell was born on November 8, 1900, in Atlanta, Georgia, into an Irish-Catholic family. At an early age, even before she could write, Mitchell loved to make up stories, and she would later write her own adventure books, crafting their covers out of cardboard. She wrote hundreds of books as a child, but her literary endeavors weren’t limited to novels and stories: At the private Woodberry School, Mitchell took her creativity in new directions, directing and acting in plays she wrote.
In 1918, Mitchell enrolled at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Four months later, tragedy would strike when Mitchell’s mother died of influenza. Mitchell finished out her freshman year at Smith and then returned to Atlanta to prepare for the upcoming debutante season, during which she met Berrien Kinnard Upshaw. The couple was married in 1922, but it ended abruptly four months later when Upshaw left for the Midwest and never returned.
The same year she was married, Mitchell landed a job with the Atlanta Journal Sunday magazine, where she ended up writing nearly 130 articles. Mitchell would get married a second time during this period, wedding John Robert Marsh in 1925. As seemed to be the case in Mitchell’s life, though, yet another good thing was to come to an end too quickly, as her journalist career ended in 1926 due to complications from a broken ankle. With her broken ankle keeping Mitchell off her feet, however, in 1926 she began writing Gone With the Wind. Perched at an old sewing table, and writing the last chapter first and the other chapters randomly, she finished most of the book by 1929. A romantic novel about the Civil War and Reconstruction, Gone With the Wind is told from a Southern point of view, informed by Mitchell’s family and steeped in the history of the South and the tragedy of the war.
In July 1935, New York publisher Macmillan offered her a $500 advance and 10 percent royalty payments. Mitchell set to finalizing the manuscript, changing characters names (Scarlett was Pansy in earlier drafts), cutting and rearranging chapters and finally naming the book Gone With the Wind, a phrase from “Cynara!, a favorite Ernest Dowson poem. Gone With the Wind was published in 1936 to huge success and took home the 1937 Pulitzer. Mitchell became an overnight celebrity, and the landmark film based on her novel came out just three years later and went on to become a classic (winning eight Oscars and two special Oscars ).
During World War II (1941-45), Mitchell had no time to write, as she worked for the American Red Cross. And on August 11, 1949, she was struck by a car while crossing a street and died five days later. Mitchell was inducted into Georgia Women of Achievement in 1994 and into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2000. Gone With the Wind was her only novel.
hi there, just quick question for fic purposes - any thoughts as to the taste of milk of the poppy? as often as it's mentioned in asoiaf, i haven't found anything in the text indicating whether it's bitter or sweet. i came across an old post of yours in which you said that dreamwine is probably bitter, so would it be reasonable to conclude that milk of the poppy is too?
The interesting thing about milk of the poppy is that… well, the “milk” part is really strange, when you think about it. OK, see, in our world, opium is made by scratching the seed pod of the opium poppy, then the white latex “milk” seeps out and dries, and then later the dried brown waxy product is collected and dehydrated. This brown waxy substance is opium, and can be smoked, or powdered and mixed with alcohol (to make laudanum), or distilled into morphine or heroin, or otherwise used in a variety of ways.
But in ASOIAF,
the potion called milk of the poppy is a thick
white liquid, that can leave a white film around the mouth when drunk. (Like a
very weird “got milk?” ad.) So, evidently the milky white latex of the poppy stays liquid somehow? Perhaps the maesters collect it before it dries, and mix it with something – maybe actual milk or cream, maybe some kind of chemical or distilled spirit (although hot distillation doesn’t seem to exist in Westeros yet). Or maybe they do collect it as a dried product, and grind it into powder and mix it with milk, or something like that?
There’s also a way of making a narcotic “poppy seed tea” by washing poppy seeds in water or alcohol or lemon juice or vinegar, then straining the result. (Please don’t try this at home, people have died.) That reportedly produces a yellow-to-grayish liquid, however, nothing like how milk of the poppy is described. And there’s also poppy seed milk (aguonu pienas
or khas khas doodh), which is made by soaking poppy seeds in water, then grinding them, and squeezing the product through cheesecloth over and over again until all the liquid is extracted. (You can see a video of this process here.) This produces a thin white liquid that looks like milk… but by most reports it’s not narcotic, as the insides of poppy seeds don’t contain the alkaloids of opium. (It can still mess you up on a drug test, though, and people say not to let little kids drink it as it does have a slight sedative property.) But maybe in ASOIAF, it’s not just
the latex of the poppy that contains morphine and codeine and such, but the poppy seeds too, so maybe maesters are making poppy seed milk, thickening it somehow, and that’s what milk of the poppy is?
As for the flavor… alkaloids, the natural chemicals in opium, have a very bitter taste. Laudanum, for example, is extremely bitter, which is why I think it’s the equivalent of dreamwine, which needs honey to go down easy. Poppy seed tea also reportedly tastes vile, especially if it has a high alkaloid content. And poppy seed milk has, quote, “an acquired taste” (nutty, a little bitter?), and normally is mixed with lots of dairy milk and honey to improve the flavor. But, since none of the above products are apparently exactly what ASOIAF’s milk of the poppy is, I’m not sure their flavors would be the same.
But nevertheless, I think I’ve got some textual information for you. (These quotes didn’t come up in asearchoficeandfire for milk of the poppy, so I missed them at first.)
The door to his bedchamber opened. Maester Luwin was carrying a green jar, and this time Osha and Hayhead came with him. “I’ve made you a sleeping draught, Bran.” Osha scooped him up in her bony arms. She was very tall for a woman, and wiry strong. She bore him effortlessly to his bed. “This will give you dreamless sleep,” Maester Luwin said as he pulled the stopper from the jar. “Sweet, dreamless sleep.” “It will?” Bran said, wanting to believe. “Yes. Drink.” Bran drank. The potion was thick and chalky, but there was honey in it, so it went down easy. “Come the morn, you’ll feel better.” Luwin gave Bran a smile and a pat as he took his leave. Osha lingered behind. “Is it the wolf dreams again?” Bran nodded. “You should not fight so hard, boy. I see you talking to the heart tree. Might be the gods are trying to talk back.” “The gods?” he murmured, drowsy already. Osha’s face grew blurry and grey. Sweet, dreamless sleep, Bran thought.
–ACOK, Bran I
A stab of pain reminded him of his own woes. The maester squeezed his hand. “Clydas is bringing milk of the poppy.” Jon tried to rise. “I don’t need—” “You do,” Aemon said firmly. “This will hurt.” Donal
Noye crossed the room and shoved Jon back onto his back. “Be still, or
I’ll tie you down.” Even with only one arm, the smith handled him as if
he were a child. Clydas returned with a green flask and a rounded stone
cup. Maester Aemon poured it full. “Drink this.” Jon had bitten his lip in his struggles. He could taste blood mingled with the thick, chalky potion. It was all he could do not to retch it back up.
–ASOS, Jon VI
So, evidently milk of the poppy tastes “chalky”. (Like milk of magnesia, I suppose?) Now, the sleeping potion that Maester Luwin gives to Bran is not said to be milk of the poppy, but the fact that it puts him to sleep so quickly and that it also tastes thick and chalky suggests it has milk of the poppy as a major ingredient. (It also came in a green flask, heh.) Note that Bran’s potion has honey in it, so I suspect that if milk of the poppy does have a naturally bitter flavor because of its alkaloid content, then maesters would usually prepare it with honey to sweeten or neutralize the bitterness. Especially in the case of invalids, like Hoster Tully or the Blackwater-injured Tyrion, where a maester wouldn’t want them to choke on a nasty-tasting medicine.
Anyway. For fic purposes, I would just say that milk of the poppy tastes thick and chalky. You may also want to note a hint of bitterness, or say that the maester prepared it with honey. Hope that helps!
current mood: changes my history tag from “how is everyone the visual” to “my dear sweetest loves who deserved the universe but life is cruel and unkind”
real talk “lost” is one of the best albums i’ve ever heard in my life and i’m so happy a japanese storia (who no longer has her tumblr ㅜㅜ) sent it to me and i’m just going to miss history so much. so much.
ANONYMOUS ASKED : Hi, I really love your TSH meta. I was wondering what your interpretations/opinions were on Henry and Camilla?
Let me just apologize for the somewhat late reply: I’m both swamped and lazy these days. Now that I have a huge cup of coffee and an hour of free time, I’m all yours.
First of all, you can find a little something about them and their relationship at the end of my Henry head-canons.
Now, Camilla and Henry. As I said before, I’m one of those optimists who likes to think that they did love each other, even though more cynical interpretations are fascinating (Camilla coldly using Henry to protect herself against the abuse of her brother and against the possible wrath of Henry himself, him being a bit of a murderer by the end of the book; Henry using Camilla to fulfil his Greek Hero ambitions, and making her another object to win or to lose; etc). I did not think it was staged while reading the book; I did not see it as a selfish, cerebral courtship. On the contrary, I felt that this underlying, subtle, rising complicity was a secret well-kept, a precious one, an exception in the centre of all the plots, all the icy stares, all the increasing hate separating the other protagonists. Camilla and Henry alone grew fonder of each other throughout the book; maybe because they were actually relentless enough to think of themselves and to seek pleasure and reassurance when the others were busy losing their shit. Yes, I don’t think their affection was another string to add to their personal bows, another complicated lie, a proof of their calculating genius; but I do think they are both cold, self-serving creatures; Camilla through her laziness, her selfishness, her indifference to everything that was not her, her brother, her family or Henry himself; Henry through his God-complex and overall pretentiousness. I think that is what attracted them to each other; a similar way of thinking, of acting, a rare and thus exquisite mutual respect; they usually feel that they are better than most people; they must have thought they had met their match.
We can probably all agree upon the iconic feature of Sherlock Holmes. His wardrobe and accessories are iconic: the Inverness cape, deerstalker hat, and calabash pipe, and figures such as his best friend and housemate Doctor Watson, arch-nemesis Moriarty, and housekeeper Mrs. Hudson have become part of the popular consciousness, as have his extraordinary, infallible powers of deduction utilized in the name of the law, his notorious drug use, and his popular catchphrase, “Elementary, my dear Watson.” And yet many of these most recognizable features of Holmes don’t appear in Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories.
Doyle’s great detective solves crimes in all sorts of ways, not just using deduction. He speculates, and at times even guesses, and regularly makes false assumptions. Furthermore, Mrs. Hudson is barely mentioned, no one says, “Elementary, my dear Watson,” and the detective and his sidekick live apart for much of the time. Moriarty, the grand villain, only appears in two stories, the detective’s drug use is infrequent after the first two novels, and Holmes is rarely enthralled to the English legal system; he much prefers enacting his own form of natural justice to sticking to the letter of the law. Finally, many of the most iconic elements of the Holmesian legend aren’t Doyle’s either. The deerstalker cap and cape were first imagined by Sidney Paget, the story’s initial illustrator, the curved pipe was chosen by American actor William Gillette so that audiences could more clearly see his face on stage, and the phrase, “Elementary, my dear Watson,” was coined by author and humorist P.G. Wodehouse.
Anastasia Nicolaievna, on the other hand, was very roguish and almost a wag. She had a very strong sense of humour, and the darts of her wit often found sensitive spots. She was rather an enfant terrible, though this fault tended to correct itself with age. She was also extremely idle, though with the idleness of a gifted child. Her French accent was excellent, and she acted scenes from comedy with remarkable talent. She was so lively, and her gaiety so infectious, that several members of the suite had fallen into the way of calling her “Sunshine,” the nickname her mother had been given at the English Court.’’
Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna was born today 114 years ago, June 18th 1901. Happy 114th Birthday