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Anthem

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mweiss

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March 29 2005

The last time I read Anthem was the autumn of 1968. I did not fully understand it then, as I was much younger and had less context by which to reference the work.

Tonight, it was my intention to continue reading a Michael Crichton book that I had just purchased, however, thinking about how I might introduce my wife to Objectivism in a series of small, pleasant steps, I went to my Sacred Books, which I keep in a place out of reach of all but myself, at the top of the bookcases. I took inventory of the books which I have read so long ago, the books written by the hand of Ayn Rand. And thee it was, Anthem. I thought, "this would be simple to read" (for my wife's first language is not English) and it is a story that she could comprehend.

I stood there, in front of the bookcases, intending to skim through Anthem and refresh my memory a bit. That was many hours ago. For I have fallen again to the almost mystical power of Miss Rand's writing. I read the book in its entirety, while standing there. Yes, I was standing. It did not matter. I was too engaged in the story to think about the status of my body, it's position, or any discomfort I might have felt from standing for many hours. I read the novel, and became completely absorbed in it once again, this time with the conceptual ability of an adult mind, which allowed me to experience the novel in a manner that I had not experienced it when I was much younger and possessed less wisdom.

The wording of the last two chapters of Anthem struck me as the most eloquent words I can remember reading. More elegant and graceful than any scripture I have read, more meaningful and fundamental than any poetry I have read. The words had the immediacy of innocent discovery--of Truth. They were simple. Axiomatic. Their beauty was in their directness, unadulterated by meaningless fluff so often found in "great" works of literature.

There is no longer any question in my mind as to the greatness of literary work by Ayn Rand. I have always been in awe of her philosophy, but now, in my elder years, I am in awe of her way of expressing ideas.

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