Authors Who Made History: Ayn Rand

 

Did you come across the following quotes before?

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”

“I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

“Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon.”

“Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.” 

 

 If you love the above quotes , then you would be interested to know about the author who not only wrote the books containing such thought-provoking quotes but also a created new philosophy called ‘Objectivism’. That author is ‘Ayn Rand’.

 

Introduction:

 

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Ayn Rand ( February 2  1905 – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-born American novelist, philosopher,playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957), and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism. Born and educated in Russia, Rand moved to the United States in 1926. She had a play produced on Broadway in 1935–1936. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful in America, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead.

In 1957, she published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own magazines and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982. Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge, and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism, and rejected altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral, and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, and instead supported laissez-fairecapitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights. In art, Rand promoted romantic realism. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for Aristotle and some Aristotelians, and classical liberals.

Literary critics received Rand’s fiction with mixed reviews, and academia generally ignored or rejected her philosophy, though academic interest has increased in recent decades. The Objectivist movement attempts to spread her ideas, both to the public and in academic settings. She has been a significant influence among libertarians and American conservatives.

 

Objectivism and Objectivist movement

Ayn Rand called her philosophy “Objectivism”, and described it as :

“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”

In 1985, Rand’s heir Leonard Peikoff established the Ayn Rand Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Rand’s ideas and works. In 1990, philosopher David Kelley founded the Institute for Objectivist Studies, now known as The Atlas Society.In 2001 historian John McCaskey organized the Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship, which provides grants for scholarly work on Objectivism in academia.

 

Selected works

Novels:

Other fiction:

Non-fiction:

 

Ayn rand also conducted informal courses on writing to a group of friends and acquaintances in her own living room. The transcript of the tape recordings were compiled, edited and published as two books: ‘The Art of Fiction’ and ‘ The Art of Nonfiction’.

 

Reception

In 1991, a survey conducted for the Library of Congress and the Book-of-the-Month Club asked club members what the most influential book in the respondent’s life was. Rand’s Atlas Shrugged was the second most popular choice, after the Bible. Rand’s books continue to be widely sold and read, with over 29 million copies sold as of 2013.  In 1998, Modern Library readers voted Atlas Shrugged the 20th century’s finest work of fiction, followed by The Fountainhead in second place, Anthem in seventh, and We the Living eighth; none of the four appeared on the critics’ list. Although Rand’s influence has been greatest in the United States, there has been international interest in her work.Rand’s work continues to be among the top sellers among books in India.

 

Further information

To know more about Ayn Rand and her books, check the website https://www.aynrand.org/. It has a complete list of Ayn Rand’s books, details of her philosophy and information about Ayn Rand Institute.


Source: Wikipedia, Good reads, aynrand.org

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