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Subject: Re: A Bitter Pill/Tarleton Twins
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Sat, 3 Dec 2016 00:31:28 -0500

text/plain (44 lines)

David Shengold wrote:

"Do a search for Pulitzer Prize Novels and you'll see some of the immortal tomes that share  
that distinction. A few good books... and then the rest.
As for "popularity", that could be said of PEYTON PLACE and VALLEY OF THE DOLLS too, 

Thanks for the suggestion, David.  I did a search of Pulitzer Prize fiction, and Margaret 
Mitchell is in some very distinguished company:  Edith Wharton, Booth Tarkington, Sinclair 
Lewis, Thornton Wilder, Pearl S. Buck, John Steinbeck, Upton Sinclair, John P. Marquand, 
James Michener, Herman Wouk, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Harper Lee, Katherine 
Ann Porter, Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, Phillip Roth, John Updike, Alice Walker, Toni 
Morrison, Annie Proulx... I had no idea that the Pulitzer featured so many of the most 
distinguished American authors of the past century.   "A few good books" indeed!  (BTW, 
how many of the books on the Pulitzer list have you actually read?  I counted 31 that I have 
read over the years, from "The Age of Innocence" to "The Goldfinch," and they are all 
worthy of the PP.)   

Re popularity, obviously that metric is not in itself a guarantor of quality.  But you should 
have chosen better counter-examples.  GWTW today, 80 years after its first publication, is 
one of the best-known, best-loved, and widely-read works of fiction in the U.S.  By contrast, 
I doubt if most people today have even heard of "Peyton Place" (a very good book, BTW) or 
"Valley of the Dolls" (now THERE is a "hack" work by a hack author), much less read them.  
No doubt the movie "GWTW" has something to do with the book's continuing popularity, but 
that alone does not account for it.

The racial/historical aspects of GWTW are another matter for considerable debate.  But the 
quality of the book itself is not in question, IMNSHO.

Regards -

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