Why did Dagny and Hank assume the motor had been invented by a single man?


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Problem is, what is labeled as a looter and moocher by what people?

For example, a capitalist who draws profit from the plight of others by exploiting third-world children to work for him in a sweatshop may well be regarded as a 'looter' or 'moocher' by a communist.

Rand's rose-colored view of unbridled capitalism as the source of all good would deserve some premise-checking too. For is always "good for whose interests?".

You mean provide paying work for people who would otherwise starve to death? Some exploitation that is.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Of course it is exploitaiton, for they they are paid just enough not to starve so that the capitalist can draw profit from work for which he would have to pay far more in other countries.

Don't delude yourself: would you think it was fair if your child had to work for a multimillionaire in sweat shop?

A lot of children are treated much worse than this. It mostly comes out of lack of freedom--freedom: a subjective value choice?--and constitutes a transitioning to better things if there is also a transition to increasing freedom. Capitalism is a consequence of freedom and if something seems wrong with capitalism the wrong can usually be found in inappropriate use of government either in violating human rights or not properly protecting them. An example of the latter is the "tragedy of the commons."

--Brant

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Thank you Brant, I was not familiar with this article.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

"Central to Hardin's article is an example, a hypothetical and simplified situation from medieval land tenure in Europe, of herders sharing a common parcel of land (the commons), on which they are each entitled to let their cows graze. In Hardin's example, it is in each herder's interest to put the next (and succeeding) cows he acquires onto the land, even if the carrying capacity of the commons is exceeded and it is damaged for all as a result. The herder receives all of the benefits from an additional cow, while the damage to the commons is shared by the entire group. If all herders make this individually rational economic decision, the commons will be destroyed to the detriment of all."

Adam

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Of course it is exploitaiton, for they they are paid just enough not to starve so that the capitalist can draw profit from work for which he would have to pay far more in other countries.

Don't delude yourself: would you think it was fair if your child had to work for a multimillionaire in sweat shop?

You wouldn't pay your grocer one cent more than he is willing to accept for his merchandise. Why pay a worker one cent more than they are willing to accept for their labor?

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Brant: Jeff R. doesn't "debate." Good luck with that.

Giving JR (after his return) a link to Dragonfly's # 68 post here by will be a good litmus test.

It will be quite a challenge for JR to come up with a convincing reply to that post.

Of course he can decide to ignore the post, but imo it will be considered as a copout by both Rand supporters and Rand critics.

The same goes for 'treatises on writing' without giving specific quotes from Rand's work for illustration purposes.

So let's wait and see what happens. :)

Philip Coates: Xray, If you wanted to thoroughly debate this view "further", then why do you have to wait? It was not Jeff, but -me- who posted the strongest and most thoroughgoing defense of Atlas on that thread. There were many, many points I made. The post was pretty much ignored. Do you guys jump in fear to another thread and only attack weak arguments or arguers? Cherry pick which strong literary arguments you want to address?

Phil, I did not ignore your post at all but read it with interest.

But then JR replied immediately afterward, shifting the focus on the literary aspect.

This post preoccupied me because of its premises, so I replied asking him to back up his claims by quotes.

Of course we don't "have to to wait" to discuss this further; I have already prepared a reply to JR's post, but since he is away for some weeks, I don't expect him to sift through the posts on that that thread after his return, so I'm going to wait until he is back and post it then.

Also, there was no "jumping to another thread out of fear" by anyone here; these things just happen in the course of lively discussions. I too would be happier if this was continued on the GL thread, which is why I'd like to copy Dragonfly's brilliant # 68 post over there (with link to the original thread); do you or others know whether the rules of OL permit this?

Philip Coates: Thank you, Dragonfly for at least arguing in some detail against me point-by-point (or at least against those of my points you disagree with). Even though I still disagree with most of your views or your reasoning for them.

That was an excellent post by Dragonfly, wasn't it? I agree with every word written there. (# 68).

Also, DF's method of directly quoting and subsequently addressing arguments point-by-point is far more effective than leaving the posts "embedded". It helps the readers to stay focused because they know at a glance what it is about.

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When I first read Atlas Shrugged in 1963 at the age of 19--my first real exposure to Rand--and I came to Galt's speech and found out its length and read a few words I simply skipped it. The second time I read the novel I read the speech. It was a real slog. I've not read it cover to cover since, I think--I'm not completely sure about that. Now, apropos this discussion, I wonder if Rand went into the world of her novel and didn't come out because of the novel or because she broke her back with that damn speech. How could she expect businessmen to read that thing, if they did at all, and be attracted to and champion her and her philosophy? It was Francisco who had the right message to leave the world: "Brother, you asked for it!"

--Brant

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Of course it is exploitaiton, for they they are paid just enough not to starve so that the capitalist can draw profit from work for which he would have to pay far more in other countries.

Don't delude yourself: would you think it was fair if your child had to work for a multimillionaire in sweat shop?

You wouldn't pay your grocer one cent more than he is willing to accept for his merchandise. Why pay a worker one cent more than they are willing to accept for their labor?

Ba'al Chatzaf

Check your premises. Who IS the actual worker in the example we are discussing? It is a child. (!!)

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Of course it is exploitaiton, for they they are paid just enough not to starve so that the capitalist can draw profit from work for which he would have to pay far more in other countries.

Don't delude yourself: would you think it was fair if your child had to work for a multimillionaire in sweat shop?

You wouldn't pay your grocer one cent more than he is willing to accept for his merchandise. Why pay a worker one cent more than they are willing to accept for their labor?

Ba'al Chatzaf

Check your premises. Who IS the actual worker in the example we are discussing? It is a child. (!!)

Ah, yes, a child. Capitalists love to eat them, so tender and yummy. The child would be so much better off in Africa, say, as a 10 yo soldier gunning down everyone he's told to gun down. Now, we have to find a way to blame the capitalists for that too.

--Brant

never blames socialists/fascists/communists/Nazis for anything--yeah, right

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> I'd like to copy Dragonfly's brilliant # 68 post over there (with link to the original thread); do you or others know whether the rules of OL permit this? [Xray]

I don't see why not--you wouldn't want to see it done all the time, of course. But on the other hand: the GL thread is -very long- about to burst at the seams with lots of subtopics and with all kinds of books and lit crit stuff being discussed -and- this thread has now become the thread for you and Jeffrey to trash Atlas and everything Rand ever said (ha ha, just kidding) :mellow: But keeping all the Rand stuff here (and on the 'hero' thread) would seem to make for more of a focused dicussion than sprawling across three threads. [OTOH, I hate to see you and Jeffrey vs. Brant and Adam and his cartoons - it's sort of an intellectually unequal combat - the well-read, the articulate, the educated vs. well..I'd better not go there...I'd rather have me and Jeff, insofar as he's on my 'side'...and insofar as this debate continues...I'm becoming semi-retired, especially since MSK has, I understand, a good pension plan for exhausted warriors.,,both you and Jeffrey many times say things I disagree with but I can't keep up as I need to either jog or nap..] :rolleyes:

> DF's method of directly quoting and subsequently addressing arguments point-by-point is far more effective than leaving the posts "embedded". It helps the readers to stay focused because they know at a glance what it is about.

Yes, indeed! As long as they don't quote a whole page in order to only have a sentence in reply. (hint, hint). :unsure:

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[OTOH, I hate to see you and Jeffrey vs. Brant and Adam and his cartoons - it's sort of an intellectually unequal combat - the well-read, the articulate, the educated vs. well..I'd better not go there...

vs. the resident genius, moi? You you are right. You "better not go there."

--Brant

sharpening his brain, charging his flamethrower, reading his books

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(This is especially for Phil)

I had the chance to read the first half chapter of AS yesterday in Borders.*

Quick summary of points that struck me:

It's written in stream of consciousness--Eddie's to be exact. Phil, wasn't it you who expressed a dislike of s-o-c?

Rand's style is very mannered and labored. This is not exactly a fault (says I, who likes Charles Williams, as mannered a stylist as ever was), but Rand apparently tried to endow Every Last Detail With Important Meaning In The Context Of The Novel--which can result in an overloaded, overburdened narrative even in a novel that's not a thousand pages long.

The best effect was the little episode of the oak tree on the Taggart estate--an obvious metaphor for what's going on in the novel.

The worst effect was the description of James Taggart. It was mannered and highly stylized, to the point of being high-falutin'. In another context, it might work. But in this context, it's written wrong. In a passage which is seen through Eddie's point of view, it doesn't describe James as Eddie would have seen him. James is described in the way a total stranger might see him, not the way that someone who's known James since they were played as children together would see him.

Also, the idea that a corporation the size of the Taggart company would 1) have only one supplier for steel and 2)allow itself to be backordered for more than a year on an important order seems slightly implausible. Yes, I know Rand has her reasons for depicting it so; but does she give a plausible explanation why the board of directors and (more importantly) Dagny let James get away with this?

*if this seems superficial--I read only half a chapter because I had to get back to work.

I didn't buy it because it was the only copy of the small sized edition (meaning the size I can carry around and read on lunch hours) and it had a number of seriously torn pages in the middle.

Will probably be hitting Barnes and Noble in the next few days to remedy this.

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(This is especially for Phil)

I had the chance to read the first half chapter of AS yesterday in Borders.*

Quick summary of points that struck me:

It's written in stream of consciousness--Eddie's to be exact. Phil, wasn't it you who expressed a dislike of s-o-c?

Rand's style is very mannered and labored. This is not exactly a fault (says I, who likes Charles Williams, as mannered a stylist as ever was), but Rand apparently tried to endow Every Last Detail With Important Meaning In The Context Of The Novel--which can result in an overloaded, overburdened narrative even in a novel that's not a thousand pages long.

The best effect was the little episode of the oak tree on the Taggart estate--an obvious metaphor for what's going on in the novel.

The worst effect was the description of James Taggart. It was mannered and highly stylized, to the point of being high-falutin'. In another context, it might work. But in this context, it's written wrong. In a passage which is seen through Eddie's point of view, it doesn't describe James as Eddie would have seen him. James is described in the way a total stranger might see him, not the way that someone who's known James since they were played as children together would see him.

Also, the idea that a corporation the size of the Taggart company would 1) have only one supplier for steel and 2)allow itself to be backordered for more than a year on an important order seems slightly implausible. Yes, I know Rand has her reasons for depicting it so; but does she give a plausible explanation why the board of directors and (more importantly) Dagny let James get away with this?

*if this seems superficial--I read only half a chapter because I had to get back to work.

I didn't buy it because it was the only copy of the small sized edition (meaning the size I can carry around and read on lunch hours) and it had a number of seriously torn pages in the middle.

Will probably be hitting Barnes and Noble in the next few days to remedy this.

Did I miss something, Jeffrey? This is your first reading of AS?

--Brant

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Did I miss something, Jeffrey? This is your first reading of AS?

--Brant

Second. First time through was back in college.

That's why, for instance, I caught what she meant with the oak tree, which probably wouldn't be obvious to a first time reader.

It did suffer in comparison to the company it was keeping at that point (Austen, Fielding, Trollope, Murdoch, Forster, not to mention Chaucer, Shakespeare, Coleridge and Blake). Perhaps this time in more or less isolation it will fare better.

Jeff S.

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(This is especially for Phil)

I had the chance to read the first half chapter of AS yesterday in Borders.*

Quick summary of points that struck me:

It's written in stream of consciousness--Eddie's to be exact. Phil, wasn't it you who expressed a dislike of s-o-c?

Rand's style is very mannered and labored. This is not exactly a fault (says I, who likes Charles Williams, as mannered a stylist as ever was), but Rand apparently tried to endow Every Last Detail With Important Meaning In The Context Of The Novel--which can result in an overloaded, overburdened narrative even in a novel that's not a thousand pages long.

The best effect was the little episode of the oak tree on the Taggart estate--an obvious metaphor for what's going on in the novel.

The worst effect was the description of James Taggart. It was mannered and highly stylized, to the point of being high-falutin'. In another context, it might work. But in this context, it's written wrong. In a passage which is seen through Eddie's point of view, it doesn't describe James as Eddie would have seen him. James is described in the way a total stranger might see him, not the way that someone who's known James since they were played as children together would see him.

Also, the idea that a corporation the size of the Taggart company would 1) have only one supplier for steel and 2)allow itself to be backordered for more than a year on an important order seems slightly implausible. Yes, I know Rand has her reasons for depicting it so; but does she give a plausible explanation why the board of directors and (more importantly) Dagny let James get away with this?

*if this seems superficial--I read only half a chapter because I had to get back to work.

I didn't buy it because it was the only copy of the small sized edition (meaning the size I can carry around and read on lunch hours) and it had a number of seriously torn pages in the middle.

Will probably be hitting Barnes and Noble in the next few days to remedy this.

Jeff:

Interesting.

"Yes, I know Rand has her reasons for depicting it so; but does she give a plausible explanation why the board of directors and (more importantly) Dagny let James get away with this?"

How well did General Motors Board of Directors do with letting their James Taggart "get away" with what he "got away with?"

"That's why, for instance, I caught what she meant with the oak tree, which probably wouldn't be obvious to a first time reader."

Jeff, you are kidding about the oak tree, right? I read Atlas when I was 14 and I certainly understood the metaphor instantly. That is why the book is great literature.

Adam

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Jeffrey:

Rand adopts Stream-of-Consciousness techniques on occasion, but not in that first bit with Eddie and not in the way authors like Joyce and Beckett do. In the first few scenes with Eddie, Rand, in her permanent position of third-person omniscient, only narrates his thoughts. We don't actually experience the 'flow.'

We never follow Eddie for too long. Since Rand is in authorial God Mode in her fiction, she head-jumps with no problem.

And as Rand is in God Mode, the description of James Taggart is her own. Not Eddie's perception. Even if Rand never formally interrupts the flow of the narrative (a practice she opposes), she is as much a character in the novel as anyone else. Just read the descriptions of the passengers in the train-wreck scene and tell me that Rand isn't commenting on those people. If I recall correctly, she goes so far as to call one man a "sniveling little neurotic." :lol:

The mannered style you mention ties into Rand's aesthetic judgment that everything included in a novel, down to the most simple detail, should tie into the novel's core theme in some way. The theme of a Rand novel is like DNA, present in every part of the book, from the title to the chapter titles to the slightest punctuation mark in the shortest sentence, holding the thing together, and giving even a sprawling epic like ATLAS and almost obsessively focused quality.

The result, of course, is that a character cannot so much as move their pinky finger without it being suffused with deep philosophical meaning.

Some like this style, some don't. But it is what makes Rand distinctively Rand.

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Michelle:

It is great to have you back and active in the discussions.

This is precisely what Ayn is doing, either volitionally, or subconsciously.

The role of the "narrator" both revealed and "kinda present" is a major issue of inquiry in style discussions of rhetorical effectiveness.

I remember reading that she would work on something along the macro time lines of approximately one page per day in writing Atlas. I am not sure whether it was one of her musings in The Art of Fiction, or one of Barbara's commentaries.

That omniscient and omnipotent presence that pervades the pages and paragraphs of Atlas are, literally, as you aptly point out, the genome of her philosophy imprinted in the sequential semantic of the reader.

That is why Atlas Shrugged is a rhetorical masterpiece.

That is why Atlas Shrugged resonates throughout the generations.

And that is why Atlas Shrugged will continue influencing rational individuals forever.

As you point out, it is not a style for everyone.

Finally, I am no expert on Russian fiction, but I believe that long ponderous brooding works are not a surprise.

Adam

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Rand adopts Stream-of-Consciousness techniques on occasion, but not in that first bit with Eddie and not in the way authors like Joyce and Beckett do.

Could you quote an example of what you think are "stream of consciousness" techniques in AS?

Even if Rand never formally interrupts the flow of the narrative (a practice she opposes), she is as much a character in the novel as anyone else. Just read the descriptions of the passengers in the train-wreck scene and tell me that Rand isn't commenting on those people. If I recall correctly, she goes so far as to call one man a "sniveling little neurotic." :lol:

Imo calling A. Rand a character in the novel is misleading.

As for the train-wreck scene, it is a typical example of AR squeezing her odd psychological views into some kind of 'judgement day' scenario, almost suggesting to the reader that these people "deserved" to die because they did not share the personal values of Rearden, Dagny & Co.

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Dragonfly: F: AS is in fact a non-fiction treatise in the disguise of a novel.
Xray: Precisely. And that disguise can be felt throughout the novel.

And of course xray feelings take precedence over rational understanding of the specific FACT that it is categorically fiction, but that is that old school stuff, Ayn and Aristotle.

Interesting that the fictional aspect seems to take a backseat each time Objectivists refer to John Galt's speech as if if were an external and reliable source.

A reasoning not that different from Christian fundamentalists who quote passages of the Bible as alleged proof of truth.

Dragonfly:

First, apart from the literary aspect of inserting such a long speech in a novel, the speech in itself isn't good, it's overly repetitive. It hammers down the same message in countless variations that are not essential and in practice no one would have listened it to the end (and probably the majority of readers will start to skim it after a while, or even skip it altogether), as they would have become bored to death. But second, it may be that the book is a work of philosophy as well, but that is no excuse. It just doesn't work, as many (or even most) people don't read it in this form. They've got the message of the book or not, but the speech doesn't change that.

So true.

Not only is the speech, from the formal point of view, a far too bulging bubble inserted in the novel, the contents of that 'literary atheroma' :) are so repetitive that one can read only a few pages, skip the rest and not miss a thing.

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We never follow Eddie for too long. Since Rand is in authorial God Mode in her fiction, she head-jumps with no problem.

And as Rand is in God Mode, the description of James Taggart is her own. Not Eddie's perception. Even if Rand never formally interrupts the flow of the narrative (a practice she opposes), she is as much a character in the novel as anyone else. Just read the descriptions of the passengers in the train-wreck scene and tell me that Rand isn't commenting on those people. If I recall correctly, she goes so far as to call one man a "sniveling little neurotic." :lol:

The mannered style you mention ties into Rand's aesthetic judgment that everything included in a novel, down to the most simple detail, should tie into the novel's core theme in some way. The theme of a Rand novel is like DNA, present in every part of the book, from the title to the chapter titles to the slightest punctuation mark in the shortest sentence, holding the thing together, and giving even a sprawling epic like ATLAS and almost obsessively focused quality.

The result, of course, is that a character cannot so much as move their pinky finger without it being suffused with deep philosophical meaning.

Some like this style, some don't. But it is what makes Rand distinctively Rand.

Jumping in and out of "God-mode" is usually characteristic of novelists who are, to put it diplomatically, not among the best ones, if the author doesn't signal in some way that the point of view is moving from specific character to God-mode--and I don't think that the shift was really signalled. If you want a good example of how to do it well, try Mansfield Park, which is told sometimes from the point of view of Fanny, and sometimes from the point of view of the Author, with a few variations along the way--stray incidents seen through the eyes of Sir Thomas and Mary Crawford, and some things narrated to Fanny by other characters (such as Edmund describing his final meeting with Mary Crawford). You know when the POV has shifted, and it stays shifted for at least a few pages.

Moreover, the shift was totally unneeded. Almost the same exact description could have been narrated through Eddie's eyes, with the addition of perhaps one or two sentences at the most. For instance: As he came into the office, he saw James Taggart at his desk, and saw for a brief moment not as the man he was used to, as the man he grown up with, but as a newcomer would have seen him: with the look of a man who had passed directly from adolescence into adulthood, and missed youth entirely... and so on with the rest of the description. (Of course, that just one possible way of phrasing it. I don't plan on rewriting Rand in toto.)

However, half a chapter does not a novel make. So I'll leave it for now, I just wanted to give some input on what a first time reader might think of it as they began the novel. But I must confess that your reference to Olaf Stapledon's works did tempt me to make a snarky reference to AS. But I gallantly resisted :)

Edit to add: Lest I be thought to be too negative, I should comment that even with all her supposed flaws as a novelist, Rand is a lot better than most of the novelists who now populate the best seller lists. (Dan Brown, I'm looking at you!)

But I still maintain that her best work, from the literary point of view, was her non fiction: she's a great essayist, up there with Charles Lamb and others.

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We never follow Eddie for too long. Since Rand is in authorial God Mode in her fiction, she head-jumps with no problem.

And as Rand is in God Mode, the description of James Taggart is her own. Not Eddie's perception. Even if Rand never formally interrupts the flow of the narrative (a practice she opposes), she is as much a character in the novel as anyone else. Just read the descriptions of the passengers in the train-wreck scene and tell me that Rand isn't commenting on those people. If I recall correctly, she goes so far as to call one man a "sniveling little neurotic." :lol:

The mannered style you mention ties into Rand's aesthetic judgment that everything included in a novel, down to the most simple detail, should tie into the novel's core theme in some way. The theme of a Rand novel is like DNA, present in every part of the book, from the title to the chapter titles to the slightest punctuation mark in the shortest sentence, holding the thing together, and giving even a sprawling epic like ATLAS and almost obsessively focused quality.

The result, of course, is that a character cannot so much as move their pinky finger without it being suffused with deep philosophical meaning.

Some like this style, some don't. But it is what makes Rand distinctively Rand.

Jumping in and out of "God-mode" is usually characteristic of novelists who are, to put it diplomatically, not among the best ones, if the author doesn't signal in some way that the point of view is moving from specific character to God-mode--and I don't think that the shift was really signalled. If you want a good example of how to do it well, try Mansfield Park, which is told sometimes from the point of view of Fanny, and sometimes from the point of view of the Author, with a few variations along the way--stray incidents seen through the eyes of Sir Thomas and Mary Crawford, and some things narrated to Fanny by other characters (such as Edmund describing his final meeting with Mary Crawford). You know when the POV has shifted, and it stays shifted for at least a few pages.

Moreover, the shift was totally unneeded. Almost the same exact description could have been narrated through Eddie's eyes, with the addition of perhaps one or two sentences at the most. For instance: As he came into the office, he saw James Taggart at his desk, and saw for a brief moment not as the man he was used to, as the man he grown up with, but as a newcomer would have seen him: with the look of a man who had passed directly from adolescence into adulthood, and missed youth entirely... and so on with the rest of the description. (Of course, that just one possible way of phrasing it. I don't plan on rewriting Rand in toto.)

However, half a chapter does not a novel make. So I'll leave it for now, I just wanted to give some input on what a first time reader might think of it as they began the novel. But I must confess that your reference to Olaf Stapledon's works did tempt me to make a snarky reference to AS. But I gallantly resisted :)

Edit to add: Lest I be thought to be too negative, I should comment that even with all her supposed flaws as a novelist, Rand is a lot better than most of the novelists who now populate the best seller lists. (Dan Brown, I'm looking at you!)

But I still maintain that her best work, from the literary point of view, was her non fiction: she's a great essayist, up there with Charles Lamb and others.

No need to be diplomatic: just say what you mean fully and clearly. If someone else should get offended, that is their business.

But she doesn't jump in and out of the mode. She stays in the mode. I shouldn't have said "head-jump." I meant: character jump. Real literary head-jumping can be seen in something like Bohjalian's Trans-Sister Radio, where the narrative alternates between four different first-person viewpoints. We follow different characters, and are sometimes given some indication as to the direction of their thoughts (think the opening pages of ATLAS, or the lengthy flashback Dagny has to her childhood with Francisco), but analyze the writing and you see that the viewpoint is always and firmly from God's point of view (that is, Rand's, as she is the God of her fictional universe, albeit one who never intervenes). If this style is unchallenging, it isn't inherently weakening to a story. ATLAS SHRUGGED was written in the only way it needed to be written.

One half a chapter does not a novel make, but ATLAS is a unified whole in terms of style and substance. If you don't like the first half-chapter, chances are you won't like the rest of the book.

Dan Brown? Ouch. :lol: The writing in ATLAS SHRUGGED ranges from beautiful to stilted to downright purple. But I always find it engaging. Far superior, in my mind, to the dryness of Melville or the suffocating Schopenhaurian molasses of pretentiousness and sentimentalism that is Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu. Or, hell, the incoherency of Beckett and Joyce (after Dubliners: that work was just god-awful boring. At least Portrait of the Artist is interesting to read). My favorite literary stylist is weird fiction writer Thomas Ligotti, although his negativity would put Aickman and Lovecraft to shame.

Overall, though, I'd say ATLAS deserves a place among the great works of world literature, even if it isn't the most well-written.

Now, see, I read her Virtue of Selfishness recently, and I found her essay work to be subpar. Especially that opening essay, which just seemed to go on forever. :lol:

I LOVE her fiction, but I'm not sold on her non-fiction. I'll try Return of the Primitive next.

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As you point out, it is not a style for everyone.

Finally, I am no expert on Russian fiction, but I believe that long ponderous brooding works are not a surprise.

Adam

Consider, also, that Rand was a Victor Hugo fan.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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> Now, see, I read her Virtue of Selfishness recently, and I found her essay work to be subpar. Especially that opening essay, which just seemed to go on forever. :lol: I LOVE her fiction, but I'm not sold on her non-fiction. I'll try Return of the Primitive next.

Michelle, well all of this is what makes horse-racing so special :rolleyes: Seriously, though, I found VOS less easy to follow immediately after Atlas in college, but Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal blew me away. It answered the questions I had about how it would all work in the wider world - economics, politics, etc. And, for me, CUI actually explained the heart of the ethics better. (The 'trader principle' and the principle of rights and how non-initiation of force works across history and across a whole society illuminates and gives flesh to much of morality.)

I would have to go back and reread VOS to see what bothered me at college age. And if it still does. I remember the essays as being sort of 'dense' (tightly packed without allowing the ideas to breathe...of course Rand is often terse in essays, compressed, compared to fiction.) And preferring most of her other essay collections to that one. The Objectivist Ethics is an important theoretical essay but, like, ITOE, it has to be a bit less flowing or vibrant or stylish because of the technical issues.

In my recollection, the several essays on project Apollo ("Apollo 11" and "") and her environmental ones, such as "The Anti-Industrial Revolution" strike the best balance between philosophy and integration with vivid literary style.

,,,,,,

By the way, thanks for the assist in defending Rand's fiction. I was beginning to feel a bit lonely on an Oist website: My shoulders are sore from all the heavy lifting. ["If you saw Phil Coates, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders........" ]

,,,,,,

Michelle, I have the impression that you and Randall and X-ray are college students. Am I batting a thousand there or more like 333 or 000?

Edited by Philip Coates
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> Russian fiction..long ponderous brooding works are not a surprise. [Adam]

> Consider, also, that Rand was a Victor Hugo fan. [ba'al]

Good points. Even where she did not like some of the giant novels or sense of life of some of them (there's also the more long-winded French writers), immersion in them would enable her to envision a certain depth of treatment that is possible in them and how she might do one someday and that it would suit the length or radicality of what she had to explain and make real.

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> Now, see, I read her Virtue of Selfishness recently, and I found her essay work to be subpar. Especially that opening essay, which just seemed to go on forever. :lol:

I LOVE her fiction, but I'm not sold on her non-fiction. I'll try Return of the Primitive next.

Michelle, well this is what makes horse-racing :rolleyes: Seriously, though, I found VOS less easy to follow immediately after Atlas in college, but Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal blew me away. It answered the questions I had about how it would all work in the wider world - economics, politics, etc. And, for me, CUI actually explained the heart of the ethics better. (The 'trader principle' and the principle of rights and how non-initiation of force works across history and across a whole society illuminates and gives flesh to much of morality.)

I would have to go back and reread VOS to see what bothered me at college age. And if it still does. I remember the essays as being sort of 'dense' (tightly packed without allowing the ideas to breathe...of course Rand is often terse in essays, compressed, compared to fiction.) And preferring most of her other essay collections to that one. The Objectivist Ethics is an important theoretical essay but, like, ITOE, it has to be a bit less flowing or vibrant or stylish because of the technical issues.

The several essays on project Apollo (Apollo 11 and Apollo and Dionysus) and her environmental ones, such as "The Anti-Industrial Revolution", in my recollection, strike the best balance between philosophy and vivid literary style.

,,,,,,

By the way, thanks for the assist in defending Rand's fiction. I was beginning to feel a bit lonely on an Oist website: My shoulders are sore from all the heavy lifting.

,,,,,,

Michelle, I have the impression that you and Randall and X-ray are college students. Am I batting a thousand there or more like 333 or 000?

Thanks for the recommendation, Phil.

In another thread I talk about how I enjoyed the Apollo 11 article. It is fantastic. Best piece of non-fiction writing by her that I've encountered so far.

Many people seem to go to the fiction in order to graduate to the non-fiction, but as a writer (and avid reader), Rand's fiction was (and still is) far more interesting to me, just on a purely literary level. The philosophy is fun to learn and discuss, of course, but I wasn't drawn to that so much as I was to the portrayals of human excellence in her novels. I think this might explain why I enjoy FOUNTAINHEAD more than ATLAS, as well. FOUNTAINHEAD is very focused on this theme of individualism and personal excellence, whereas ATLAS, while still maintaining a lot of that focus, is more concerned with Rand's political ideas.

I love both novels, of course, and some of her earlier work to a lesser extent (still haven't read We the Living for whatever reason, but I have read some of her short stories, Anthem, and Night of January 16th), but in a desert island scenario I'd probably choose FOUNTAINHEAD over ATLAS.

I was in college before I moved to Tennessee with my family. We're working to get back on our feet, and then I'll return to college.

Edited by Michelle R
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