Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Use of fiction by Ayn Rand
National Review ^ | 1957 | Whittaker Chambers

Posted on 10/02/2006 6:59:27 PM PDT by Rob Larrikin

Lefties commonly say there is something wrong with Rand’s use of fiction as a vehicle for Objectivist beliefs. In a 1957 review of ‘Atlas Shrugged’, Whittaker Chambers, who had no idea how successful Atlas Shrugged would be, said, “The mischief here is that the author, dodging into fiction, nevertheless counts on your reading it as political reality.” Lefties have been using that same approach ever since. Using fiction is ‘mischief’ and ‘dodging’.

Rand was trying to make an otherwise dull subject interesting, and she also wanted to show what might happen in a world where businessmen really did go on strike. Since that hasn’t happened, it would need to be fiction. Duhh...

Rob Larrikin


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: atlasshrugged; aynrand; journalists; lefties; leftistscum; nationalreview; roblarrikin; socialism; whittakerchambers
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-95 next last

1 posted on 10/02/2006 6:59:28 PM PDT by Rob Larrikin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: PGalt; bruinbirdman; traviskicks; UnklGene; aynrandfreak; DoctorMichael; elfman2; CSM; ...

Ayn Rand ping


2 posted on 10/02/2006 7:01:57 PM PDT by FreeKeys ("The concept of individual rights is so new ... most men have not grasped it fully to this day."Rand)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin

And those steamy scenes in "The Fountainhead" too. Hubba. hubba.


3 posted on 10/02/2006 7:03:49 PM PDT by King Moonracer (Bad lighting and cheap fabric, thats how you sell clothing.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin
Two words: Farenheit 9/11.
4 posted on 10/02/2006 7:06:14 PM PDT by Gordongekko909 (Mark 5:9)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin

Nice post. I like Whittaker Chambers even better than Rand.


5 posted on 10/02/2006 7:09:09 PM PDT by Mr. Brightside
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin; FreeKeys

Welcome to FreeRepublic. Thanks for posting. Thanks for the ping FreeKeys.


6 posted on 10/02/2006 7:11:31 PM PDT by PGalt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin

That was one heavy book. I read 3/4 of it but it seemed to be repeating itself. I also read The Fountainhead like every other weenie who wanted to be an Architect. FLLW never looked so good as in that book. And he was screwing everything that moved in real life.


7 posted on 10/02/2006 7:13:52 PM PDT by Thebaddog (Labs Rules! Brilliant!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin
The last time I checked, Whittaker Chambers wasn't exactly a "leftie."

Mark

8 posted on 10/02/2006 7:14:44 PM PDT by MarkL (When Kaylee says "No power in the `verse can stop me," it's cute. When River says it, it's scary!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Thebaddog

Can't believe the book is 40 years old already. Rand was way ahead of her time.


9 posted on 10/02/2006 7:15:39 PM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin
Chambers was not exactly a lefty. Witness contains more genuine distilled emotion than the entire bulk of Atlas Shrugged.

Personally I thought it a very enjoyable novel if far too long and in spots impossibly repetitive. I don't think you can really balance polemic and fiction very well and where she restricted herself to plot, character, and pace Atlas Shrugged stands on its own.

I do take issue with Chambers' statement “The mischief here is that the author, dodging into fiction, nevertheless counts on your reading it as political reality.” The novel works best where it does describe political reality - her ability to portray the characters she describes as "looters and moochers" is so incredibly sharp that I swear I know personally each and every one of them. It may be that their presence wasn't quite so obvious in 1957 as it is today, but you could drop any one of their bleatings seamlessly into today's degenerate political discourse and never guess that it was half a century old.

Her protagonists, however, weren't in my opinion quite so finely drawn. Not a one of them had a single character flaw except a self-doubt that was removed by the workings of the Ubermenschen Galt, d'Anconia, etc. The real world isn't actually much like that as I see it, and because of that we are unlikely to see the series of events she postulated. Atlas, such as he is, is likely to remain in chains. All IMHO and subject to furious debate, of course.

10 posted on 10/02/2006 7:16:12 PM PDT by Billthedrill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin
The Soviets didn't have much use for Alexandr Solzhenitsyn either. He used literature to crystalize an atrocity that was immense and multi-layered.
11 posted on 10/02/2006 7:18:35 PM PDT by Brad from Tennessee (Anything a politician gives you he has first stolen from you)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin
Thanks for the vanity, Rob. What an erudite, in-depth commentary on Whitaker Chambers' review of Ayn Rand's masterpiece 'Atlas Shrugged'. The tightly knotted complexity of Chambers' carefully constructed review questioning Rand's merits as a novelist and thinker were simply cut away to nothing by the forceful--even Alexandrian-- simplicity of your deceptively plainspoken counterargument. The mind simply boggles.
12 posted on 10/02/2006 7:19:23 PM PDT by Rembrandt_fan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Billthedrill
"Chambers was not exactly a lefty. Witness contains more genuine distilled emotion than the entire bulk of Atlas Shrugged."

You have that right. Witness is a tougn but important read.

13 posted on 10/02/2006 7:25:31 PM PDT by n230099 ("If the creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin

I'm totally in awe of what authors like Rand did without the benefit of a word processor. Vonnegut too, with Sirens of Titan.


14 posted on 10/02/2006 7:27:35 PM PDT by rbg81 (1)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1710730/posts


15 posted on 10/02/2006 7:30:07 PM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MarkL

At the time he wrote this article, he hadn't been a leftie in a long time.


16 posted on 10/02/2006 7:30:48 PM PDT by EveningStar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: rbg81

I spent a summer reading "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." I know what you mean. How those authors churned out those massive works - alone - is fantastic.


17 posted on 10/02/2006 7:31:05 PM PDT by KellyAdmirer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Thebaddog
That was one heavy book. I read 3/4 of it but it seemed to be repeating itself.

I discovered it when I was 15. For about a year, it seemed like the most important thing ever written. But that speech by John Galt at the end. Snooooooooze . . . .

18 posted on 10/02/2006 7:31:09 PM PDT by ModelBreaker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Billthedrill
Not a one of them had a single character flaw . . .

Except promiscuity and arrogance.

"If they won't build it my way, then, well, I'll just blow it up. There's a good idea! After all, they just own the building. I am the artiste."

Her protagonists were sociopaths. But as you say, her portraits of the moochers was so right on, it hurt. But then, they were sociopaths too.

19 posted on 10/02/2006 7:35:27 PM PDT by ModelBreaker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin

leftists use ficticious claims, photos, and voters all the time...


20 posted on 10/02/2006 7:37:28 PM PDT by verum ago (The Iranian Space Agency: set phasers to jihad!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ModelBreaker
Except promiscuity and arrogance.

Now that is a very interesting point. I don't think Rand regarded either trait as a flaw, actually - the promiscuity in particular was a rejection of conventional sexual morality roughly a decade before it became fashionable that she very much shared and acted upon. It wasn't one of her more endearing personal characteristics.

As far as arrogance goes I'm also inclined to agree. But what need does a person who is perfect have of humility?

21 posted on 10/02/2006 7:46:17 PM PDT by Billthedrill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: MarkL

'The last time I checked, Whittaker Chambers wasn't exactly a "leftie."'

I said, "Lefties have been using that same approach ever since."


22 posted on 10/02/2006 7:53:33 PM PDT by Rob Larrikin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Billthedrill
But what need does a person who is perfect have of humility?

The only perfect man was also the most humble.

The more one has in the way of brains, good looks, drive, money etc, the more desperately one needs humility and the more difficult it is to have. And at that point, it becomes difficult not to have pride in one's humility.

23 posted on 10/02/2006 7:54:46 PM PDT by ModelBreaker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Billthedrill
"The real world isn't actually much like that as I see it, and because of that we are unlikely to see the series of events she postulated"

That's why they call it fiction. 1984 didn't describe the real world either but the overall theme sure had a touch of reality. Sometimes it takes a tome to make a point or two. It is not often that one can engage someone in a four or ten hour political discussion and keep their interest while they don't even know its political. Rand uses the correct device. She grew up in pre-revolution and revolution St. Petersburg. She knew of that which she spoke.

Who are the great political fiction writers today? Did Ayn Rand truly begin the great conservative movement or was it Buckley?

yitbos

24 posted on 10/02/2006 7:59:25 PM PDT by bruinbirdman ("Those who control language control minds. " - Ayn Rand)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Rembrandt_fan; y'all
You want an erudite, in-depth commentary on Whitaker Chambers' review?


Al Barger wrote this critique of Chambers review:


"--- Ayn Rand heartily alienated most intellectuals of her era- left, right and center.

Even today, the mere mention of her name brings a vicious snarl to the lips of many people.

Partly, this was because she was a genius, and her work made irredeemable confetti of a lot of little worldviews.

All of Marx's horses and all his lame professors couldn't put socialist or altruist philosophy together again after Ayn.

So, some of this alienating couldn't be helped. On the other hand, partly she was often, not to put too fine a point on it, a bitch. To be fair, she went spoiling for fights, let us say.
She is often described as a figure of the right, but the accuracy of that very much depends on exactly what part of "right" you mean. In fact, she was just about as unpopular among many conservatives, especially because of her extremely staunch atheism - which she insisted on as a bedrock of her philosophy.

Rand's most famous and specific break with the right wing came in the form of an infamous contemporary 1957 National Review book review for her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged.

It may be infamous, but for a mere book review to be noteworthy enough to be infamous is some literary achievement. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the magazine, they now have this famous article on their website. "Big Sister Is Watching You" by Whittaker Chambers.

Whittaker Chambers was an ex-communist who had turned to become a religious conservative, famous as the main witness against Alger Hiss, and a hero among conservatives in a way that only a convert can be.

This apparently got him the deference to use the pages and prestige of Bill Buckley's magazine to write perhaps the most malicious and carefully dishonest hatchet job I've ever seen published as a "book review."

For a beginning hint of the dishonesty, he made a big point of dismissing the book as a silly trifle, hardly worth mentioning except that it seemed to be selling well. Then he spent 2700 words carefully taking the book apart as literature, and making a particularly malicious and slanderous conclusion.

For starters, he spent a few hundred words saying that the book was nearly worthless as a fictional story. Ayn Rand was, in fact, a very effective dramatist and writer, even if you didn't like much of the message. She had skills. You could argue about aspects of her approach that you find inadequate, but to pretend that she was a crappy writer with few redeeming features seems extremely hard to justify objectively, let us say.

But then he got to the meat of it, the party purging. He absolutely made her out to be a Nazi. "From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: 'To a gas chamber; go!'"

This infamous money quote of the piece has been quite justifiably cited for years by Rand supporters as the textbook example of the dishonesty of her critics.

For starters, the factual wrongness of this review is breathtaking. A big part of the point of her work was to denounce communism and fascism, and to dissect the philosophical underpinnings that enabled their monstrosities.

On top of which, Ayn Rand was originally a Russian Jew who famously fled the budding Soviet Union. For this ex-commie Chambers to be so speaking of this Jewish survivor of the Soviet holocaust is somewhere beyond words in its offensiveness.

Now, Chambers was a clever little dirtbag, so he whipped up a bunch of words that at least sounded like coherent sentences to make his point.
Yet all those fancy words were just dressing up a cheap shot.

The basis of his accusation that Rand was a fascist dictator in waiting ultimately was simply that ALL atheists are ultimately fascist. He slightly camouflaged such a ridiculous statement by using the word "materialist" rather than simply atheist, which is what he meant.
The point of this was the weak old theistic warhorse that some God is supposedly the only possible source of morals or values.

If you don't believe in God, then it's grab what you can and screw all else.
Besides being a hugely unjustifiable leap logically, it is also a ridiculously broad and sweeping statement. Moreover, he's making this same cheap argument directly in the face of Rand having gone into great ridiculous detail to explain exactly how else values and morals might be defined.

Indeed, one of the biggest complaints against her, and against this novel in particular is exactly the overly excruciating repetition of just such details. Nor did his description fit any of her heroes.

In truth, Chambers appears not so much to have been writing a book review, but attempting a party purge - an instinct no doubt left over from his commie days. He seems to have been somewhat successful in that. Ayn certainly never had any association with anybody in the National Review orbit.

In a social encounter, Ayn once said to William F Buckley, "You're too smart to believe in God." For his part then, Buckley has apparently carefully made a point of never reading this obviously important book. For a man in his position, this constitutes a willful dereliction of duty. He knew better than this nonsense. ----"

- Al Barger -
25 posted on 10/02/2006 8:00:12 PM PDT by tpaine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Gordongekko909

"Two words: Farenheit 9/11."

I think Moore made his mocumentary using a collection of truths, mistruths, and cunning lies. He would say, "A = B because [insert lie here]."
Rand was saying, "A is not B," and provided a 'for example' in the form of fiction.


26 posted on 10/02/2006 8:01:44 PM PDT by Rob Larrikin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Gordongekko909

What about Catch 21? The book that spawned a dozen assassinations. Hah!


27 posted on 10/02/2006 8:02:41 PM PDT by phoenix0468 (http://www.mylocalforum.com -- Go Speak Your Mind.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Rembrandt_fan

"Thanks for the vanity, Rob. What an erudite, in-depth commentary on Whitaker Chambers' review of Ayn Rand's masterpiece 'Atlas Shrugged'. The tightly knotted complexity of Chambers' carefully constructed review questioning Rand's merits as a novelist and thinker were simply cut away to nothing by the forceful--even Alexandrian-- simplicity of your deceptively plainspoken counterargument. The mind simply boggles."

Translation: You should use avoidable word baggage to counter an incorrect view.

I disagree.


28 posted on 10/02/2006 8:12:15 PM PDT by Rob Larrikin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin
The best use of Ayn Rand's writings — fiction or not — is as a sleep aid. "WARNING: Do not read The Fountainhead while operating heavy machinery."
29 posted on 10/02/2006 8:15:11 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Extremely Extreme Extremist

"Can't believe the book is 40 years old already. Rand was way ahead of her time."

Yes, 40 years old, but still contemporary. As long as we have a party which wants to tax and spend, redistribute income from the have's to the have nots (vote buying), Atlas Shrugged will continue to be contemporary.

I'm luck, I'm retired now and I CAN choose to leave this country/economy if the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua makes it and I CAN stay away for her one term before the people are absolutely outraged and tar and feather her, sending her and the perp to oblivion.


30 posted on 10/02/2006 8:16:29 PM PDT by Rembrandt (We would have won Viet Nam w/o Dim interference.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: tpaine

Excellent read, tpaine. Thanks.



31 posted on 10/02/2006 8:18:47 PM PDT by Rob Larrikin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin

Who is Ayn Rand and why should I care?


32 posted on 10/02/2006 8:18:55 PM PDT by OwenKellogg
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Billthedrill
Personally I thought it a very enjoyable novel if far too long and in spots impossibly repetitive.

I have a theory that Rand considered editors the be the "looters and moochers" of the publishing world and wouldn't let one touch her magnum opus no matter how much it needed it.

33 posted on 10/02/2006 8:19:12 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Dems - Your conduct is an invitation to the enemy, yet few of you have heart enough to join them.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: ModelBreaker
I discovered it when I was 15. For about a year, it seemed like the most important thing ever written. But that speech by John Galt at the end. Snooooooooze . . . .

I agree, in a sense. Read the novel, then read Galt's speech by itself, and it makes more sense. I have always thought that Ayn got kinda long winded with the Galt speech, but in and of itself, it is good, but you have to have the pretext of the novel before it to really appreciate it.

I will agree that it is mighty long, and tends to make the same points over and over.

To read the Galt manifesto without the novel would probably make no sense, but to put the book down when the speech starts and make it a read on it's own (it is!) a day or few later, and it is easier to swallow.

34 posted on 10/02/2006 8:24:13 PM PDT by GaltMeister (“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: B-Chan

“The best use of Ayn Rand's writings — fiction or not — is as a sleep aid. "WARNING: Do not read The Fountainhead while operating heavy machinery."

Another sleep inducer is Brian Greene’s “The Fabric Of The Cosmos.”

I’m glad we don’t judge ideas by how well they put you to sleep. Where would Einstein be if we did?


35 posted on 10/02/2006 8:24:43 PM PDT by Rob Larrikin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: tpaine

As any Marine will tell you, there is no such animal as an "ex-Marine."

Likewise, there are no ex-Communists and there are no ex-Socialists. Just examine the Clinton family for proof of that.


36 posted on 10/02/2006 8:25:13 PM PDT by Rembrandt (We would have won Viet Nam w/o Dim interference.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: OwenKellogg

“Who is Ayn Rand and why should I care?”

http://www.answers.com/Ayn%20Rand

Our socialistic world needs Rand like a desert needs water. Unless you prefer larrikinism, but a lot of it was inspired by Rand.


37 posted on 10/02/2006 8:30:37 PM PDT by Rob Larrikin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: KarlInOhio
I think you might be right. An editor would have to have brass gonads to pull it off but the novel would have been better for a good deal of pruning.

Here's what I mean, and Rand fans, forgive me, but it's a case in point. The scene where the steam locomotive goes through the tunnel carrying its passengers to their deaths was a metaphor so perfect other authors would kill to have thought of it. It was what happens (and her case is that it's a metaphor for an entire society) when the less capable expropriate the efforts of others and think that they know their proper employment. But she couldn't let the art stand on its own - for passenger after passenger she drives home the specific philosophical mistake that caused him or her to die, hammering the point so deep into the ground that the reader can hardly see it from there anymore. Surely anyone who had paid attention up to then would have figured it out? That's why you trouble to use a metaphor in the first place.

A good literary editor would have cut and polished that gem had she allowed it. That's what you pay them for. And that's what I mean when I say that it's difficult to mix fiction with polemic. Perhaps that's true of all art. It certainly explains why there's so little of the good stuff around these days.

38 posted on 10/02/2006 8:39:47 PM PDT by Billthedrill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: Rembrandt
-- there are no ex-Communists and there are no ex-Socialists. Just examine the Clinton family for proof of that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I've been trying to make that point about Chambers over on the other thread [link below], -- with little success..

He has many die hard fans on FR, for some unknown reason.


Big Sister is Watching You (review of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged")
Address:http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1710730/posts
39 posted on 10/02/2006 8:42:01 PM PDT by tpaine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin

Four Words. Who is John Galt?


40 posted on 10/02/2006 8:44:59 PM PDT by gigster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: bruinbirdman
Did Ayn Rand truly begin the great conservative movement or was it Buckley?

I believe the answer is "yes." But they attracted different people to the cause; I'd guess Rand attracted a third, Buckley a third, and the remainder were influenced by both.

41 posted on 10/02/2006 8:47:51 PM PDT by FreeKeys ("The concept of individual rights is so new ... most men have not grasped it fully to this day."Rand)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: tpaine
Well, I'm a bit of a Chambers fan and I'll happily tell you the reason. What he related in Witness was the gut-wrenching effort it takes for someone who has given heart and soul to a false ideology to reclaim them. It also details the place in that process that a religious epiphany, even one as slow and tentative as his, holds. Some atheists are uncomfortable with that, possibly because he considers it an indispensable part of his progress and they did not find it an indispensable part of their own.

The fellow could certainly write beautifully. I happen to think he missed several points with respect to his review of Atlas Shrugged, as I've mentioned above, but not all of them. I would not characterize Rand as a fascist, for example, but I do detect a whiff of the autocrat in nearly all her writings, and in her personal life she certainly behaved like it.

I also think the gas chamber comment was over the top. But what fate did she really think would face the looters and moochers? The novel ends before she has to say. I do not think it would have been pretty. And what place in the society to come would be occupied by those incapable of displaying the sort of personal independence and brilliance she ascribed to Reardon, Galt, and Taggart? I don't think even Rand pretended that was a universal human characteristic. It's a little uncomfortable to contemplate, frankly. I suspect that her utopia would have had a very dark side to it. All IMHO with the usual reservations, of course.

42 posted on 10/02/2006 9:01:47 PM PDT by Billthedrill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: stylecouncilor

Ayn Rand ping


43 posted on 10/02/2006 9:04:32 PM PDT by onedoug
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin

'The last time I checked, Whittaker Chambers wasn't exactly a "somebody."'


44 posted on 10/02/2006 9:32:16 PM PDT by MikeHu
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin

I find value in Rand's works. For the curious who want to know what all the fuss is about, I would recommend the following to be read in the order listed.:

1. _We the Living_ (novel) Of all of Rand's fiction, this one reads the most like a conventional novel. But a lot of her philosphical meaning gets through, even though it's still early in her career. I think it's her best meld of story and philosophy. Characters in the novel have motivations and convictions and carry them consistently through the novel. I could go on, but just read it. Or rent the Italian movie _Noi Vivi_ if you're more into movies. Among ther best and truest movie adaptations ever. I recommend this even more than _he Fountainhead_.

2. _The Virtue of Selfishness_ (philosophical work) Probably the best distillation of her philosophy. Written around the time of _Atlas_. Reading this book is excellent grounding for a reading of either _The Fountainhead_ or _Atlas Shrugged_. Mainly to get a better handle on all the philospohical profiles of the chracters, their interactions, andd where their choices lead them.

If you only read the first two books, you'd probably have a much better understanding of Ayn than any critic could tell you and why, at the very least, you DON'T like her.

If you want to read more novels, you might resume with

3. _Anthem_ (Novella) and then follow through with:

4. _The Fountainhead_ and/or _Atlas Shrugged._

or if you want to read more books covering her thinking, you might read:

_ Philosophy: Who Needs It?
_ The Romantic Manifesto
_ Capitalism: The Unknow Ideal

and finally

_The Ayn Rand Lexicon_ (philosophical overview)

A fantastic overview of Ayn's position on a number of social, political, economic, and philosphical topics. As well as terms ideas that Ayn uses throughout her writing. While this large volume discusses most specific points of her philosphy and opinion in full context, I find it best to have read most of the previous works before jumping into this one.

As for her writing... It's Ayn's own effort in what she calls the Romantic (as opposed to Naturalistic) style of writing. Most of us are familar with the Romantic style in such genres as superhero comics and pulp fiction. Ayn took superheroes and made them into people that never changed out of their suits, so to speak. Now, THAT IS a gross simplification, because the characters are much more complex than the traditional superheroes of HER time, but perhaps not so much more than of the graphic novel superheroes of OUR time.

The mistake many make with Ayn after reading her novels is thinking that they HAVE to be the EXACT same kind of person that they just read about. Or that applying Rand's ideas will turn you into some sort of monster. Well, no, you don't and no, it won't. You are still you and you do the very best you can. You can be your pleasant, normal, FReeper self and still understand and even(!) appreciate what she had to say. You CAN find points that you agree with her on and not "lose your soul"!


45 posted on 10/02/2006 11:14:06 PM PDT by BradyLS (DO NOT FEED THE BEARS!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FreeKeys
If Chambers was a commie who became a conservative, he would be one of the original neo-cons. A neo-con is, said Irving Crystal, the godfather of neo-conservatism, a "liberal who was mugged by reality", or, a liberal who dared even consider the validity of a single conservative tenet.

Of course that was before the socialists hijacked the term to suit their purposes (young conservatives who think their ideology should be spread throough the gun barrel).

Any Rand knew liberals well. Her language was often subtle and drawn out. A more candid Rand will be found in "The Letters of Ayn Rand".

yitbos

46 posted on 10/02/2006 11:19:07 PM PDT by bruinbirdman ("Those who control language control minds. " - Ayn Rand)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: BradyLS

Or, hey, forget Rand's books. If you want an entertaining read by the master of science fiction that covered a LOT of the same ground, I encourage you to read Robert Heinlein's _The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress_. It's almost as if Heinlein had read _Atlas_ and he said, in the form of a novel, "HERE'S how you say all that to an American audience!" There are some real zingers for ideas, but at least he explains them and puts a recognizable human face on them.


47 posted on 10/02/2006 11:26:07 PM PDT by BradyLS (DO NOT FEED THE BEARS!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: Billthedrill
A good literary editor would have cut and polished that gem had she allowed it. That's what you pay them for. And that's what I mean when I say that it's difficult to mix fiction with polemic. Perhaps that's true of all art. It certainly explains why there's so little of the good stuff around these days.

Great point!

48 posted on 10/02/2006 11:28:34 PM PDT by BradyLS (DO NOT FEED THE BEARS!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: Rob Larrikin

Does Owen Kellogg really need to label his post as sarcasm when asking “Who is Ayn Rand and why should I care?”


49 posted on 10/03/2006 1:31:33 AM PDT by OwenKellogg
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: Billthedrill
Personally I thought it a very enjoyable novel if far too long and in spots impossibly repetitive

An editor would have to have brass gonads to pull it off but the novel would have been better for a good deal of pruning.


Amen to that. And had an editor had 'the brass' then I believe that the message would have been much stronger, pointed and easily disseminated.

As far as Chambers: what a ridiculous premise. "Dodging into fiction" while counting on a knowledge of political reality has been done since the beginning of story telling. no doubt.

Fiction is a way to communicate and on a basic level that is what Chambers has the real issue with...that is what the Left/Socialist always have an issue with.
50 posted on 10/03/2006 6:27:33 AM PDT by socialismisinsidious ( The socialist income tax system turns US citizens into beggars or quitters!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-95 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson