Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum known as Ayn Rand is an acclaimed Russian philosopher and writer. She was born on 2nd February 1905, in St. Petersburg in the erstwhile Russian Empire. She was quite intelligent during her childhood. Her father, Zinovy Zakharovich Rosenbaum, was a pharmacist, and her mother, Anna Borisovna, was a religious lady. Ayn shared a keen interest in literature; she taught herself to read and write at the age of eight, and at ten she formally began to give voice to her ideas.
After being tutored at home, Ayn Rand attended progressive school, where she excelled academically but socially faced isolation. Following the historic Russian Revolution, her father’s shop was confiscated by Bolshevik soldiers, forcing the family to live in distress in Crimea. The situation profoundly triggered the young writer’s brain, who developed strong hateful feelings toward the robust regime. After some time, the family returned to the place where Ayn attended the University of Petrograd. After earning her bachelor’s degree in 1924, she joined the State Institute for Cinema Arts to study screenwriting.
Personal Life and Death
After completing her degree, Ayn traveled abroad to pursue her career as a screenwriter. There, she met her favorite director, Cecil B. DeMille, and had a chance to work with him first as an extra and later as a script reader. During that time, she met and fell in love with the actor, Frank O’Connor. She married Frank in 1929, and both enjoyed the bliss of life until Frank’s death. After attaining widespread recognition, this literary gem breathed her last on the 6th of March, 1982.
Some Important Facts about Ayn Rand
- In 1963, she received an honorary doctorate from Lewis & Clark College.
- In 1983, she received the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award for her science fiction, Atlas
- Her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead, was adapted for the cinema screen, starring Gary Cooper.
Ayn Rand began to document her ideas and emotions at a very young age and illuminated the world with her philosophical beliefs. After completing her degree in screenwriting, she struggled for several years in several non-writing jobs. However, she could not give up on her writing passion and continued to write until her first screenplay, Red Pawn, was sold in 1932. Later, another play, Night of January 16th, was staged in Hollywood in 1934. Following this commercial success, she wrote her first autobiographical novel, We the Living, in 1933. Following this publication, she produced a novella, Anthem, but this attempt failed to garner a wider audience. However, her next publication, The Fountainhead, gained lasting recognition for the author. Later, she produced various screenplays and started working on another novel, and wrote another big hit, Atlas Shrugged, in 1946.
A conversational philosopher and novelist, Ayn Rand won widespread appraisal on her witty and philosophical ideas. Her writings exhibit complex but complete plots with highly pruned characterization with the role of each character well defined, showing an absolute link to the storyline. To make her epistemological or moral points clear to the audience, she uses long speeches and extreme rigor with words. Although she faced criticism on her sophisticated writing approach, she ignored the strictures and continued to adore the audience with her approach. Her novella, Anthem, exhibits an epic, simple, Biblical, and powerful writing style in which she has presented her thoughts, keeping herself aligned with the world and the religion. However, in Atlas Shrugged, she has used a blunt, mysterious, and episodic writing approach to share her thoughts with the readers. She often turns toward imagery, symbolism, foreshadowing, allusions, and other literary devices to present her ideas which are related to objectivism, individualism, love, and power.
Some Important Works of Ayn Rand
- Best Novels: She produced three novels: We the Living, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged.
- Other Works: Besides writing novels, her non-fictional writings also established her excellent reputation. Some of them include For the New Intellectual, Night of January 16th, and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, Philosophy: Who Needs It, and The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution.
Ayn Rand’s Impact on Future Literature
Ayn Rand has left a remarkable legacy after her that even after the years of her death, her philosophical ideas win recognition among the literary circles around the globe. Though her political and social beliefs remain the center of criticism, her ideas about objectivism and her serious efforts to protect human rights never let her name disappear from the literary minds. Jennifer Burns, a biographer, sings in her praise, calling her “the ultimate gateway drug to life on the right.” She has expressed her ideas in her writings so well that even today, fresh writers seek guidance from the marvelous legacy she has left for the world.
- “Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.” (Atlas Shrugged)
- “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” (Atlas Shrugged)
- “I regret nothing. There have been things I missed, but I ask no questions, because I have loved it, such as it has been, even the moments of emptiness, even the unanswered-and that I loved it, that is the unanswered in my life.” (The Fountainhead)
- “Don’t fool yourself, my dear. You’re much worse than a bitch. You’re a saint. Which shows why saints are dangerous and undesirable.” (The Fountainhead)