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Raskolnikov

Ayn Rand

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I've never heard of Ayn Rand before.....what's her work like? Does it tend to be within a single genre? :friends0:

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Hello all,

I would like to read Ayn Rand whom has been a total discovery for me recently. Any starter?

 

Her novels are supposed to be turgid, and her philosophy is something I worked out for myself when I was fourteen. I don't think that any of us need to read a 1,000 page novel to be told that the sole purpose of our lives is to pursue happiness :friends0:

 

If you've read existential philosophy and have a basic knowledge of libertarianism, you don't need to waste your time with this. It just seems to me that a lot of time and energy has been wasted -- by far too many people -- on a philosopher whose work doesn't merit the attention. She's derided almost as much as Sartre -- and I know that you're not the biggest fan of his work.

Edited by Jay Landsman

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I've read a couple of hers, Raskolnikov. I read Anthem in high school, and although I don't remember the premise I do know that it's not as large and daunting as Rand's other works. Maybe you could start with that? I also read Fountainhead, which will forever be on my favorites list :friends0:.

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I also read Fountainhead, which will forever be on my favorites list :friends0:.

 

This is music to my ears :D It's on one (maybe two?) of my reading challenges and I really want to like it :lol:

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This is music to my ears :friends0: It's on one (maybe two?) of my reading challenges and I really want to like it :D

 

Oooh I hope you like it too, Frankie!! When I read it the first time, my dad was reading it as well, although his was a re-read. We talked about it a lot though and really got into the architecture part of the plot, so all those things contribute to it being on my favorites list :lol:. You'll have to let me know what you think of it when you get to reading it!

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Will do, peacefield! :D (So nice that your father and you were reading the same book at the same time, this never happens in my family... :friends0:)

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The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are entirely the same, except for the gender of the protagonist, and the industry which they represent. Objectivism(her philosophy) is strict libertarianism which abhors a collectivist society and collectivist morality(i.e.-organized religion) which keeps man from achieving his/her true potential. Think of her as a libertarian Steinbeck and you pretty much have it right there in a nutshell. The only difference being-Steinbeck broadened his work out to other things such as The winter of our discontent and other works which weren't just ideological fiction pieces. Rand's other works aren't that well acknowledged, or different.

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I saw Ayn Rand being interviewed on tv (mid-sixties) shortly after I had finished Atlas Shrugged, which I enjoyed despite its length. She came across as such a hateful, bitter person that I never had an urge to read anything else she wrote.

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I have read Anthem, which is a reasonably short dystopian.

 

I've had Atlas Shrugged for a while, but I find it incredibly daunting so it is likely to remain on my TBR pile for quite some time yet. For those of you who have read it, is it a hard read, or is it reasonably easy to get through?

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You're a bunch of lightweights. I read through all of her books during 2008 and '09, and the only lasting impression those works made on me was a headache and the feeling that Objectivism is overrated.

 

The Romantic Manifesto is probably the most turgid, overwritten book ever published, while For the New Intellectual lacks any redeeming features. All IMHO, of course.

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Lets not forget Terry Goodkind regards her as a genius. Which could explain some of his books.

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I have two of her books on my tbr - The Fountainhead, which someone recommended to me, and We The Living. I haven't got around to reading them yet, and I can't honestly see me finding the inclination to read either of them in the near future. Bought on a whim, I think!

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I read all 4 novels of Ayn Rand and I liked them a lot. I think the key to this is to try to not get to caught up with the philosophical part of the novels. Like someone mention The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are pretty similar so I would recomed reading them with some time between them. Anthem is probably the lightest of her novel and We the Living for some really strange reason reminded me a bit of Dr. Zhivago (the movie I must confess since I haven't read the novel). We the Living is probably the novel that has less philosophy in it if you prefer to avoid that aspect.

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I've just re-read this thread and it's a shame that so many people dislike Ayn Rand's books.

 

I agree that the philosophy is simple, but how many of us actually follow it? It's one thing to know it, but another thing entirely to put it into practice.

 

Anyway, I'm really enjoying Atlas Shrugged, although I'll admit it could do with a bit of editing.

 

The comment on her works not being well-acknowledged is also interesting, because apparently there is a lot of interest in Atlas Shrugged at the moment (in America at least). This year is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Atlas Shrugged, and apparently there's a movie in the making. It would be interesting to see how the philosophy could be squeezed into a movie. The plot is certainly interesting enough though.

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It's funny, Kylie, but with Rand people either seem to really love her works or hate them with a passion. I've not met many people who are in the middle. It's also interesting how some can't seem to separate the author from the novels, which I admit I'm guilty of sometimes, but I think a person can appreciate Ayn's philosophy without subscribing to it. It's like being a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright - he was an arrogant and rude man but IMO, a brilliant architect.

 

That was sort of a ramble, but I agree, it is too bad that so many dislike her. I had no idea they were considering a movie, Kylie, so I'll have to keep my eye out for it! :)

 

 

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Anyway, I'm really enjoying Atlas Shrugged, although I'll admit it could do with a bit of editing.

 

A magnificent understatement.

 

It could do with extensive editing. Here's my main problem with Rand - She drops off the main plot of her writing for extended and unnecessary authorial intrusions which exist solely for the purpose of expounding on her own political viewpoints. Not only that, she didn't even understand how her tracts affect the material nor her readers. She claimed in an interview that her beliefs were not based on any existing philosophical standpoints, yet she explicitly goes out of her way to link her works to contemporaneous movements which exhibit all the traits of Objectivism in varying degrees. The authors who took up her work and transformed it into the thing Objectivism became - which isn't entirely what she had in mind, remember - have had more effect on her standing that casual readers.

 

It's funny, Kylie, but with Rand people either seem to really love her works or hate them with a passion.

 

Actually, there are a lot of people who just don't give a damn. Once you've read the same argument rephrased a dozen times, it gets tired and predictable. It isn't that I hate her writing, it's that - by the time I had read through the books - I was tired of hearing the same things time and time again. There may or may not be a point to the viewpoints she espouses, though the way she presents the material is incomplete without a strong reason to accept - without hesitation - what the characters say. They are mouthpieces for her in the form she uses, and that (when compared to the way certain other philosophy-heavy writers use metaphor to get across their views) is increasingly obvious the more you read.

 

I may be in the minority on how boring I find the characters and plots, but I've read a lot of the material written in response to her as well as her novels. YMMV on the lasting impact of her work, but as an author - someone whose work entertains and / or educates - she is severely lacking.

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I thought the novel The Fountainhead was really awful. It seemed to me the only purpose for it was to convince people how smart Ayn Rand was and to preach her philosophy, which I do not care aboutr one way or another but I thought it was just a bad story.

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In every one of Rand's "novels," the characters are cardboard cut-outs spewing her "philosophy" from their mouths instead of any real dialogue. The one thing that could almost be admired about Rand's work is the strong female protagonists--until you realize that Rand apparently has

a rape fetish, and all of her female protagonists undergo sexual assault at some point during these novel

. It is deeply upsetting that Rand works this in to books that, while ineffective, are supposed to be about individuals achieving happiness by pursuing their own ends. It still surprises me that a woman was capable of writing exceedingly long novels on the subject of the value of human life, then

condoning sexual violence against women

and basically marginalizing women as underlings to the male protagonists.

Edited by frankie
added spoiler tags

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I don't think the

inclusion of rape scenes in her novels translates to condoning sexual violence against women!

 

 

I'm just curious, have you read all of Rand's novels?

Edited by frankie
added spoiler tags

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I agree, Kylie, I don't believe Rand was condoning that at all. I also didn't see her female characters as marginalized underlings, either.

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In every one of Rand's "novels," the characters are cardboard cut-outs spewing her "philosophy" from their mouths instead of any real dialogue.

Now THAT I agree with!

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I've put some things on Annalyn and Kylie's posts in spoiler tags. Please use them when discussing the plots in more detail, I for one haven't read the books and didn't want to know those things beforehand...

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