Atlas Shrugged…

I like to read things I disagree with – keeps me sharp.  Besides, if I’m going to condemn something, a movie, a book, a philosophy, I prefer to have dealt with the original.  Thus, I began this doorstop of a novel.  I’ve read short pieces by Ayn Rand, and found them lacking.  Fifty pages or so into this one, I had to stop.  The book is without any literary merit whatsoever.  Even that commie turned red baiter, Whittaker Chambers, reviewing it on publication said that to call it a novel was to “demean the term.”  Hey, he was right about Alger Hiss, too!

The one book that this writing reminds me of very strongly is What is To Be Done?  That too is without literary merit.  Ironic, isn’t it?  A book of right-wing libertarian cliches is the literary twin of the bible of the early Russian revolutionaries.  Both have characters of phantastic nobility, character, discipline and resolve.  Both are …

Well, read it if you can.

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6 Responses to Atlas Shrugged…

  1. I’ve read a few extended passages of Ayn Rand while browsing through bookshops, and that’s more than enough for me. It is deeply embarrassing that this can be thought of as quality literature. Apart from the morality of her politics, it is banal, sel-important gibberish.

    She is not a every well-known name in UK, but in India (which is where I am now for a couple of weeks) the bookshops are stacked high withher books. Ifind that a bit depressing.

  2. Lichanos says:

    It is deeply embarrassing that this can be thought of as quality literature.

    I guess you are using ’embarrassing’ in a figurative sense. To whom, that is? Anyway, it’s pretty depressing.

    You may not know it, but Alan Greenspan, the former Fed chairman, known as The Oracle, was a member of her inner circle.

  3. troutsky says:

    I have never heard it called quality literature, not even by her Objectivist devotees. Like What Can be Done, it is recognized as polemic through and through and the stacks in India indicate it’s ideological power.

    • Sadly, I *have* heard “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” referred to as “literary classics”.

      I think I feel embarrassed for those who take this kind of tripe seriously. I guess I am an idealist who likes to think of humans as essentially noble beings (“What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculty” etc.), and the discrepancy between this noble ideal and the reality of people taking Ayn Rand’s “philosophy” seriously does, I think, make me feel embarrassed.

  4. Ducky's here says:

    If you haven’t seen the film version of “The Fountainhead” it’s an absolute must. Great, great film and everyone had a ball right under The One’s nose as she hanged around set to make sure the script was faithfully followed.

    Great performance by Patricia Neal.

    The courtroom scene with Roark convincing the judge convincing a jury of his license to blow up a public building because it includes ornamentation he couldn’t approve — gold.

    Raymond Massey offing himself when he realizes Dominique belongs with the superior Roark … don’t miss this one.

  5. gfwt says:

    I would like to see The Fountainhead – and I hear it is (maybe) readable.

    I have not tackled Atlas Shrugged – maybe a Cliff Notes would be good for me – but I +did+ to to see the movie “Atlas Srugged – Part I”. You had to act quickly to do so, since it closed in NYC after just a few weeks – I went out to Forest Hills to see it, the last theater in NYC playing it.

    My friend and I thought it was a howl! Talk about a wooden dialogue – after we guessed right, out loud, two or three times what the next “pregnant with meaning” line was going to be, we just kind of gave in to open laughter, which I don’t generally like to do, but well, it was hard to control.

    Tastes will differ, but I found it hilariously baaaaaaad cinema!

    I’d love to find an essay by Alan Greenspan on just why Ayn Rand was so powerful. I think it was the idea that “complete freedom” would lead to “the most perfectly functioning economic state” — the man was a sort of utopian under that veneer of Wizard of Ozzery.

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