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Roger Bissell

JARS 16 N1-2 - special Nathaniel Branden DOUBLE issue

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The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies is proud to publish the first double-issue in its 16-year history, a symposium on "Nathaniel Branden: His Work and Legacy," which is avaiable in print, electronic and Kindle formats. Check out the details about this extraordinary issue, featuring contributions from fifteen writers coming from diverse disciplines and critical perspectives: https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/notablog/archives/002200.html

 

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I post here undecided over where else to post. Is it true of Nathaniel Branden had friends/contacts mostly younger than himself and fewer contemporary relationships? I'd like to reconcile what Ive observed. It is likely that a teacher/psychologist is more inclined to garner attentions from a younger set. Ive noticed the JARS symposium is full of articles by those who are roughly my age (give/take 10 yrs). That is a difference of 15 yrs between Branden and others who comment. My perception seemed right, correct me if Im wrong that contemporaries he made contact with were mostly on the outs with him, both professionally and personally. My impression was he chose young women as spouses with the exception being BB. I read his comment regarding George Reisman and how his wife, Devers sought to bring him closer to others for whom he thought there to be little chance. I then thought about the dynamic of friendship and age differences. Perhaps he was so energetic and vitalized that he had a distinct preference of young to old. Is it fair to say this was generally true of him?

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No, I don't think so. He had numerous friends approximately his own age or older. Quite a few of them are no longer living.

As for the age differences between NB and his wives, (1) NB was 34 and his second wife Patrecia was 24 (a 10-year gap) when they began their relationship, (2) there was only a three-year gap between NB and his third wife, Devers, and (3) there was an approximately 25-year gap between NB and his fourth wife, Leigh. 

REB

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Each of his last three wives seem to have saved him from different things, but more basically from simply being (romantically) alone, which is the general human commonality. So each saved him in two ways. I don't want to leave this draped in the implication of passivity. Obviously Nathaniel was not a passive actor and that's not an oxymoron. It's a matter of a trade.

He met Leigh in a bookstore looking for more of his books. She had gone gaga over The Psychology of Self Esteem. She had no idea who he was while recommending his work to him. (She told me this after I asked her how they met.)

It was Rand who tended to be surrounded--"The Collective"--students of Objectivism--by those younger. Nathaniel was kind of a generational bridge to her--and a buffer.

--Brant

 

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