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Deanna, re your #165, ditto to Carol's #166.

I don't have a definition of a novel. This is a case where I think a definition would cut both too wide and too narrow. It's more an issue of knowing it when I see (read) it.

Atlas Shrugged has "a longish story," yes (btw, that could include tales which aren't novels), but it has features which I don't think of as novelistic and doesn't have features which I do.

The thesis dominates. It's almost a fictionalized sermon. It's didactic. Although Rand said that her purpose wasn't to educate, the book is almost continuously educating by example and sometimes by outright speeches. On the other hand, it lacks in characterization and in what I might call "room." It's all set to the pattern, no expansion of fancy.

Have you read We the Living? That book fits my idea of a novel, though there's a strong message factor in it too - Rand characteristically had a message in her fiction works, except not so much so in "Red Pawn" and some of the early stories.

I don't mean a criticism of Atlas in saying that I don't think of it as a proper novel. I think of it as something different and larger in scale - and a stupendous achievement. I could study it and study it for the way it's put together, but I wouldn't pick it up to read in a novel-reading mood.

Even the first time I read it, I didn't start it because of being in a novel-reading mood.

I was waiting around in the dorm after my freshman year of college. I had a horsebackriding party scheduled. I'd invited three dorm friends home to Peoria, where I lived, for a week of riding after finals.

About a week before, one of those three friends had walked into my dorm room with this large book held out as if she were trying to keep it from touching her body, and had said, "Would you read this and tell me what it means!" The "request" was inflected as punctuated, like a demand with an exclamation point, not with a question mark.

So I was curious. Because of the way the exam schedules fell out, I was finished with my exams before the others were with theirs, so I thought I'd start that book which had ___ upset.

By the end of the first chapter, I wished I hadn't scheduled a horsebackriding party. The wish is indicative of how curious I was about the book. (I was avid about horsebackriding.) But even then, within the first chapter, I was picking up things "odd" about the book. It didn't seem a normal novel.

I could go through the text and point out the little things which seemed "odd." This would take a long time to do, but I know what those things are. The book seemed "odder" as I progressed, and in increasingly complicated ways, since I became really puzzled by the author - the combination of masterful brilliance and what struck me as naivety.

At any rate, although I do use the word "novel" for convenience in referring to Atlas, I think of Atlas as belonging in a different class, more similar to The Divine Comedy, the Faust legend, epic myth - and the tales of Christ.

Ellen

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Michael,

I remember that palmetto bug story from when you told it before. Gives me the weebie jeebies. I hate cockroaches. Palmetto bugs are worse. And their ability to fly makes them extra scary.

I had one run over my foot once in an apartment. I then went on a stalking excursion similar to yours, only shorter, since I found and killed the damned thing fairly quickly.

A shame you were interrupted in the middle of The Possessed.

Stavrogin is really evil, shuddersomely evil.

Ellen

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Michael,

I remember that palmetto bug story from when you told it before. Gives me the weebie jeebies. I hate cockroaches. Palmetto bugs are worse. And their ability to fly makes them extra scary.

I had one run over my foot once in an apartment. I then went on a stalking excursion similar to yours, only shorter, since I found and killed the damned thing fairly quickly.

A shame you were interrupted in the middle of The Possessed.

Stavrogin is really evil, shuddersomely evil.

Ellen

In the summer of 1968 I was sitting in the mostly empty auditorium of NBI in the basement of the Empire State Building when the biggest cockroach I had ever seen, before or since, ran across the room, side to side. Little did I know then about foreshadowing.

--Brant

it was HUGE

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Picked up from another current thread ("What Recovery?"):

[italics added]

This was the originally proposed design for the Great Seal of the United States. It depicts the Israelites' journey to freedom from the slavery of Egypt crossings the Red Sea while the Egyptians are being destroyed. That thing floating in the center of the seal is the pillar of fire which was a physical manifestation of God's presence. Highly appropriate considering what happened. :wink:

seal-large1_zpsb4ac4348.jpg

Interesting re the symbolism of Wyatt's Torch.

Ellen

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Carol and Ellen, thank you. I appreciate both your points.

Ellen, I read We the Living before Atlas Shrugged, and once you called out the difference, it was apparent.

Michael, when I first moved to the Gulf Coast, I was renting a house close to the beach in Gulfport, MS. I was both terrified and outraged when I encountered a flying cockroach. An abomination, I tell you! I kept insisting that my landlord send an exterminator, and he kept insisting "it was just a palmetto bug." Dammit, I know a cockroach when I see one. They are a way of life in the deep south, just like the possum who visits my front porch nightly to eat whatever is left in my cat's dish.

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Picked up from another current thread ("What Recovery?"):

[italics added]

This was the originally proposed design for the Great Seal of the United States. It depicts the Israelites' journey to freedom from the slavery of Egypt crossings the Red Sea while the Egyptians are being destroyed. That thing floating in the center of the seal is the pillar of fire which was a physical manifestation of God's presence. Highly appropriate considering what happened. :wink:

seal-large1_zpsb4ac4348.jpg

Interesting re the symbolism of Wyatt's Torch.

Ellen

Wyatts Torch = The Lord's Column of Fire.

I hadn't thought of that. Rand either deliberately or accidentally had Jewish symbolism in her writings.

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How about the eternal fire in the Zoroastrian temple that went out when Alexander the Great died in Babylon, shattering his empire and plunging it into chaotic war?

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Wyatts Torch = The Lord's Column of Fire.

I hadn't thought of that. Rand either deliberately or accidentally had Jewish symbolism in her writings.

If she did have that symbolism in mind in the passage about the awake passengers seeing Wyatt's Torch as their last sight before entering the tunnel, this would fit with the implacable judge interpretation of the scene (Stephen's and Michael's) rather than with the zestful executioner interpretation (mine and others').

How about the eternal fire in the Zoroastrian temple that went out when Alexander the Great died in Babylon, shattering his empire and plunging it into chaotic war?

I think that that one is thoroughly unlikely to have been in Rand's mind.

Ellen

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Alexander was Aristotle's pupil. He brought Greek culture to Asia. It is possible there may have been a connection. If I had to write a thesis on Symbolism in Atlas Shrugged (shudder) I would certainly haul that in!

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Wyatt's Torch isn't going out but burning in the darkness about to descend on the land.

Although, I suppose she could have gotten the story mucked up and had it backward, like she did with the Prometheus figure.

Ellen

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10 Books Every Conservative Must Read: Plus Four Not to Miss and One Imposter

Benjamin Wiker (2010)

Herein the imposter is Atlas Shrugged, a pernicious story, whose true character was long ago discerned by Whittaker Chambers, a book that should not be read without reading the biographies of Rand, whose personal life shows the depravity of the philosophy propounded in the novel.

QED

Of note: The Jerusalem Bible.

Catholic, you know.

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10 Books Every Conservative Must Read: Plus Four Not to Miss and One Imposter

Benjamin Wiker (2010)

Herein the imposter is Atlas Shrugged, a pernicious story, whose true character was long ago discerned by Whittaker Chambers, a book that should not be read without reading the biographies of Rand, whose personal life shows the depravity of the philosophy propounded in the novel.

QED

Of note: The Jerusalem Bible.

Catholic, you know.

The best ad is for forbidden fruit or "Banned in Boston!" While the latter is archaic, it could be revived.

--Brant

sex is best

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