Essays on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead

 Posted by on 5 January 2007 at 9:05 pm  Uncategorized
Jan 052007

Last night, my pre-ordered copy of Robert Mayhew’s new anthology Essays on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead arrived. It looks quite excellent. Here’s the table of contents from the publisher’s web site:

Part 1: The History of The Fountainhead

  • “The Fountainhead from Notebook to Novel: The Composition of Ayn Rand’s First Projection of the Ideal Man” by Shoshana Milgram
  • “Howard Roark and Frank Lloyd Wright” by Michael S. Berliner
  • “Publishing The Fountainhead” by Richard Ralston
  • “The Fountainhead Reviews” by Michael S. Berliner
  • “Adapting The Fountainhead to Film” by Jeff Britting

Part 2: The Fountainhead as Literature and as Philosophy

  • “The Fountainhead as a Romantic Novel” by Tore Boeckmann
  • “What Might Be and Ought to Be: Aristotle’s Poetics and The Fountainhead” by Tore Boeckmann
  • “Three Inspirations for the Ideal Man: Cyrus Paltons, Enjolras, and Cyrano de Bergerac” by Shoshana Milgram
  • “Understanding the “Rape” Scene in The Fountainhead” by Andrew Bernstein
  • “Humor in The Fountainhead” by Robert Mayhew
  • “The Fountainhead and the Spirit of Youth” by B. John Bayer
  • “The Basic Motivation of the Creators and the Masses in ,The Fountainhead” by Onkar Ghate
  • “Independence in The Fountainhead” by Tara Smith
  • “Roark’s Integrity” by Dina Schein
  • “A Moral Dynamiting” by Amy Peikoff
  • “Epilogue: An Interview with Leonard Peikoff”

I was very impressed with the two prior volumes in the series — Essays on Ayn Rand’s Anthem and Essays on Ayn Rand’s We the Living — so I’m really looking forward to reading this new collection. Speaking of the other two volumes, I found their tables of contents on the publisher’s web site too. Here’s Essays on Ayn Rand’s Anthem:

Part 1: The History of Anthem

  • Anthem in Manuscript: Finding the Words” by Shoshana Milgram
  • “Publishing Anthem” by Richard E. Ralston
  • “Anthem: ’38 and ’46″ by Robert Mayhew
  • “Reviews of Anthem” by Michael S. Berliner
  • “Adapting Anthem: Projects That Were and Might Have Been” by Jeff Britting
  • “Anthem and ‘The Individualist Manifesto’” by Jeff Britting

Part 2: Anthem as Literature and as Philosophy

  • “Anthem as a Psychological Fantasy” by Tore Boeckmann
  • “Anthem in the Context of Related Literary Works: ‘We are not like our brothers’” by Shoshana Milgram
  • “‘Sacrilege toward the Individual’: The Anti-Pride of Thomas More’s Utopia and Anthem’s Radical Alternative” by John Lewis
  • “Needs of the Psyche in Ayn Rand’s Early Ethical Thought” by Darryl Wright
  • “Breaking the Metaphysical Chains of Dictatorship: Free Will and Determinism in Anthem” by Onkar Ghate
  • “Prometheus’ Discovery: Individualism and the Meaning of the Concept “I” in Anthem” by Greg Salmieri
  • “Freedom of Disassociation in Anthem” by Amy Peikoff
  • “Anthem and Collectivist Regression into Primitivism” by Andy Bernstein
  • “Epilogue: Anthem: An Appreciation” by Harry Binswanger
  • “Appendix: Teaching Anthem: A Guide for High School and University Teachers” by Lindsay Joseph

While I enjoyed the whole anthology, I thought the essays by Tore Boeckmann, Darryl Wright, Onkar Ghate, and Greg Salmieri in this volume were particularly excellent. I learned more about Anthem (and Objectivism) from reading these essays than I thought possible, and I appreciated the novella more than ever before.

Last but not least is the anthology on my favorite novel by Ayn Rand: Essays on Ayn Rand’s We the Living.

Part 1: The History of We the Living

  • “From Airtight to We the Living: The Drafts of Ayn Rand’s First Novel” by Shoshana Milgram
  • “Parallel Lives: Models and Inspirations for Characters in We the Living” by Scott McConnell
  • “We the Living and the Rosenbaum Family Letters” by Dina Garmong
  • “Russian Revolutionary Ideology and We the Living” by John Ridpath
  • “The Music of We the Living” by Michael S. Berliner
  • “Publishing We the Living” by Richard E. Ralston
  • “Reviews of We the Living” by Michael S. Berliner
  • “Adapting We the Living” by Jeff Britting
  • “We the Living: ’36 & ’59″ by Robert Mayhew

Part 2:We the Living as Literature and as Philosophy

  • “We the Living and Victor Hugo: Ayn Rand’s First Novel and the Novelist She Ranked First” by Shoshana Milgram
  • “Red Pawn: Ayn Rand’s Other Story of Soviet Russia” by Jena Trammell
  • “The Integration of Plot and Theme in We the Living” by Andrew Bernstein
  • “Kira’s Family” by John Lewis
  • “Kira Argounova Laughed: Humor and Joy in We the Living” by Robert Mayhew
  • “Forbidding Life to Those Still Living” by Tara Smith
  • “The Death Premise in We the Living and Atlas Shrugged” by Onkar Ghate
  • “Selected Bibliography”

While this volume didn’t have as much new and exciting philosophy as the anthology on Anthem, I did very much enjoy many of the essays, particularly the literary analyses. (The historical essays on the publication of the novel weren’t of much interest to me, I must admit. That’s just a matter of my personal taste though, as those essays were well-written.)

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