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Ayn Rand (; born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum;,  – March 6, 1982) was a
Russian-American Russian Americans ( rus, ру́сские америка́нцы, links= y, r= rússkiye amerikántsy, p= ˈruskʲɪje ɐmʲɪrʲɪˈkant͡sɨ) are Americans Americans are the citizens and nationals Nationals may refer to: * People of a gi ...
writer and philosopher. She is known for her two best-selling novels, ''
The Fountainhead ''The Fountainhead'' is a 1943 novel by Russian-American author Ayn Rand, her first major literary success. The novel's protagonist, Howard Roark, is an intransigent young architect, who battles against conventional standards and refuses to compr ...
'' and ''
Atlas Shrugged ''Atlas Shrugged'' is a 1957 novel by Ayn Rand. Rand's fourth and final novel, it was also her longest, and the one she considered to be her '' magnum opus'' in the realm of fiction Fiction generally is a narrative form, in any media (communic ...
'', and for developing a philosophical system she named
Objectivism Objectivism is a philosophical system developed by Russian Americans, Russian-American writer Ayn Rand. Rand first expressed Objectivism in her fiction, most notably ''The Fountainhead'' (1943) and ''Atlas Shrugged'' (1957), and later in non-fict ...
. Born and educated in Russia, she moved to the United States in 1926. She had a play produced on
Broadway Broadway may refer to: Theatre * Broadway Theatre (disambiguation) * Broadway theatre, theatrical productions in professional theatres near Broadway, Manhattan, New York City, U.S. ** Broadway (Manhattan), the street **Broadway Theatre (53rd Str ...
in 1935 and 1936. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel, ''The Fountainhead''. In 1957, Rand published her best-known work, the novel ''Atlas Shrugged''. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own
periodicals Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial publications that appear in a new edition on a regular schedule. The most familiar example is the magazine A magazine is a periodica ...
and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982. Rand advocated
reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek ...
as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected
faith Faith, derived from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of ...

faith
and religion. She supported
rational Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογι ...
and
ethical egoism Ethical egoism is the normative ethics, normative ethical position that Moral agency, moral agents ought to act in their own self-interest. It differs from psychological egoism, which claims that people can only act in their self-interest. Ethic ...
and rejected
altruism Altruism is the principle A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a s ...
. In politics, she condemned the
initiation of force The non-aggression principle (NAP), also called the non-aggression axiom, is a concept in which "aggression", defined as initiating or threatening any forceful interference with either an individual or their property,Within the context of the NAP, ...
as immoral and opposed
collectivism Collectivism is a value that is characterized by emphasis on cohesiveness Group cohesiveness (also called group cohesion and social cohesion) arises when bonds link members of a social group to one another and to the group as a whole. Although ...
and
statism In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, political activities, political thoughts, political behavior, and as ...
as well as
anarchism Anarchism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...

anarchism
, instead supporting ''
laissez-faire ''Laissez-faire'' ( ; from french: laissez faire , ) is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects hav ...
''
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea o ...

capitalism
, which she defined as the system based on recognizing
individual rights Group rights, also known as collective rights, are rights held by a group ''wikt:qua, qua'' a group rather than by its members severally; in contrast, individual rights are rights held by Individuality, individual people; even if they are group-d ...
, including property rights.; . In art, Rand promoted
romantic realismRomantic realism is art that combines elements of both romanticism and realism. The terms "romanticism" and "realism" have been used in varied ways, and are sometimes seen as opposed to one another. In literature and art The term has long standin ...
. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
,
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar, Philosophy, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential ...

Thomas Aquinas
and
classical liberals Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism that advocates civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on economic freedom. Closely related to economic liberalism, it developed in the early 19th century, ...
. 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 The Objectivist movement is a movement of individuals who seek to study and advance Objectivism, the philosophy expounded by novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand. The movement began informally in the 1950s and consisted of students who were brought to ...
attempts to spread her ideas, both to the public and in academic settings.. She has been a significant influence among
libertarians Libertarianism (from french: libertaire, "libertarian"; from la, libertas, "freedom") is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of ...
and
American conservatives Conservatism in the United States is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy which characteristically shows respect for Culture of the United States, American traditions, Republicanism in the United States, republicanism, and ...
.; .


Life


Early life

Rand was born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum (russian: link=no, Алиса Зиновьевна Розенбаум) on February 2, 1905, to a
Russian-Jewish The history of the Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are members of an ethnoreligious group and a nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act ...
bourgeois family living in
Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg ( rus, links=no, Санкт-Петербург, a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg, r=Sankt-Peterburg, p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), ...

Saint Petersburg
. She was the eldest of three daughters of Zinovy Zakharovich Rosenbaum and Anna Borisovna (née Kaplan). Her father was an upwardly mobile pharmacist and her mother was socially ambitious and religiously observant. Rand later said she found school unchallenging and began writing screenplays at the age of eight and novels at the age of ten. At the prestigious , her closest friend was
Vladimir Nabokov Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov (russian: link=no, Влади́мир Влади́мирович Набо́ков ; 2 July 1977), also known by the pen name A pen name, also called a ''nom de plume'' () or a literary double, is a pseudonym ...
's younger sister, Olga. The two girls shared an intense interest in politics and would engage in debates at the Nabokov mansion: while Olga defended
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from ...
, Alisa supported republican ideals. She was twelve at the time of the
February Revolution The February Revolution ( rus, Февра́льская револю́ция, p=fʲɪvˈralʲskəjə rʲɪvɐˈlʲutsɨjə, tr. ), known in Soviet historiography Soviet historiography is the methodology of history History (from Greek , ' ...
of 1917, during which she favored
Alexander Kerensky Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky ( ; russian: link=no, Алекса́ндр Фёдорович Ке́ренский, ; original spelling: ; – 11 June 1970) was a Russian lawyer and revolutionary A revolutionary is a person who either partici ...
over
Tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate Orthodox Slavs, East and South Slavic monarchs. In this last capacity it lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocra ...

Tsar
Nicholas II Nicholas II or Nikolai II Alexandrovich Romanov . ( 186817 July 1918), known in the Russian Orthodox Church as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer, . was the last Emperor of All Russia, ruling from 1 November 1894 until Abdication of Nicholas II ...
. The subsequent
October Revolution The October Revolution,. officially known as the Great October Socialist Revolution. under the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence ...

October Revolution
and the rule of the
Bolsheviks The Bolsheviks (Russian language, Russian: Большевики, from большинство ''bolshinstvo'', 'majority'),; derived from ''bol'shinstvo'' (большинство), "majority", literally meaning "one of the majority". also know ...
under
Vladimir Lenin Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. ( 1870 – 21 January 1924), better known by his alias Lenin,. was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He served as the first and founding head of government The head of government is e ...

Vladimir Lenin
disrupted the life the family had previously enjoyed. Her father's business was confiscated, and the family fled to the
Crimean Peninsula Crimea; crh, Къырым, translit=Kirim/Qırım; grc, Κιμμερία/Ταυρική, translit=Kimmería/Taurikḗ is a peninsula along the northern coast of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe. It has a population of 2.4 million, made up ...
, which was initially under control of the
White Army The White Army or White Armies, also known as the White Guard (Бѣлая Гвардія/Белая Гвардия, ''Belaya Gvardiya''), Whites, or White Guardsmen (Бѣлогвардейцы/Белогвардейцы, ''Belogvardeytsi''), wa ...
during the
Russian Civil War , date = October Revolution, 7 November 1917 – Yakut revolt, 16 June 1923{{Efn, The main phase ended on 25 October 1922. Revolt against the Bolsheviks continued Basmachi movement, in Central Asia and Tungus Republic, the Far East th ...
. While in high school, she concluded that she was an
atheist Atheism, in the broadest sense, is an absence of belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psy ...

atheist
and valued
reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek ...
above any other human virtue. After graduating from high school in the Crimea in June 1921, she returned with her family to Petrograd (as Saint Petersburg was renamed at that time), where they faced desperate conditions, on occasion nearly starving. After the Russian Revolution, universities were opened to women, allowing her to be in the first group of women to enroll at
Petrograd State University St Petersburg University (SPbU, Saint Petersburg State University; russian: СПбГУ, Санкт-Петербургский государственный университет) is a Russian public university based in Saint Petersburg. It is t ...
. At the age of 16, she began her studies in the department of
social pedagogy Social pedagogy describes a holistic and relationship-centred way of working in care and educational settings with people across the course of their lives. In many countries across Europe (and increasingly beyond), it has a long-standing tradition a ...
, majoring in history. At the university she was introduced to the writings of
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
and
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought and the Platoni ...

Plato
, who would be her greatest influence and counter-influence, respectively. She also studied the philosophical works of
Friedrich Nietzsche Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (; or ; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as thos ...

Friedrich Nietzsche
. Able to read French, German and Russian, she also discovered the writers
Fyodor Dostoevsky Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (, ; rus, Фёдор Михайлович Достоевский, Fyódor Mikháylovich Dostoyévskiy, p=ˈfʲɵdər mʲɪˈxajləvʲɪdʑ dəstɐˈjefskʲɪj, a=ru-Dostoevsky.ogg, links=yes; 11 November 18219 ...
,
Victor Hugo Victor-Marie Hugo (; 26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, and dramatist of the Romantic movement Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellect ...

Victor Hugo
,
Edmond Rostand Edmond Eugène Alexis Rostand (, , ; 1 April 1868 – 2 December 1918) was a French poet and dramatist. He is associated with neo-romanticism and is known best for his 1897 play ''Cyrano de Bergerac (play), Cyrano de Bergerac''. Rostand's romant ...

Edmond Rostand
, and
Friedrich Schiller Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (, short: ; 10 November 17599 May 1805) was a Germans, German playwright, poet, and philosopher. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller developed a productive, if complicated, ...

Friedrich Schiller
, who became her perennial favorites. Along with many other bourgeois students, she was purged from the university shortly before graduating. After complaints from a group of visiting foreign scientists, however, many of the purged students were allowed to complete their work and graduate, which she did in October 1924. She then studied for a year at the State Technicum for Screen Arts in Leningrad. For an assignment, she wrote an essay about the Polish actress
Pola Negri Pola Negri (; born Apolonia Chalupec, 3 January 1897 – 1 August 1987) was a Polish stage and film actress and singer who achieved worldwide fame during the silent film, silent and Golden Age of Hollywood, golden eras of Hollywood and European f ...
, which became her first published work.. By this time, she had decided her professional surname for writing would be ''Rand'', possibly because it is graphically similar to a vowelless excerpt of her birth surname in
Cyrillic , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system A writing system is ...
handwriting, and she adopted the first name ''Ayn'', either from a
Finnic
Finnic
name '' Aino'' or from the
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
word (''
ayin ''Ayin'' (also ''ayn'' or ''ain''; transliterated ) is the sixteenth letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that i ...

ayin
'', meaning "eye").


Arrival in the United States

In late 1925, Rand was granted a
visa Visa most commonly refers to: *Visa Inc., a US multinational financial and payment cards company ** Visa Debit card issued by the above company ** Visa Electron, a debit card ** Visa Plus, an interbank network *Travel visa, a document that allows e ...
to visit relatives in Chicago. She departed on January 17, 1926. When she arrived in New York City on February 19, 1926, she was so impressed with the skyline of
Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as ''The City'', is the most densely populated and geographically smallest of the five boroughs 5 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 5, five or number 5 may also refer to: * AD 5, the fifth year of the AD era ...

Manhattan
that she cried what she later called "tears of splendor". Intent on staying in the United States to become a screenwriter, she lived for a few months with her relatives, one of whom owned a movie theater and allowed her to watch dozens of films free of charge. She then left for Hollywood, California. In Hollywood, a chance meeting with famed director Cecil B. DeMille led to work as an
extra Extra or Xtra may refer to: Arts, entertainment and media Film * ''The Extra'' (1962 film), a Mexican film * ''The Extra'' (2005 film), an Australian film Literature * ''Extra'' (newspaper), a Brazilian newspaper * ''Extra! :''For newspaper ...
in his film '' The King of Kings'' and a subsequent job as a junior screenwriter. While working on ''The King of Kings'', she met an aspiring young actor, Frank O'Connor; the two were married on April 15, 1929. She became a
permanent American resident
permanent American resident
in July 1929 and
an American citizen ''An American Citizen'' is a 1914 American silent film, silent romantic comedy film directed by J. Searle Dawley. The film is noteworthy as the feature film debut of John Barrymore. Distributed by Famous Players Film Company, the film is based on t ...
on March 3, 1931. Taking various jobs during the 1930s to support her writing, she worked for a time as the head of the costume department at
RKO RKO Pictures was an American film production and distribution company. In its original incarnation, as RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. (a subsidiary of Radio-Keith-Orpheum, aka: RKO) it was one of the Big FiveBig Five may refer to: Animals * th ...

RKO
Studios. She made several attempts to bring her parents and sisters to the United States, but they were unable to acquire permission to emigrate.


Early fiction

Rand's first literary success came with the sale of her screenplay '' Red Pawn'' to
Universal Studios Universal Pictures (legally Universal City Studios LLC, also known as Universal Studios, or simply Universal; common metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an int ...

Universal Studios
in 1932, although it was never produced. This was followed by the courtroom drama ''
Night of January 16th ''Night of January 16th'' is a theatrical play by Russian-American author Ayn Rand, inspired by the death of the "Match King", Ivar Kreuger. Set in a courtroom during a murder trial, an unusual feature of the play is that members of the aud ...
'', first produced by E. E. Clive in Hollywood in 1934 and then successfully reopened on
Broadway Broadway may refer to: Theatre * Broadway Theatre (disambiguation) * Broadway theatre, theatrical productions in professional theatres near Broadway, Manhattan, New York City, U.S. ** Broadway (Manhattan), the street **Broadway Theatre (53rd Str ...
in 1935. Each night a jury was selected from members of the audience; based on the jury's vote, one of two different endings would be performed. In 1941,
Paramount Pictures Paramount Pictures Corporation (common metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric ...

Paramount Pictures
produced a movie loosely based on the play. Rand did not participate in the production and was highly critical of the result. ''
Ideal Ideal may refer to: Philosophy * Ideal (ethics) An ideal is a principle A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting ...
'' is a novel and play written in 1934 which were first published in 2015 by her estate. The heroine is an actress who embodies Randian ideals.. Rand's first published novel, the semi-autobiographical ''
We the Living ''We the Living'' is the debut novel of the Russian American novelist Ayn Rand. It is a story of life in post-revolutionary Russia and was Rand's first statement against communism Communism (from Latin la, communis, lit=common, univer ...
'', was published in 1936. Set in
Soviet Russia The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (Russian SFSR or RSFSR; rus, links=no, Российская Советская Федеративная Социалистическая Республика, Rossiyskaya Sovetskaya Federativnaya ...
, it focused on the struggle between the individual and the state. In a 1959 foreword to the novel, Rand stated that ''We the Living'' "is as near to an autobiography as I will ever write. It is not an autobiography in the literal, but only in the intellectual sense. The plot is invented, the background is not ..." Initial sales were slow and the American publisher let it go out of print, although European editions continued to sell. After the success of her later novels, Rand was able to release a revised version in 1959 that has since sold over three million copies. In 1942, without Rand's knowledge or permission, the novel was made into a pair of Italian films, ''Noi vivi'' and ''Addio, Kira''. Rediscovered in the 1960s, these films were re-edited into a new version which was approved by Rand and re-released as ''
We the Living ''We the Living'' is the debut novel of the Russian American novelist Ayn Rand. It is a story of life in post-revolutionary Russia and was Rand's first statement against communism Communism (from Latin la, communis, lit=common, univer ...
'' in 1986. Her novella ''
Anthem An anthem is a of , usually used as a symbol for a distinct group, particularly the s of . Originally, and in and religious contexts, it also refers more particularly to short sacred (still frequently seen in and other types of singing) and s ...
'' was written during a break from the writing of her next major novel, ''The Fountainhead''. It presents a vision of a
dystopian A dystopia (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). ...
future world in which
totalitarian 259x259px, Democracy Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit (2020): perceived authoritarian regimes in red, democracies in green, and color intensity ≈ regime intensity Totalitarianism is a form of government and a political system that prohi ...
collectivism has triumphed to such an extent that even the word 'I' has been forgotten and replaced with 'we'. It was published in England in 1938, but Rand initially could not find an American publisher. As with ''We the Living'', Rand's later success allowed her to get a revised version published in 1946, which has sold more than 3.5 million copies.


''The Fountainhead'' and political activism

During the 1940s, Rand became politically active. She and her husband worked as full-time volunteers for the 1940 presidential campaign of Republican
Wendell Willkie Wendell Lewis Willkie (born Lewis Wendell Willkie; February 18, 1892 – October 8, 1944) was an American lawyer, corporate executive, and the 1940 History of the United States Republican Party, Republican nominee for President of the United State ...

Wendell Willkie
. This work led to Rand's first public speaking experiences; she enjoyed fielding sometimes hostile questions from New York City audiences who had viewed pro-Willkie
newsreels A newsreel is a form of short documentary film A documentary film is a non-fictional film, motion-picture intended to "document reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a Recorded history, historical reco ...
. This activity brought her into contact with other intellectuals sympathetic to free-market capitalism. She became friends with journalist
Henry Hazlitt Henry Stuart Hazlitt (; November 28, 1894 – July 9, 1993) was an American journalist who wrote about business and economics for such publications as ''The Wall Street Journal ''The Wall Street Journal'', also known as ''The Journal'', is ...

Henry Hazlitt
and his wife, and Hazlitt introduced her to the
Austrian School The Austrian School is a heterodox In religion, heterodoxy (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It ...
economist
Ludwig von Mises Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises (; 29 September 1881 – 10 October 1973) was an Austrian School economist, historian, logician, and Sociology, sociologist. Mises wrote and lectured extensively on the societal contributions of classical liberal ...

Ludwig von Mises
. Despite her philosophical differences with them, Rand strongly endorsed the writings of both men throughout her career, and both of them expressed admiration for her. Mises once referred to Rand as "the most courageous man in America", a compliment that particularly pleased her because he said "man" instead of "woman". Rand also became friends with libertarian writer Isabel Paterson. Rand questioned Paterson about American history and politics long into the night during their many meetings and gave Paterson ideas for her only non-fiction book, '' The God of the Machine''. Rand's first major success as a writer came in 1943 with ''The Fountainhead'', a romantic and philosophical novel that she wrote over a period of seven years. The novel centers on an uncompromising young architect named Howard Roark and his struggle against what Rand described as "second-handers"—those who attempt to live through others, placing others above themselves. It was rejected by twelve publishers before finally being accepted by the
Bobbs-Merrill Company The Bobbs-Merrill Company was a book publisher located in Indianapolis Indianapolis (), colloquially known as Indy, is the state capital and List of U.S. states' largest cities by population, most-populous city of the U.S. state of Indiana ...
on the insistence of editor Archibald Ogden, who threatened to quit if his employer did not publish it. While completing the novel, Rand was prescribed the
amphetamine Amphetamine (contracted from alpha-methylphenethylamine) is a central nervous system The central nervous system (CNS) is the part of the nervous system In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living orga ...

amphetamine
Benzedrine Amphetamine (contracted from alpha- methylphenethylamine) is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant Stimulants (also often referred to as psychostimulants or colloquially as uppers) is an overarching term that covers many drugs including ...
to fight fatigue. The drug helped her to work long hours to meet her deadline for delivering the novel, but afterwards she was so exhausted that her doctor ordered two weeks' rest. Her use of the drug for approximately three decades may have contributed to what some of her later associates described as volatile mood swings. ''The Fountainhead'' became a worldwide success, bringing Rand fame and financial security. In 1943, Rand sold the rights for a film version to
Warner Bros. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (commonly known as Warner Bros. and abbreviated as WB) is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Warner Bros. Studios complex in Burbank, California ...
and she returned to Hollywood to write the screenplay. Finishing her work on that screenplay, she was hired by producer
Hal B. Wallis Harold Brent Wallis (born Aaron Blum Wolowicz; October 19, 1898 – October 5, 1986) was an American film producer A film producer is a person who oversees film production. Either employed by a production company or working Independent film, in ...
as a screenwriter and script-doctor. Her work for Wallis included the screenplays for the
Oscar Oscar, OSCAR, or The Oscar may refer to: People * Oscar (given name) Oscar or Oskar is a masculine given name of Irish origin. Etymology The name is derived from two elements in Irish: the first, ''os'', means "deer"; the second element, ' ...

Oscar
-nominated ''
Love Letters '' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1669-70 Image:Simonetti - Rothaarige Frau öffnet gespannt den Liebesbrief.jpg, upright=1.2, ''Opening a love letter'' by Amedeo Simonetti A love letter is an expression of love in written form. However delivered, the ...
'' and ''
You Came Along ''You Came Along'' (working title ''Don't Ever Grieve Me'') is a 1945 romantic comedy-drama film set in World War II, directed by John Farrow. The original Robert Smith screenplay was rewritten by Ayn Rand. ''You Came Along'' stars Robert Cumming ...
''. Rand also worked on other projects, including a planned nonfiction treatment of her philosophy to be called ''The Moral Basis of Individualism''. Although the planned book was never completed, a condensed version was published as an essay titled "The Only Path to Tomorrow" in the January 1944 edition of ''
Reader's Digest ''Reader's Digest'' is an American general-interest family magazine A magazine is a periodical literature, periodical publication which is printing, printed in Coated paper, gloss-coated and Paint sheen, matte paper. Magazines are generall ...
'' magazine. Rand extended her involvement with free-market and
anti-communist Anti-communism is a political movement and ideology opposed to communism. Organized anti-communism developed after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and it reached global dimensions during the Cold War, when the United States and the Soviet U ...

anti-communist
activism while working in Hollywood. She became involved with the
Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (MPAPAI, also MPA) was an American organization of high-profile, politically conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting t ...
, a Hollywood anti-Communist group, and wrote articles on the group's behalf. She also joined the anti-Communist American Writers Association. A visit by Isabel Paterson to meet with Rand's California associates led to a final falling out between the two when Paterson made comments, which Rand considered rude, to valued political allies. In 1947, during the
Second Red Scare McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion Subversion (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken ...
, Rand testified as a "friendly witness" before the United States
House Un-American Activities Committee The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HCUA), popularly dubbed the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), and from 1969 onwards known as the House Committee on Internal Security, was an investigative United States Congressional c ...
. Her testimony described the disparity between her personal experiences in the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
and the portrayal of it in the 1944 film ''
Song of Russia ''Song of Russia'' is a 1944 American war film War film is a film genre concerned with warfare, typically about naval, air, or land Land is the solid surface of the Earth that is not permanently covered by water. The vast majorit ...
''. Rand argued that the film grossly misrepresented conditions in the Soviet Union, portraying life there as much better and happier than it actually was. She wanted to also criticize the lauded 1946 film ''
The Best Years of Our Lives ''The Best Years of Our Lives'' (aka ''Glory for Me'' and ''Home Again'') is a 1946 American Epic film, epic Drama (film and television), drama film directed by William Wyler, and starring Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, ...
'' for what she interpreted as its negative presentation of the business world, but she was not allowed to testify about it. When asked after the hearings about her feelings on the effectiveness of the investigations, Rand described the process as "futile". After several delays, the film version of ''The Fountainhead'' was released in 1949. Although it used Rand's screenplay with minimal alterations, she "disliked the movie from beginning to end", and complained about its editing, acting, and other elements.


''Atlas Shrugged'' and Objectivism

In the years following the publication of ''The Fountainhead'', Rand received numerous letters from readers, some of whom the book profoundly influenced. In 1951, Rand moved from Los Angeles to New York City, where she gathered a group of these admirers around her. This group (jokingly designated "The Collective") included future
Chair of the Federal Reserve The chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is the head of the Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve System (also known as the Federal Reserve or simply the Fed) is the central banking system of the United States of Am ...
Alan Greenspan, a young psychology student named Nathan Blumenthal (later Nathaniel Branden) and his wife Barbara Branden, Barbara, and Barbara's cousin Leonard Peikoff. Initially the group was an informal gathering of friends who met with Rand on weekends at her apartment to discuss philosophy. She later began allowing them to read the drafts of her new novel, ''Atlas Shrugged'', as the manuscript pages were written. In 1954, Rand's close relationship with the younger Nathaniel Branden turned into a romantic affair, with the "grudging consent" of their spouses. ''Atlas Shrugged'', published in 1957, was considered Rand's ''masterpiece, magnum opus''. Rand described the theme of the novel as "the role of the mind in man's existence—and, as a corollary, the demonstration of a new moral philosophy: the morality of rational self-interest". It advocates the core tenets of Rand's philosophy of
Objectivism Objectivism is a philosophical system developed by Russian Americans, Russian-American writer Ayn Rand. Rand first expressed Objectivism in her fiction, most notably ''The Fountainhead'' (1943) and ''Atlas Shrugged'' (1957), and later in non-fict ...
and expresses her concept of human achievement. The plot involves a dystopian United States in which the most creative industrialists, scientists, and artists respond to a welfare state government by going on Strike action, strike and retreating to a mountainous hideaway where they build an independent free economy. The novel's hero and leader of the strike, John Galt, describes the strike as "stopping the motor of the world" by withdrawing the minds of the individuals most contributing to the nation's wealth and achievement. With this fictional strike, Rand intended to illustrate that without the efforts of the rational and productive, the economy would collapse and society would fall apart. The novel includes elements of Mystery fiction, mystery, romance, and science fiction, and it contains an extended exposition of Objectivism in the form of a lengthy monologue delivered by Galt. Despite many negative reviews, ''Atlas Shrugged'' became an international bestseller. In an interview with Mike Wallace, Rand declared herself "the most creative thinker alive". However, Rand was discouraged and depressed by the reaction of intellectuals to the novel. ''Atlas Shrugged'' was Rand's last completed work of fiction; it marked the end of her career as a novelist and the beginning of her role as a popular philosopher.; ; . In 1958, Nathaniel Branden established Nathaniel Branden Lectures, later incorporated as the Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI), to promote Rand's philosophy. Collective members gave lectures for NBI and wrote articles for Objectivist periodicals that she edited. Rand later published some of these articles in book form. Critics, including some former NBI students and Branden himself, later described the culture of NBI as one of intellectual conformity and excessive reverence for Rand, with some describing NBI or the
Objectivist movement The Objectivist movement is a movement of individuals who seek to study and advance Objectivism, the philosophy expounded by novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand. The movement began informally in the 1950s and consisted of students who were brought to ...
itself as a cult or religion. Rand expressed opinions on a wide range of topics, from literature and music to sexuality and facial hair, and some of her followers mimicked her preferences, wearing clothes to match characters from her novels and buying furniture like hers. However, some former NBI students believed the extent of these behaviors was exaggerated, and the problem was concentrated among Rand's closest followers in New York. Rand was unimpressed with many of the NBI students and held them to strict standards, sometimes reacting coldly or angrily to those who disagreed with her.


Later years

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Rand developed and promoted her Objectivist philosophy through her nonfiction works and by giving talks to students at institutions such as Yale, Princeton University, Princeton, Columbia University, Columbia, Harvard, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She received an Honorary degree, honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Doctorate of Humane Letters from Lewis & Clark College on October 2, 1963. She also began delivering annual lectures at the Ford Hall Forum, responding afterward to questions from the audience. During these speeches and Q&A sessions, she often took controversial stances on political and social issues of the day. These included supporting abortion rights, opposing the Vietnam War and the military draft (but condemning many draft dodgers as "bums"), supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 against a coalition of Arab nations as "civilized men fighting savages", saying European colonization of the Americas, European colonists had the right to develop land taken from Indigenous peoples of the Americas, American Indians, and calling homosexuality "immoral" and "disgusting", while also advocating the repeal of all laws about it. She also endorsed several Republican Party (United States), Republican candidates for President of the United States, most strongly Barry Goldwater in 1964 United States presidential election, 1964, whose candidacy she promoted in several articles for ''The Objectivist Newsletter''. In 1964, Nathaniel Branden began an affair with the young actress Patrecia Scott, whom he later married. Nathaniel and Barbara Branden kept the affair hidden from Rand. When she learned of it in 1968, though her romantic relationship with Branden had already ended, Rand terminated her relationship with both Brandens, which led to the closure of NBI. Rand published an article in ''The Objectivist'' repudiating Nathaniel Branden for dishonesty and other "irrational behavior in his private life". In subsequent years, Rand and several more of her closest associates parted company. Rand underwent surgery for lung cancer in 1974 after decades of heavy smoking. In 1976, she retired from writing her newsletter and, after her initial objections, she allowed social worker Evva Pryor, an employee of her attorney, to enroll her in Social Security (United States), Social Security and Medicare (United States), Medicare. During the late 1970s her activities within the Objectivist movement declined, especially after the death of her husband on November 9, 1979. One of her final projects was work on a never-completed television adaptation of ''Atlas Shrugged''. Rand died of heart failure on March 6, 1982, at her home in New York City, and was interred in the Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, New York. Rand's funeral was attended by some of her prominent followers, including Alan Greenspan. A floral arrangement in the shape of a dollar sign was placed near her casket. In her will, Rand named Leonard Peikoff to inherit her estate.


Philosophy

Rand called her philosophy "Objectivism", describing its essence as "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". She considered Objectivism a systematic philosophy and laid out positions on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics. In metaphysics, Rand supported philosophical realism, and opposed anything she regarded as mysticism or supernaturalism, including all forms of religion. In epistemology, she considered all knowledge to be based on sense perception, the validity of which she considered axiomatic, and
reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek ...
, which she described as "the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses". She rejected all claims of non-perceptual or ''A priori and a posteriori, a priori'' knowledge, including instinct,' 'intuition,' 'revelation,' or any form of 'just knowing. In her ''Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology'', Rand presented a theory of concept formation and rejected the analytic–synthetic dichotomy. In ethics, Rand argued for
rational Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογι ...
and
ethical egoism Ethical egoism is the normative ethics, normative ethical position that Moral agency, moral agents ought to act in their own self-interest. It differs from psychological egoism, which claims that people can only act in their self-interest. Ethic ...
(rational self-interest), as the guiding moral principle. She said the individual should "exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself". She referred to egoism as "the virtue of selfishness" in her The Virtue of Selfishness, book of that title,. in which she presented her solution to the is-ought problem by describing a meta-ethical theory that based morality in the needs of "man's survival ''qua'' man". She condemned ethical altruism as incompatible with the requirements of human life and happiness, and held that the
initiation of force The non-aggression principle (NAP), also called the non-aggression axiom, is a concept in which "aggression", defined as initiating or threatening any forceful interference with either an individual or their property,Within the context of the NAP, ...
was evil and irrational, writing in ''Atlas Shrugged'' that "Force and mind are opposites." Rand's political philosophy emphasized
individual rights Group rights, also known as collective rights, are rights held by a group ''wikt:qua, qua'' a group rather than by its members severally; in contrast, individual rights are rights held by Individuality, individual people; even if they are group-d ...
(including Private property, property rights), and she considered ''
laissez-faire ''Laissez-faire'' ( ; from french: laissez faire , ) is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects hav ...
''
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea o ...

capitalism
the only moral social system because in her view it was the only system based on the protection of those rights. She opposed
statism In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, political activities, political thoughts, political behavior, and as ...
, which she understood to include theocracy, absolute monarchy, Nazism, fascism, communism, democratic socialism, and dictatorship. Rand believed that natural rights should be protected by a constitutionally limited government. Although her political views are often classified as Conservatism in the United States, conservative or libertarian, she preferred the term "radical for capitalism". She worked with conservatives on political projects, but disagreed with them over issues such as religion and ethics. She denounced libertarianism, which she associated with
anarchism Anarchism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...

anarchism
. She rejected anarchism as a naïve theory based in subjectivism that could only lead to collectivism in practice. In aesthetics, Rand defined art as a "selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments". According to her, art allows philosophical concepts to be presented in a concrete form that can be easily grasped, thereby fulfilling a need of human consciousness. As a writer, the art form Rand focused on most closely was literature, where she considered romanticism to be the approach that most accurately reflected the existence of human free will. She described her own approach to literature as "
romantic realismRomantic realism is art that combines elements of both romanticism and realism. The terms "romanticism" and "realism" have been used in varied ways, and are sometimes seen as opposed to one another. In literature and art The term has long standin ...
". Rand acknowledged
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
as her greatest influence and remarked that in the history of philosophy she could only recommend "three A's"—Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas, and Ayn Rand.. In a 1959 interview with Mike Wallace, when asked where her philosophy came from she responded: "Out of my own mind, with the sole acknowledgement of a debt to Aristotle, the only philosopher who ever influenced me. I devised the rest of my philosophy myself." However, she also found early inspiration in
Friedrich Nietzsche Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (; or ; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as thos ...

Friedrich Nietzsche
, and scholars have found indications of his influence in early notes from Rand's journals, in passages from the first edition of ''We the Living'' (which Rand later revised), and in her overall writing style. However, by the time she wrote ''The Fountainhead'', Rand had turned against Nietzsche's ideas, and the extent of his influence on her even during her early years is disputed. Rand considered her philosophical opposite to be Immanuel Kant, whom she referred to as "the most evil man in mankind's history", primarily for his philosophy regarding the limitations of reason. Rand said her most important contributions to philosophy were her "theory of concepts, ethics, and discovery in politics that evil—the violation of rights—consists of the initiation of force". She believed epistemology was a foundational branch of philosophy and considered the advocacy of reason to be the single most significant aspect of her philosophy, stating: "I am not ''primarily'' an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not ''primarily'' an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows."


Reception and legacy


Critical reception

During Rand's lifetime, her work evoked both extreme praise and condemnation. Rand's first novel, ''We the Living'', was admired by the literary critic H. L. Mencken, her Broadway play ''Night of January 16th'' was both a critical and popular success,. and ''The Fountainhead'' was hailed by ''The New York Times'' reviewer Lorine Pruette as "masterful". Reprinted in Rand's novels were derided by some critics when they were first published as being long and melodramatic. However, they became bestsellers largely through word of mouth. The first reviews Rand received were for ''Night of January 16th''. Reviews of the production were largely positive, but Rand considered even positive reviews to be embarrassing because of significant changes made to her script by the producer. Rand believed that her first novel, ''We the Living'', was not widely reviewed, but Rand scholar Michael S. Berliner writes "it was the most reviewed of any of her works", with approximately 125 different reviews being published in more than 200 publications. Overall these reviews were more positive than the reviews she received for her later work. Her 1938 novella ''Anthem'' received little attention from reviewers, both for its first publication in England and for subsequent re-issues. Rand's first bestseller, ''The Fountainhead'', received far fewer reviews than ''We the Living'', and reviewers' opinions were mixed.Berliner, Michael S. "''The Fountainhead'' Reviews". In . Lorine Pruette's positive review in ''The New York Times'' was one that Rand greatly appreciated. Pruette called Rand "a writer of great power" who wrote "brilliantly, beautifully and bitterly", and stated that "you will not be able to read this masterful book without thinking through some of the basic concepts of our time". There were other positive reviews, but Rand dismissed most of them as either not understanding her message or as being from unimportant publications. Some negative reviews focused on the length of the novel, such as one that called it "a whale of a book" and another that said "anyone who is taken in by it deserves a stern lecture on paper-rationing". Other negative reviews called the characters unsympathetic and Rand's style "offensively pedestrian". Rand's 1957 novel ''Atlas Shrugged'' was widely reviewed and many of the reviews were strongly negative.Berliner, Michael S. "The ''Atlas Shrugged'' Reviews". In . In ''National Review'', conservative author Whittaker Chambers called the book "sophomoric" and "remarkably silly". He described the tone of the book as "shrillness without reprieve" and accused Rand of supporting a godless system (which he related to that of the Religion in the Soviet Union, Soviets), claiming "From almost any page of ''Atlas Shrugged'', a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: 'To a gas chamber—go!. ''Atlas Shrugged'' received positive reviews from a few publications, including praise from the noted book reviewer John Chamberlain (journalist), John Chamberlain, but Rand scholar Mimi Reisel Gladstein later wrote that "reviewers seemed to vie with each other in a contest to devise the cleverest put-downs", calling it "execrable claptrap" and "a nightmare"—they also said it was "written out of hate" and showed "remorseless hectoring and prolixity". Rand's nonfiction received far fewer reviews than her novels had. The tenor of the criticism for her first nonfiction book, ''For the New Intellectual'', was similar to that for ''Atlas Shrugged'',. with philosopher Sidney Hook likening her certainty to "the way philosophy is written in the Soviet Union", and author Gore Vidal calling her viewpoint "nearly perfect in its immorality". Her subsequent books got progressively less attention from reviewers. In 2005, on the 100th anniversary of Rand's birth, Edward Rothstein, writing for ''The New York Times'', referred to her fictional writing as quaint utopian "retro fantasy" and programmatic neo-Romanticism of the misunderstood artist while criticizing her characters' "isolated rejection of democratic society". In 2007, book critic Leslie Clark described her fiction as "romance novels with a patina of pseudo-philosophy". In 2009, ''GQ''s critic columnist Tom Carson described her books as "capitalism's version of middlebrow religious novels" such as ''Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, Ben-Hur'' and the ''Left Behind'' series. Reviewing the posthumously published novel Ideal (novel), ''Ideal'', ''The New York Times'' chief book critic Michiko Kakutani assessed Rand's "didactic, ideological work" as stylistically having a great deal "in common with the message-minded socialist realism produced in the Soviet Union, which she left in the mid-1920s and vociferously denounced".


Popular interest

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 (with about 10% of that total purchased for free distribution to schools by the Ayn Rand Institute). 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 contemporary admirers included fellow novelists, such as Ira Levin, Kay Nolte Smith and L. Neil Smith; and later writers such as Erika Holzer and Terry Goodkind have been influenced by her. Other artists who have cited Rand as an important influence on their lives and thought include comic book artist Steve Ditko and musician Neil Peart of Rush (band), Rush, although he later distanced himself. Rand provided a positive view of business and subsequently many business executives and entrepreneurs have admired and promoted her work. John A. Allison IV, John Allison of BB&T and Ed Snider of Comcast Spectacor have funded the promotion of Rand's ideas, while Mark Cuban (owner of the Dallas Mavericks) as well as John P. Mackey (CEO of Whole Foods) among others have said they consider Rand crucial to their success. Rand and her works have been referred to in a variety of media: on television shows including animated sitcoms, live-action comedies, dramas, and game shows, as well as in movies and video games. She, or a character based on her, figures prominently (in positive and negative lights) in literary and science fiction novels by prominent American authors. One such depiction is found in the character Anna Granite with her philosophy of Definitivism in Mary Gaitskill's 1991 novel ''Two Girls, Fat and Thin''. Nick Gillespie, editor in chief of ''Reason (magazine), Reason'', has remarked that "Rand's is a tortured immortality, one in which she's as likely to be a punch line as a protagonist..." and that "jibes at Rand as cold and inhuman, run through the popular culture". Two movies have been made about Rand's life. A 1997 documentary film, ''Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life'', was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. ''The Passion of Ayn Rand (film), The Passion of Ayn Rand'', a 1999 television adaptation of the The Passion of Ayn Rand (book), book of the same name, won several awards.. Rand's image also appears on a List of people on stamps of the United States#R, 1999 Postage stamps and postal history of the United States, U.S. postage stamp illustrated by artist Nick Gaetano. A satirical film by artist and scholar Zach Blas called ''Jubilee 2033,'' exhibited primarily in art galleries and museums, features a young Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan traveling through time to visit a dystopian Silicon Valley, whose success and ruin is attributed to Rand's technologist followers such as Peter Thiel.


Political influence

Although she rejected the labels "conservative" and "libertarian", Rand has had continuing influence on right-wing politics and libertarianism. Jim Powell (historian), Jim Powell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, considers Rand one of the three most important women (along with Rose Wilder Lane and Isabel Paterson) of modern American libertarianism, and David Nolan (libertarian), David Nolan, one of the founders of the Libertarian Party (United States), Libertarian Party, stated that "without Ayn Rand, the libertarian movement would not exist". In his history of the libertarian movement, journalist Brian Doherty (journalist), Brian Doherty described her as "the most influential libertarian of the twentieth century to the public at large" and biographer Jennifer Burns referred to her as "the ultimate gateway drug to life on the right". Economist and Ayn Rand student George Reisman wrote: "Ayn Rand...in particular, must be cited as providing a philosophical foundation for the case of capitalism, and as being responsible probably more than anyone else for the current spread of pro-capitalist ideas." She faced intense opposition from William F. Buckley Jr. and other contributors for the ''National Review'' magazine. They published numerous criticisms in the 1950s and 1960s by Whittaker Chambers, Garry Wills, and M. Stanton Evans. Nevertheless, her influence among conservatives forced Buckley and other ''National Review'' contributors to reconsider how traditional notions of virtue and Christianity could be integrated with support for capitalism. The political figures who cite Rand as an influence are usually conservatives (often members of the Republican Party), despite Rand taking some positions that are atypical for conservatives, such as being pro-choice and an atheist. A 1987 article in ''The New York Times'' referred to her as the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, Reagan administration's "novelist laureate". Republican United States Congress, Congressmen and conservative pundits have acknowledged her influence on their lives and have recommended her novels. The financial crisis of 2007–2008 spurred renewed interest in her works, especially ''Atlas Shrugged'', which some saw as foreshadowing the crisis. Opinion articles compared real-world events with the plot of the novel. During this time, signs mentioning Rand and her fictional hero John Galt appeared at Tea Party protests. There was also increased criticism of her ideas, especially from the political left, with critics blaming the economic crisis on her support of Rational egoism#Ayn Rand, selfishness and free markets, particularly through her influence on Alan Greenspan. For example, ''Mother Jones (magazine), Mother Jones'' remarked that "Rand's particular genius has always been her ability to turn upside down traditional hierarchies and recast the wealthy, the talented, and the powerful as the oppressed" while equating Randian individual well-being with that of the ''Volk'' according to Goebbels. Corey Robin of ''The Nation'' alleged similarities between the "moral syntax of Randianism" and fascism.


Academic reaction


Scholarly reception during Rand's lifetime

During Rand's lifetime, her work received little attention from academic scholars. When the first academic book about Rand's philosophy appeared in 1971, its author declared writing about Rand "a treacherous undertaking" that could lead to "guilt by association" for taking her seriously. A few articles about Rand's ideas appeared in academic journals before her death in 1982, many of them in ''The Personalist''.. One of these was "On the Randian Argument" by libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick, who argued that her meta-ethical argument is unsound and fails to solve the is–ought problem posed by David Hume. Other philosophers, writing in the same publication, argued that Nozick misstated Rand's case. Academic consideration of Rand as a literary figure during her life was even more limited. Academic Mimi Gladstein was unable to find any scholarly articles about Rand's novels when she began researching her in 1973, and only three such articles appeared during the rest of the 1970s.


Posthumous overall assessments

Since Rand's death, interest in her work has gradually increased. In 2009, historian Jennifer Burns (writer), Jennifer Burns identified "three overlapping waves" of scholarly interest in Rand, including "an explosion of scholarship" since the year 2000. However, as of that same year, few universities included Rand or Objectivism as a philosophical specialty or research area, with many literature and philosophy departments dismissing her as a pop culture phenomenon rather than a subject for serious study. Writing in the 1998 edition of the ''Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy'', political theorist Chandran Kukathas summarizes the mainstream philosophical reception to her work in two parts. Her ethical argument, he says, is viewed by most commentators as an unconvincing variant of Aristotle's ethics. Her political theory, he says, "is of little interest", marred by an "ill-thought out and unsystematic" effort to reconcile her hostility to the state with her rejection of anarchism. Libertarian philosopher Michael Huemer argues that very few people find Rand's ideas convincing, especially her ethics, which he believes are difficult to interpret and may lack logical coherence. He attributes the attention she receives to her being a "compelling writer", especially as a novelist, noting that ''Atlas Shrugged'' outsells Rand's non-fiction works as well as the works of other philosophers of classical liberalism such as
Ludwig von Mises Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises (; 29 September 1881 – 10 October 1973) was an Austrian School economist, historian, logician, and Sociology, sociologist. Mises wrote and lectured extensively on the societal contributions of classical liberal ...

Ludwig von Mises
, Friedrich Hayek, or Frederic Bastiat. Several critics claim that the 1863 novel "What Is to Be Done? (novel), What Is to Be Done?" by Russian author Nikolay Chernyshevsky is an embodiment of rational egoism and one of the sources of inspiration for Rand's thought. For example, the book's main character Lopuhov says "I am not a man to make sacrifices. And indeed there are no such things. One acts in the way that one finds most pleasant." Regarding Rand's particular disdain for the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, philosophers George Walsh. and Fred Seddon have argued that she misinterpreted Kant and exaggerated their differences. Political scientist Charles Murray (political scientist), Charles Murray, while praising Rand's literary accomplishments, criticizes her claim that her only "philosophical debt" was to Aristotle, instead asserting that her ideas were derivative of previous thinkers such as John Locke and
Friedrich Nietzsche Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (; or ; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as thos ...

Friedrich Nietzsche
. Although Rand maintained that Objectivism was an integrated philosophical system, philosopher Robert H. Bass argues that her central ethical ideas are inconsistent and contradictory to her central political ideas. In the ''The Literary Encyclopedia (English), Literary Encyclopedia'' entry for Rand written in 2001, John David Lewis declared that "Rand wrote the most intellectually challenging fiction of her generation".


Rand-specific scholarship

Some scholars focus specifically on Rand's work. In 1987 Allan Gotthelf, George Walsh and David Kelley co-founded the Ayn Rand Society, a group affiliated with the American Philosophical Association. Gladstein, Harry Binswanger, Allan Gotthelf, John Hospers, Edwin A. Locke, Wallace Matson, Leonard Peikoff, Chris Matthew Sciabarra, and Tara Smith (philosopher), Tara Smith have taught her work in academic institutions. Sciabarra co-edits the ''Journal of Ayn Rand Studies'', a nonpartisan peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the study of Rand's philosophical and literary work. In a 1999 interview in the ''Chronicle of Higher Education'', Sciabarra commented, "I know they laugh at Rand", while forecasting a growth of interest in her work in the academic community. In 2012, the University of Pittsburgh Press launched an "Ayn Rand Society Philosophical Studies" series based on the proceedings of the Society. Smith has written several academic books and papers on Rand's ideas, including ''Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist'', a volume on Rand's ethical theory published by Cambridge University Press. Rand's ideas have also been made subjects of study at Clemson University, Clemson and Duke University, Duke universities. Scholars of English and American literature have largely ignored her work, although attention to her literary work has increased since the 1990s. Rand scholars Douglas Den Uyl and Douglas B. Rasmussen, while stressing the importance and originality of her thought, describe her style as "literary, hyperbolic and emotional". Political writer and Rand scholar Jack Wheeler writes that despite "the incessant bombast and continuous venting of Randian rage", Rand's ethics are "a most immense achievement, the study of which is vastly more fruitful than any other in contemporary thought".


Objectivist movement

In 1985, Rand's intellectual heir, Leonard Peikoff, established the Ayn Rand Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Rand's ideas and works. In 1990, after an ideological disagreement with Peikoff, 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. The charitable foundation of BB&T Corporation has also given grants for teaching Rand's ideas or works. The University of Texas at Austin, the University of Pittsburgh, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are among the schools that have received grants. In some cases, these grants have been controversial due to their requiring research or teaching related to Rand.; .


Selected works

Novels: * 1936 ''
We the Living ''We the Living'' is the debut novel of the Russian American novelist Ayn Rand. It is a story of life in post-revolutionary Russia and was Rand's first statement against communism Communism (from Latin la, communis, lit=common, univer ...
'' * 1943 ''
The Fountainhead ''The Fountainhead'' is a 1943 novel by Russian-American author Ayn Rand, her first major literary success. The novel's protagonist, Howard Roark, is an intransigent young architect, who battles against conventional standards and refuses to compr ...
'' * 1957 ''
Atlas Shrugged ''Atlas Shrugged'' is a 1957 novel by Ayn Rand. Rand's fourth and final novel, it was also her longest, and the one she considered to be her '' magnum opus'' in the realm of fiction Fiction generally is a narrative form, in any media (communic ...
'' Other fiction: * 1934 ''
Night of January 16th ''Night of January 16th'' is a theatrical play by Russian-American author Ayn Rand, inspired by the death of the "Match King", Ivar Kreuger. Set in a courtroom during a murder trial, an unusual feature of the play is that members of the aud ...
'' * 1938 ''
Anthem An anthem is a of , usually used as a symbol for a distinct group, particularly the s of . Originally, and in and religious contexts, it also refers more particularly to short sacred (still frequently seen in and other types of singing) and s ...
'' * 2015 ''
Ideal Ideal may refer to: Philosophy * Ideal (ethics) An ideal is a principle A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting ...
'' Non-fiction: * 1961 ''For the New Intellectual'' * 1964 ''The Virtue of Selfishness'' * 1966 ''Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal'' * 1969 ''The Romantic Manifesto'' * 1971 ''The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution'' * 1979 ''Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology'' * 1982 ''Philosophy: Who Needs It''


See also

* List of people influenced by Ayn Rand * ''Letters of Ayn Rand'' * ''Journals of Ayn Rand'' * Murder of Marion Parker * ''A Theory of Justice: The Musical!''


Notes


References


Works cited

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links

*
Frequently Asked Questions About Ayn Rand
from the Ayn Rand Institute * * *
Rand's papers at The Library of Congress

Ayn Rand Lexicon
– searchable database * * * *
"Writings of Ayn Rand"
– from C-SPAN's ''American Writers: A Journey Through History'' {{DEFAULTSORT:Rand, Ayn Ayn Rand, 1905 births 1982 deaths Writers from Saint Petersburg Writers from New York City 20th-century American dramatists and playwrights 20th-century American novelists 20th-century American philosophers 20th-century American women writers 20th-century atheists 20th-century essayists 20th-century Russian philosophers Activists from New York (state) American abortion-rights activists American anti-communists American anti-fascists American atheists American atheist writers American essayists American ethicists American people of Russian-Jewish descent American political activists American political philosophers American science fiction writers American women activists American women dramatists and playwrights American women essayists American women novelists American women philosophers American women screenwriters American secularists American writers of Russian descent Aristotelian philosophers Atheist philosophers Critics of Marxism Epistemologists Exophonic writers Female critics of feminism Atheists of the Russian Empire Jews of the Russian Empire Jewish American dramatists and playwrights Jewish American novelists Jewish activists Jewish anti-communists Jewish anti-fascists Jewish atheists Jewish philosophers Jewish women writers Metaphysicians Novelists from New York (state) Objectivists Old Right (United States) People of the New Deal arts projects People with acquired American citizenship Philosophers from New York (state) Political philosophers Pseudonymous women writers Pseudonymous writers Dramatists and playwrights of the Russian Empire Saint Petersburg State University alumni Screenwriters from New York (state) Soviet emigrants to the United States Women science fiction and fantasy writers Burials at Kensico Cemetery