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Volume 6, No. 1 - Fall 2004
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CENTENARY SYMPOSIUM, PART I:
LITERARY AND CULTURAL IMPACT
This symposium is the first of two commemorating the centenary of Ayn Rand's birth.
THE ILLUSTRATED RAND,
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.
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
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
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,
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,
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,
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.
REPLY TO KIRSTI MINSAAS:
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.