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A feature of The Fountainhead is that she started with a character who produced an

idea, insteadof an idea which produced characters. She experienced a major "eureka!" event

in forming the character Peter Keating from observations of a real person. She drew

gargantuan conclusions in enormous entwined spheres and levels of connections. Her conclusions

weren't necessarily accurate, but something her story has done has been to teach many who have

taken Rand as exactly portraying truth to see examples of Keating and other "second-handlers"

all around them.

Ellen

Yee, she provided them with a telescopic view of that fuzzy archetype with her clarity of vision and focused mind.

A...

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A feature of The Fountainhead is that she started with a character who produced an idea, instead of an idea which produced characters. She experienced a major "eureka!" event in forming the character Peter Keating from observations of a real person. She drew gargantuan conclusions in enormous entwined spheres and levels of connections. Her conclusions weren't necessarily accurate, but something her story has done has been to teach many who have taken Rand as exactly portraying truth to see examples of Keating and other "second-handlers" all around them. Ellen

Yee, she provided them with a telescopic view of that fuzzy archetype with her clarity of vision and focused mind. A...

I think her telescopic view distorts as much as clarifies reality.

Next...details of her experience of revelation

Ellen

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A feature of The Fountainhead is that she started with a character who produced an idea, instead of an idea which produced characters. She experienced a major "eureka!" event in forming the character Peter Keating from observations of a real person. She drew gargantuan conclusions in enormous entwined spheres and levels of connections. Her conclusions weren't necessarily accurate, but something her story has done has been to teach many who have taken Rand as exactly portraying truth to see examples of Keating and other "second-handlers" all around them. Ellen

Yee, she provided them with a telescopic view of that fuzzy archetype with her clarity of vision and focused mind. A...

I think her telescopic view distorts as much as clarifies reality.

Next...details of her experience of revelation

Ellen

Depends on which end you use...

and how you process what you think you "see."

A...

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She experienced a major "eureka!" event in forming the character Peter Keating from observations of a real person.

I disbelieve it. What evidence do you have other than two garbled reports?

BB quotes Rand: "I was dying to tell her how much she contributed to the book - that she was Miss Peter Keating."

Heller: "Rand liked to tell the story of how she conceived of Peter Keating..." [repeats BB's account, adds conjecture]

Comments on the Heller book are pertinent:

The book is laden with anecdotes about Rand. Heller acknowledges interviewing many people in their 70s and 80s for the book. One has to wonder how many of these anecdotes were embellished or even invented in the many years since the interviewees would have had any contact with Rand. Interesting reading, yes, but sometimes they just don't feel right - they are more like what you would expect to find in a Kitty Kelly biography. [Jerry Sapenstein]

...specious judgments, remarks based on incomplete research, and alleged facts attributed in citations to sources that don't contain the claimed information... Rand's proposed 1928 novel "The Little Street" is described by Heller several times as "unpublished" (pgs. 60, 101) or as a "novella" (pgs. 70, 71) without mention of it not going beyond the note-making stage, so the word "unfinished" would be far more appropriate than "unpublished." Heller says that Rand "spends pages describing" her protagonist, although the number of pages these notes occupy in "Journals of Ayn Rand" is a mere four. The effect of Heller's distortions here is that readers are led to think that Rand spent more time thinking through a work about the mental workings of a murderer than Rand actually did spend in producing nothing more than notes, most of which are on characters other than the murderer. [David P. Hayes]

My favorite reminiscence about Rand -- as presented by Heller -- is the "why can't I have what I want" childhood tantrum over tea and some blouse, which according to Heller, was the driving force behind her entire philosophical system. No kids, it wasn't the projection of an ideal man and a philosophy of reason made real, her desire to fight for freedom and individualism -- it was all so she could get her way, child that she was. Heller claims that Rand "transformed her native sense of entitlement into an integrated sense of life." Got that? Ayn Rand was out for entitlement. And that's what Objectivism is really all about... Needless to say, if you are looking for an objective biography on Rand this is not it. Even philosophically, Heller does not seem to grasp the basic tenets of Objectivism. Her summaries of Rand's work do not contain any of the most beautifully written quotes. Instead, they are broad strokes, boring summaries that leave out the juice of what made those works so popular but instead focus on Rand's "rape scenes" and other salacious nonsense, to continue forward with the thesis I mention above... Heller does a masterful job of re-telling Rand's life through the lens of failure, depression and defeat -- and using lots and lots of people, but never acknowledging their help. [sho Eusugi]

I gave an extensive taped interview to Anne Heller when she convinced me she intended to write a serious thoughtful biography... I have the transcript of the tape Anne made of our interview; my story was told in detail. Anne Heller wrote the essentials of my meeting Ayn on page 265 and 266, but credited a friend of mine, whom I had introduced to Ayn's philosophy. When I made an irate phone call giving her the page numbers of the transcript where I gave her the correct story, she told me she got the information from Jeff Britting, archivist at the Ayn Rand Center, who gave her information my friend had given him. My friend's memory of the year she met Ayn was incorrect. Anne did not check this against my first-hand account and consequently what she wrote is partly accurate and partly inaccurate. She also referred to me as "another helper" in the typing of the manuscript of Atlas and told a story I gave her about how Ayn would stand outside the door and listen to us proofread the pages. I was hardly just "another helper." There are other errors that I saw. I cannot comment on anything prior to the time I met Ayn and the events I was directly involved in, but the references to Kathleen Nickerson and me on pp.265-266 in this edition are not what happened. [Daryn Kent-Duncan]

In a book full of questionable conclusions about Rand, Heller in Chapter 16 says that Rand was less than heroic in the face of physical pain, and refused to do her "walks" to recover from her sickness in the middle seventies. Yet in 1976 I saw with my own eyes Rand and Frank O'Conner walking on Lexington Avenue and 33rd Street. Rand was stretching out her leg, and at one point, made what seemed to be a frontal karate kick with her right leg. From the other side of the street, I could see the fierce determination on her face, almost like an athlete striving to score a winning touchdown, or a boxer trying to win by a knockout. [Alan Tucker]

Every page echos the author's disdain for Rand and her ideas. Every page includes implicit and explicit digs at Rand the person, Rand's ideas, as well as people who subscribe to or appreciate Rand's ideas. [blake McBride]

Most of the positive reviews cite Ms. Heller's meticulous sourcing as proof that her conclusions are correct. I cannot say the same because of Heller's technique of narrating an event by listing several accounts and then her own speculation as the final version of what happened. An example is the account of Rand's meeting with Cecil B. DeMille on page 62. Heller quotes several familiar descriptions of that meeting from Rand's published work and her colleagues. Heller finishes with "People who knew [Rand] imagine that the episode may have unfolded in yet another way" and quotes an unflattering joke from a hostile relative as the authoritative version. [Kincaid]

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Rand's Revelation - 1

First Heller's version. I've left out a few sentences which I think are either a bit facile regarding what Rand saw as Bannett's characteristics or a subtle slam at Rand herself.

Ayn Rand and the World She Made

by Anne C. Heller

2009, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday

pp. 109-110

The conversation was a revelation to Rand. By her standards, Marcella seemed not to want anything for herself. [....] Although some people might have called Marcella selfish because she set her sights on luxury and status, Rand didn't look at it that way. On reflection, she saw that the young woman was actually "selfless," in the sense that she had no authentic self with which to desire or create anything that was hers alone.

Marcella's quality of selflessness, or lack of passionately held ideas and values, explained why she and so many other people Rand knew conformed to apparently meaningless conventions. It gave her the key to a problem that had puzzled her since childhood: why people who were so much less intelligent and passionate than she was treated her with such unfriendly indifference or even malice, seemingly because of her gifts.

Pondering her conversation with Marcella, she concluded that her resolve to do and think what she wanted, so different from what others seemed to want, challenged the premises of their existence. Not only was she a genius surrounded by mediocrities, as her mother had often reminded her in letters. She also possessed a moral independence and integrity that the others did not. to some degree, she, like her 1934 character Kay Gonda, shamed them merely by living. [Ideal was written about two years after the conversation with Marcella.]

Marcella's admission stirred a broader revelation. It explained the psychological source of what she called "the collectivist motivation," by which she meant the drive to seek the meaning of one's life outside oneself. Collectivists hunger for an all-knowing deity, an altruistic purpose, or a dictator to tell them what to do as a fig leaf for their own inadequacy and emptiness; they love what is average and "selfless" and fear what is exceptional, original, and has to be created by the self. Such people live by others' choices. They exist at second hand. The absence of an authentic selfishness - that is, a desire to live by one's own principles, based on the action of one's own mind - this, she decided, was what the Bolshevik mobs, Russian Orthodox votaries, and ordinary Americans had in common.

And so Peter Keating was born, with the soul of a second-hander.

Ellen

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I gave the wrong page numbers for an excerpt quoted in post #11.

I noticed too late to edit the post.

Ayn Rand and the World She Made

by Anne C. Heller

2009, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday

pp. 131-132 [CORRECTION: pp. 108-109]

[some paragraph breaks added]

[...] Roark did not provide the first germ of the idea for The Fountainhead. His glossy, callow schoolmate and opposite number, Peter Keating, did. [....]

Ellen

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Wolf,

Re post #55, I think there's a lot of distortion, game-playing with the use of witnesses, and snideness about Rand In Heller's book. I could add loads more to the examples you cited.

The story regarding the idea for Second-Hand Lives, later The Fountainhead, however, comes in its basic form from taped interviews of Rand done by Barbara Branden in 1961-62 in preparation for Barbara's writing the biographical essay in Who Is Ayn Rand?.

Rand's own Journal notes for the book flesh out her thinking in process.

Ellen

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Who Is Ayn Rand?

Barbara Branden's biographical essay

pg. 192

[Rand] conceived the idea of the novel when she was still living in Hollywood. She was acquainted with a girl whose psychology puzzled her. [....]

Barbara proceeds to tell the same story as is told in The Passion of Ayn Rand. The version in Who Is Ayn Rand? had Rand's direct approval. I see no reason to doubt that it's the way Rand herself thought the process happened. Maybe Rand re-wrote in memory over the years. But there are the Journals, which give corroboration to the way Rand was thinking.

Ellen

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Wolf,

Re post #55, I think there's a lot of distortion, game-playing with the use of witnesses, and snideness about Rand In Heller's book. I could add loads more to the examples you cited.

The story regarding the idea for Second-Hand Lives, later The Fountainhead, however, comes in its basic form from taped interviews of Rand done by Barbara Branden in 1961-62 in preparation for Barbara's writing the biographical essay in Who Is Ayn Rand?.

Rand's own Journal notes for the book flesh out her thinking in process.

Ellen

I have written book-length fiction. Not as complex or concise or elegant as Rand, but novels nevertheless. Several of my minor characters were inspired by physical characteristics and personalities of real people. Yet if you showed them the characters they "became" in fiction, not one of them would recognize himself.* Nor was it an effort to disguise anyone. The business of creating a fictional character does not proceed from observation of life, but rather what best serves the theme and rigid strictures of plot (in the Objectivist tradition).

Nothing will persuade me to believe that a girl next door in 1929 had any bearing on creative development ten years later of Peter Keating, his mother's boarding house in Stanton, Peter's lame affection for and honorable defense of Catherine Halsey, anger and helplessness with Dominique, blackmail and "murder" of Heyer, dependence on Toohey, resentment of Roark, and the ultimate disaster of Keating's life.

Not even if Rand herself recounted a eureka moment. She fabricated and misremembered much. It's an occupational hazard.

------

* My first book was autobiographical. It was not fiction in the sense I am discussing above.

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Nothing will persuade me to believe that a girl next door in 1929 had any bearing on creative development ten years later of Peter Keating, his mother's boarding house in Stanton, Peter's lame affection for and honorable defense of Catherine Halsey, anger and helplessness with Dominique, blackmail and "murder" of Heyer, dependence on Toohey, resentment of Roark, and the ultimate disaster of Keating's life.

Facts?

Reason?

Truth?

--Brant

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Yet if you showed them the characters they "became" in fiction, not one of them would recognize himself.

Marcella Rabwin neé Bannett didn't recognize herself in Keating. So what? Doesn't mean that she wasn't the inspiration for the character. No one said that Rand copied the girl's biography.

Nothing will persuade me to believe that a girl next door in 1929 had any bearing on creative development ten years later of Peter Keating, [...].

The girl was living next door to Rand in 1931-1932. Rand had already started to think of the story in 1934. Her first notes are dated December 4, 1935.

If nothing, including Rand's recorded say-so, will convince you that the girl-next-door was the inspiration for Peter Keating, whose character in turn was the catalyst for the book, well, then, nothing will convince you.

Ellen

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The girl was living next door to Rand in 1931-1932... first notes are dated December 4, 1935.

What bothers me intensely about this ooooooo is it has nothing to do with the novel, the actual text, the finished work that took ten years and arguably longer to develop, because the scenario she wrote for DeMille's Skyscraper had dueling architects, the hero of which stood at the top of the completed building, threw his head back and laughed. She had the experience of working in Ely Jacques Khan's office. She wrote to Wright asking for an interview.

It's all of a piece, this extra-textual digging and theorizing and pawing over her grave. The only thing the matters is the text, not who wrote it, or how, or why, or whether her private life made any sense. Her private notes and interviews and correspondence should have been burned.

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"...and ordinary Americans"?

Heller wrote - the last paragraph of the excerpt I quoted yesterday:

Ayn Rand and the World She Made

by Anne C. Heller

2009, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday

pg. 110

[bold emphasis added]

Marcella's admission stirred a broader revelation. It explained the psychological source of what [Rand] called "the collectivist motivation," by which she meant the drive to seek the meaning of one's life outside oneself. [....] The absence of an authentic selfishness - that is, a desire to live by one's own principles, based on the action of one's own mind - this, she decided, was what the Bolshevik mobs, Russian Orthodox votaries, and ordinary Americans had in common

I question the inclusion of "ordinary Americans." What was Rand's assessment of the general American populace, as distinguished from the intellectuals, during the years when she wrote The Fountainhead? It might have varied during those years. Her experience working on the Willkie campaign seems to have given her a respect for the American "man in the street." In any case, at Roark's trial, it's "ordinary" people on the jury who acquit Roark.

Yesterday - because of an issue Wolf raised - I began perusing Barbara Branden's biographical contribution to Who Is Ayn Rand?, the version of Rand's life story, up to 1962, which Rand herself accepted.

Here's a relevant passage:

Who Is Ayn Rand?

1962, Random House

pp. 182-183

[ellipsis in original]

In 1930, Ayn Rand began outlining We the Living [which was called Airtight then].

"We the Living - she has stated [in her Foreword to the 1959 Random House edition] - "is not a novel 'about Soviet Russia.' It is a novel about Man against the State. Its basic theme is the sanctity of human life - using the word 'sanctity' not in the mystical sense, but in the sense of 'supreme value.' The essence of my theme is contained in the words of Irina, a minor character of the story, a young girl who is sentenced to imprisonment in Siberia and knows that she will never return: 'There's something I would like to understand. And I don't think anyone can explain it....There's your life. You begin it, feeling that it's something so precious and rare, so beautiful that it's like a sacred treasure. Now it's over, and it doesn't make any difference to anyone, and it isn't that they are indifferent, it's just that they don't know, they don't know what it means, that treasure of mine, and there's something about it that they should understand. I don't understand it myself, but there's something that should be understood by all of us. Only what is it? What?'

"At that time, I knew a little more about this question than did Irina, but not much more. I knew that this attitude toward one's own life should be, but is not, shared by all people - that it is the fundamental characteristic of the best among men - that its absence represents some enormous evil which had never been identified. I knew that this is the issue at the base of all dictatorships, all collectivist theories and all human evils - and that political or economic issues are merely derivatives and consequences of this basic primary. At that time, I looked at any advocates of dictatorship and collectivism with an incredulous contempt: I could not understand how any man could be so brutalized as to claim the right to dispose of the lives of others, nor how any man could be so lacking in self-esteem as to grant to others the right to dispose of his life. Today, the contempt has remained; the incredulity is gone, since I know the answer."

At the time of writing We the Living, it was apparent to her that Americans did not recognize the full nature of the evil of collectivism; she did not yet know the extent to which sympathy with the collectivist ideology was growing and spreading. She was aware of the lip service which Americans paid to altruism; she was not yet aware of the extent to which altruism was an active political and cultural influence. The political tradition of America was implicitly individualistic; she believed that that base was firm - and that the demonstration of the link between altruism and collectivism would be a major blow to altruism in the mind of any honest man.

Ellen

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In any case, at Roark's trial, it's "ordinary" people on the jury who acquit Roark.

-- the least convincing, most implausible passage of the story. Ordinary Americans rejected Rand, re-elected FDR, Obama.

"Ordinary Americans" do not know her so they couldn't reject her. Rand wrote mostly for work-oriented men who use their heads apart from their hearts. Hugo wrote for one and all, so to say. When Rand died 900 came to the funeral home. When Hugo died people poured out onto the streets of Paris to honor him. One account mentioned it was in excess of six figures. Such is the appeal of socialism-emotionalism-nationalism. (France had just had its ass whipped by the Prussians.) Hugo wrote for people. Rand wrote for philosophy. (These are basic points. Rand, of course, had an audience in mind. Her kind of "man.")

--Brant

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Folks:

I am not positive, however, was the jury in the film all male?

Also, in the book, is there a reference to the composition of the jury?

A...

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I don't remember if the jury is all male, in the movie or in the book, but I remember that there was something about the jurors Roark wanted being ones which the prosecutors thought were bad choices.

Ellen

Thanks Ellen.

I don't have the time to check it now.

I've chosen juries with clients and it is a fascinating process.

Some good movies about juries and selection decisions.

12 Angry Men - with Fonda, Begley, Wally Cox, a very young Jack Klugman and a slew of others.

A...

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