Centenary Symposium, Part I: Ayn Rand: Literary and Cultural Impact

This symposium is the first of two commemorating the centenary of Ayn Rand's birth.



Volume 6, No. 1 - Fall 2004 Issue #11

TABLE OF CONTENTS

THE ILLUSTRATED RAND, pp. 1-20

CHRIS MATTHEW SCIABARRA

This article surveys the exponential increase in Rand references in scholarly and popular sources to illustrate her cultural ascendancy as an iconic figure. Special attention is paid to Rand's impact on popular literature, television, cartoons, and illustrated media, including comics. Rand's own involvement in illustrated presentations of her ideas is explored, as is her influence on such comic artists as Steve Ditko, Frank Miller, and others. Nathaniel Branden's insights on the role of comics in projecting heroic values are also addressed.

PASSING THE TORCH, pp. 21-65

ERIKA HOLZER

Holzer revisits her personal and professional relationship with literary mentor, Ayn Rand, as she reassesses the impact Rand had on her fiction writing career. Demonstrating how Rand had a profound influence both on what she has written and how she has written it, Holzer gives concrete reality to her early experiences with Rand, turning provocative anecdotes and private conversations into a multifaceted series of revelations: part memoir, part fiction writer's guide, part tribute.

COMPLETING RAND'S LITERARY THEORY, pp. 67-89

STEPHEN COX

Ayn Rand's literary theory is capable of significant development and extension. Particularly worthy of study are relationships between literary principles and literary practices, such as the creation of implicit or explicit patterns of meaning, the use of common experience and common sense, the provision of cognitive and emotional transformation, the application of control devices to guide readers' understanding, and the assessment of literature in respect to standards of truth and taste.

AYN RAND'S INFLUENCE ON AMERICAN POPULAR FICTION, pp. 91-144

JEFF RIGGENBACH

Though an examination of its history lends credence to C. S. Lewis' s view that the concept "popular fiction" points more to a distinction among types of readers than among types of stories, it might still be argued both that Ayn Rand's own fiction shares many of the characteristics associated with "popular fiction" and that she has exercised a substantial influence on a surprisingly diverse group of American writers of "popular fiction," ranging from former acolytes like Kay Nolte Smith and Erika Holzer to Gene Roddenberry, Ira Levin, Terry Goodkind, and other contemporary purveyors of science fiction and crime fiction.

INTEGRATING MIND AND BODY, pp. 145-52

MATTHEW STOLOFF

Objectivism holds that there is no mind-body dichotomy. Unfortunately, many fitness enthusiasts fail to adopt a rational fitness program. This article highlights champion bodybuilder Mike Mentzer's application of Objectivist principles to integrating mind and body. In his books, Ayn Rand's influence on Mentzer's understanding of the science of bodybuilding is clear and incontrovertible. Since Mentzer became an outspoken advocate of Rand's philosophy in the early 1990s, publishing books and numerous articles in several bodybuilding magazines, his impact in the health fitness world has been immeasurable.

THE POETICS OF ADMIRATION: AYN RAND AND THE ART OF HEROIC FICTION, pp. 153-83

KIRSTI MINSAAS

Minsaas explores the role admiration plays in Rand's literary theory. Seeing admiration as the emotional core of what Rand refers to as a moral sense of life, she first discusses the nature of admiration, focusing on the interrelation between its moral and aesthetic aspects. She then examines its specific significance in Rand's heroic poetics, both in the structure of and in the response to heroic fiction. Finally, she points out certain problems pertaining to Rand's rather partisan preference for heroic art, especially the danger of didacticism and Rand's tendency to dismiss the value of other genres, such as tragedy.

THE RUSSIAN CULTURAL CONNECTION: ALEXANDER ETKIND ON AYN RAND, pp. 185-93

CATHY YOUNG

A 2001 book by Russian scholar Alexander Etkind, Tolkovaniye puteshestviy: Rossiya i Amerika v travelogakh i intertekstakh ("The Interpretation of Travels: Russia and America in Travelogues and Intertexts"), examines cross-cultural influences between Russia and America. One chapter is a study of two refugees from totalitarian regimes who became prominent in American intellectual life: Ayn Rand and Hannah Arendt. One of the first analyses of Rand's work to appear in Russian literary criticism, it briefly examines Rand's principal novels and a summary of her philosophy with a special focus on the influence of her Soviet background on her thought.

THE RUSSIAN SUBTEXT OF ATLAS SHRUGGED AND THE FOUNTAINHEAD, pp. 195- 225

BERNICE GLATZER ROSENTHAL

Ayn Rand projected her experiences in Russia onto an American canvas. The collapse of the economy described in Atlas Shrugged actually happened in Russia between 1916 and 1921. The economic and political policies of the government in the novel resemble those of the Bolsheviks in the first decade of their rule. The protagonists of Atlas Shrugged reject Russian values and ideals, especially the mystique of suffering and self-sacrifice. The subtext of The Fountainhead is the intellectual and cultural milieu of the 1920s, the paradigmatic role of architecture, and the spiritual collectivism of prominent Christian opponents of "materialistic" Bolshevism.

DISCUSSION

REPLY TO KIRSTI MINSAAS: TOWARD AN AMERICAN RENAISSANCE, pp. 227-36

ALEXANDRA YORK

York responds to Kirsti Minsaas's Fall 2003 review of her book, FROM THE FOUNTAINHEAD TO THE FUTURE and Other Essays on Art and Excellence, and offers some thoughts on art, Romanticism and heroism. She also calls for a contemporary American Paideia based on the ancient Greek model in order to establish a foundation from which to chart a true renaissance for the United States, which, she claims, will be led by philosophy and the fine arts.

CONTRIBUTOR BIOGRAPHIES

Centenary Symposium, Part I: Ayn Rand: Literary and Cultural Impact

Volume 6, No. 1 - Fall 2004 Issue #11

STEPHEN COX

Professor of Literature and Director of the Humanities Program at the University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, California 92093-0306, is the author, most recently, of The Woman and the Dynamo: Isabel Paterson and the Idea of America (Transaction Publishers).

ERIKA HOLZER

Juris Doctor, New York University Law School, was (with her husband) Ayn Rand's lawyer in the mid- to late-60s. She and her husband co-produced and she co-scripted (with Duncan Scott) the 1941 Italian movie Noi Vivi/Adio Kira, based on Rand's We the Living. A fulltime novelist/essayist, Holzer's fiction includes Double Crossing (Putnam), human-rights espionage, and Eye for an Eye (St. Martin's Press), vigilante "justice"---also a Paramount Pictures feature film (director: John Schlesinger; starring Kiefer Sutherland and Sally Field). Non-fiction books, co-authored with her husband, include: "Aid and Comfort": Jane Fonda in North Vietnam (McFarland) and Fake Warriors (Xlibris).

KIRSTI MINSAAS

University of Oslo, Department of British and American Studies, P. O. Box 1003 Blindern, 0315 Oslo, Norway, is senior lecturer in English literature at the University of Oslo. Her dissertation topic was on the role of Aristotelian catharsis in Shakespearean tragedy, and she is currently working on a project on the "exemplary hero" in English literature from 1590 to 1820. She has also lectured extensively on Ayn Rand's fiction, both in Europe and in the United States.

JEFF RIGGENBACH

is the author of In Praise of Decadence (Prometheus, 1998). He has been a practicing critic of imaginative literature since 1972, publishing widely in newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, Reason, Inquiry, and The Libertarian Review. From 1996 to 2000, he taught courses in philosophy, music appreciation, popular culture, and writing at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco.

BERNICE GLATZER ROSENTHAL

Professor of History, Fordham University, Bronx, New York 10458. Received her Ph.D. in History at the University of California at Berkeley in 1970. She teaches Russian/Soviet History and Intellectual History of Europe, and has published widely on Russian intellectual and cultural history from the late nineteenth century to the present. She has edited anthologies such as Nietzsche in Russia (Princeton University Press) and Nietzsche and Soviet Culture: Ally and Adversary (Cambridge University Press), and is the author of New Myth, New World: From Nietzsche to Stalinism (Pennsylvania State University Press).

CHRIS MATTHEW SCIABARRA

NOTABLOG

received his Ph.D., with distinction, in political theory, philosophy, and methodology from New York University. He is the author of the “Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy,” which includes Marx, Hayek, and Utopia (State University of New York Press, 1995), Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995), and Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000). He is also coeditor, with Mimi Reisel Gladstein, of Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999), and a founding coeditor of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (1999–present). He has written over a dozen encyclopedia entries dealing with Objectivism and libertarianism, given over 50 interviews published in such periodicals as The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Boston Globe , Philadelphia Inquirer, The Village Voice, and The Economist , and published over 150 essays, which have appeared in publications as diverse as Critical Review , Reason Papers , Liberty , Reason, The New York Daily News , Film Score Monthly, Jazz Times , Just Jazz Guitar, and Billboard .

MATTHEW STOLOFF

holds a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Cincinnati, a Masters in Labor Relations and Human Resources from the School of Labor and Industrial Relations at Michigan State University, and a Masters in Criminal Justice from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. His current research interests include labor law, corporate campaigns, and corporate crimes. He authors an online guide to Rand scholarship.

ALEXANDRA YORK

is an internationally published author of books (one a Book of the Month Club selection), magazine and newspaper articles, book and movie reviews, poetry and essays. Published by Macmillan, McGraw-Hill, Ballentine, Berkley-Jove, and Van Nostrand, she has also written and hosted TV and network radio shows. Her work has appeared in publications as varied as Reader's Digest, Vogue, USA Today, The Intellectual Activist and Vital Speeches of the Day. She is former editor of ART Ideas, an arts and cultural magazine published by American Renaissance for the Twenty-first Century (ART), a New York-based nonprofit foundation of which she is the founding president.

CATHY YOUNG

was born in Moscow, Russia in 1963 and emigrated to the United States in 1980. She graduated from Rutgers University in 1988 with a degree in English. After writing a weekly op-ed column for The Detroit News from 1993 to 2000, she became a weekly columnist for The Boston Globe. She is also a columnist for Reason magazine and a research associate with the Cato Institute.