Ayn Rand

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Ayn Rand

Cut Signature Framed

Fine light autograph, likely clipped from a letter, framed with a lovely photograph of the author.

Ayn Rand (1905-1982), was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her best-selling novels and for developing a philosophical system called Objectivism. Born and educated in Russia, Rand emigrated to the United States in 1926. She worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood and had a play produced on Broadway in 1932. She first achieved fame with The Fountainhead (1943), and her best-known work—the philosophical novel Atlas Shrugged—was published in 1957.

Her political views, reflected in both her fiction and her theoretical work, emphasize individualism, laissez-faire capitalism, and the constitutional protection of the right to life, liberty, and property. She was a fierce opponent of all forms of collectivism and statism, including fascism, communism, and the welfare state.

Rand’s first major success came with The Fountainhead in 1943, a romantic drama and philosophical novel that she wrote over a period of seven years. The novel centers around 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 self. It was rejected by twelve publishers before finally being accepted by the Bobbs-Merrill Company on the insistence of editorial board member Archibald Ogden. The novel was adapted as a film in 1949, produced by Warner Brothers, starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, with the screenplay written by Rand herself. She had already written screenplays for two other Hollywood movies, Love Letters and You Came Along. The Fountainhead eventually became a worldwide success, bringing Rand fame and financial security. It continues to sell about 100,000 copies per year.

Rand’s magnum opus, the 1,100-page Atlas Shrugged, was published in 1957. Because of the success of The Fountainhead, the initial print run was 100,000 copies, and the book went on to become an international bestseller, with many interviewees citing it as the book that most influenced them. It currently sells almost 200,000 copies annually. The theme of Atlas Shrugged is the morality of rational self-interest. It advocates the core tenets of Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism and expresses her idea of human greatness. The plot involves a dystopian United States in which industrialists and other creative individuals go on strike and retreat to a mountainous hideaway where they build an independent free economy. The hero, John Galt, describes the strike as “stopping the motor of the world” by withdrawing the people that Rand saw as contributing the most to the nation’s productivity and creativity. With their strike, they aim to demonstrate that, without “the men of the mind,” the economy would collapse and society would fall apart. The novel includes elements of mystery and science fiction, and contains Rand’s most extensive statement of Objectivism in any of her works of fiction, including a lengthy monologue delivered by John Galt.


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