Her name is a kind of psychological litmus test; it inevitably provokes violent reactions of either fierce admiration or indignant denunciation. But neutrality seems impossible.
Both as a thinker and as an artist, Ayn Rand stormed against the tide. As a philosopher, she was an uncompromising champion of reason, individualism and pure capitalism. As a novelist, she was an impassioned Romantic. In both capacities, she was startling, original, unprecedented.
The goal of her writing, she said, was not to capture a "slice of life," but to project her moral vision of man "as he might and ought to be."
And so the protagonists of her bestsellers ( We The Living , Anthem , The Fountainhead , and Atlas Shrugged ) are heroic, Promethean individualists-embattled titans in a world of envious Lilliputians.
And rejecting the notion that a "serious" novel had to be dull, she dramatized her philosophical themes in intricate plots loaded with color, romance, adventure and grandeur.
One may love or hate her stories; one cannot easily forget them.
Explore the links below to learn more about this fascinating author's fictional work.
Ayn Rand's Novels
- Atlas Shrugged (1957)
- The Fountainhead (1943)
- Anthem (1938)
- We the Living (1936)
Ayn Rand's Short Stories
- The Husband I Bought (1926)
- Good Copy (c.a. 1927)
- Escort (1929)
- Her Second Career (1929)
These early short stories were not intended for publication, but were written while Ayn Rand was still learning her literary craft and gaining familiarity with the English language. They have considerable charm, however, and contain the seeds of ideas and values that would characterize her mature work.
These stories and others are anthologized in The Early Ayn Rand.
- The Simplest Thing in the World (1940)
This short story, which shows how an artist’s values affect his creative processes, appears in Ayn Rand’s nonfiction work, The Romantic Manifesto: A Philosophy of Literature