Quote of the week...please share your favourite line from Ayn Rand's writings

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.”

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Introducing Ayn Rand

Although you may find much more to read by searching Ayn Rand on wikipedia, here's a brief introduction to her motivations and her life...

Ayn Rand is one of the all time popular authors in the world. Over 30 million copies of her books have reportedly sold world wide so far. In the early 1990s, an opinion survey by Gallup for the United States Congressional Library found her to be the most influential author, second only to the Bible. Twenty years after her death, her books sell around hundreds of thousands copies each year. All the books she wrote are in print, and a few collections of her writings have been published posthumously.

Her books, particularly the fictions, are widely available in Indian bookshops. However, the most telling evidence in support of her popularity in India can be found in the availability of cheap pirated edition of her works, including non-fiction, on the streets of most major cities!

Ayn Rand was born in St. Petersberg, Russia on February 2, 1905. She managed to escape from the Communist regime in Soviet Union in 1925, and arrived in the US the following year. With hardly any knowledge of English, she slowly worked her way in Hollywood and mastered English while writing screenplays. She published her first novel - We the Living - in the mid-1930s. Set in Russia just after the communist revolution, it tells the story of three idealist people, their trials and tribulations.

It was after the publication of The Fountainhead in 1943, that she achieved wide recognition. The protagonists in the novel are "dedicated to exaltation of man's self-esteem and the sacredness of his happiness on earth", wrote Rand. It was not easy. The book was rejected by a dozen publishers before being accepted. The thirteenth publisher, Bobbs-Merrill, was about to reject it when the young editor who recommended the book for consideration, Archie Ogden, staked his job on The Fountainhead. When he heard the Bobbs-Merrill was about to reject the book he wired the head office: IF THIS IS NOT THE BOOK FOR YOU, THEN I AM NOT THE EDITOR FOR YOU. Ogden's wire convinced the company to buy the book. And the rest is history. The sales were slow to pick up, but as the word about the spread by mouth, it gradually started climbing the charts, staying at the top of the best seller list for 27 weeks.
Since then, millions of copies of The Fountainhead have sold, and over 50 years later it still sells a few hundred thousand copies annually. Writing about the lasting appeal of The Fountainhead, Rand said, "it is confirmation of the spirit of youth, proclaiming man's glory, showing how much is possible". Soon after its publication, the book was made in to a movie which is now available on video. A couple of years ago, the video was included among the 100 all time great videos by an entertainment magazine.

Then in 1957, came her magnum opus - Atlas Shrugged, a philosophical detective story in which Rand depicts the role of reason in man's life. In the last two decades of her life, Rand published many non-fiction works.

She died at her home in New York City in March 1982, at the age of 77. Her husband for over 50 years, Frank O’Conner, an artist, had died in 1979.

No comments:

Post a Comment