Where is Redding?


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On page 42 of Atlas Shrugged, Philip Rearden mentions that he's spent the day "from here to Redding to Wilmington" collecting checks for The Friends of Progress. I have always taken that to be a misspelling of Reading, PA, an industrial and railroad town of some 120,000 that forms a day's circuit with Philly and Wilmington. Others have speculated that the reference is to Redding, CT (a rural town of 8,000, home to the Mark Twain library) or even California. I find this implausible. And I believe the location is mentioned later in the book as west of Rearden's Mills, but I may be imagining this. Also, someone has said that Rand once considered property in Redding, CT which is where I think she merely got the spelling. Can anyone cite where else in AS Redding is mentioned, if it is mentioned?



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For someone who grew up in the Delaware Valley, it would be quite obvious what someone in Philly meant if he said he spent the day "here" and in /rɛdɪŋ/ and Wilmington. I have to assume Rand was familiar with Reading, PA as an industrial railroad town of almost 120,000 at its height (third in size after only Philadelphia and Pittsburgh during the War) and simply misspelled the name. Think about the Reading Rail Road in the game monopoly. There was no larger population town than Philadelphia, Reading or Wilmington within the triangle defined by those three cities, none even close.

The point, Chris, is that either Rand or her editor made a mistake on the spelling of Reading in Atlas Shrugged. This wouldn't be so remarkable if some of her fans didn't insist that she must have meant some town other than Reading, PA. The wikipedia article, for instance, suggests she meant Redding CT. I am curious why this and other odd usages like "I know who is John Galt" were not edited.

The implied belief in textual inerrancy by some Objectivists is bizarre to say the least.

(The wikipedia entry on Redding CT says it was originally spelled Reading after the town in England.)

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  • 1 month later...

I don't consider Atlas free of error. It sounds like Miss Rand may have misheard the name of the town.

She probably heard it pronounced correctly (Reading (PA) is pronounced 'RED-ing'), and then misspelled it as "Redding".

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