Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand (1957)

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 writing. Atlas Shrugged includes elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance, and it contains Rand’s most extensive statement of Objectivism in any of her works of fiction. The book depicts a dystopian United States in which private businesses suffer under increasingly burdensome laws and regulations. Railroad executive Dagny Taggart and her lover, steel magnate Hank Rearden, struggle against ‘looters’ who want to exploit their productivity. Dagny and Hank discover that a mysterious figure called John Galt is persuading other business leaders to abandon their companies and disappear as a ‘strike’ of productive individuals against the looters. The novel ends with the strikers planning to build a new capitalist society based on Galt’s philosophy of reason and individualism. The theme of Atlas Shrugged, as Rand described it, is ‘the role of man’s mind in existence’. The book explores a number of philosophical themes from which Rand would subsequently develop Objectivism. In doing so, it expresses the advocacy of reason, individualism, and capitalism, and depicts what Rand saw to be the failures of governmental coercion. … The story of Atlas Shrugged dramatically expresses Rand’s ethical egoism, her advocacy of ‘rational selfishness‘, whereby all of the principal virtues and vices are applications of the role of reason as man’s basic tool of survival (or a failure to apply it): rationality, honesty, justice, independence, integrity, productiveness, and pride. Rand’s characters often personify her view of the archetypes of various schools of philosophy for living and working in the world. … In addition to the plot’s more obvious statements about the significance of industrialists to society, and the sharp contrast to Marxism and the labor theory of value, this explicit conflict is used by Rand to draw wider philosophical conclusions, both implicit in the plot and via the characters’ own statements. Atlas Shrugged caricatures fascism, socialism, communism, and any state intervention in society, as allowing unproductive people to ‘leech’ the hard-earned wealth of the productive, and Rand contends that the outcome of any individual’s life is purely a function of its ability, and that any individual could overcome adverse circumstances, given ability and intelligence. …”
Wikipedia
W – Objectivism (Ayn Rand)
New Republic: The Last of the Ayn Rand Acolytes
Guardian: Atlas Shrugged is absurd but strangely compelling
LA Times – Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’: What the critics had to say in 1957
The Atlas Society
YouTube: Who Is Ayn Rand? – Novelist, Philosopher, Icon, Ayn Rand on Selfishness


Ayn Rand, Russian-born American novelist, is shown in Manhattan with the Grand Central Terminal building in background in 1962.

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Books and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s