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Book Title: The Romantic Manifesto: A Philosophy of Literature|
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Reader ratings: 3.6
The author of the book: Ayn Rand
Edition: Blackstone Audiobooks
Date of issue: July 1st 2008
ISBN 13: 9781433226694
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 5.64 MB
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With this one, Rand really jumped the shark for me.
I was willing to try her philosophical essays in The Virtue of Selfishness, and I read a couple of her novels as well. But, the zealous condemning of whole branches of art and literature, because it didn't fit with her idea of what art should do? Condemning Dostoyevski and embracing James Bond? Not that there's anything wrong with Ian Flemming, but still.
To make it clear what I'm arguing AGAINST, let me tell you the thesis Rand is arguing in this one: Art should glorify mankind and relish in his good qualities. It shouldn't attempt to make us empathetic towards those who aren't righteous, because the dregs of society aren't a worthy subject of literature.
If that's what she wants to read, I am fine with that. But I like the dregs! The dregs are so much more interesting! Because it is the imperfect characters that make us work as readers and as writers. Through meditating on imperfection, we are forced to confront our own. And, we are forced to be empathetic (at least a little bit) to characters like Humbert Humbert and Raskolnikov (however you spell his name). So, while we can all look up to that bitter, womanizing 007 for his pimpjuice and his manliness (they may be synonyms, but I'm not going to ask the O.E.D. or Nelly to find out), we can ALSO read about less idealized characters and be reminded that people are complex and most have a combination of good and bad in them.
In sum, I believe that different sorts of art speak to different sorts of people, and equally intelligent people can read for very different reasons. (I know, I know. I've made fun of Twilight in at least five book reviews. But, that's just because it's inconsistent, sappy and perverse . . damn! There I go again. What I meant to say is, it's all in good fun.) So, I think it is remarkably silly for anyone to spend a whole book arguing why one aesthetic sensibility is more valid or morally sound than another.
Says the guy who recommended Killer Crabs. . . .
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Read information about the authorAlisa Rosenbaum was born in pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg to a prosperous Jewish family. When the Bolsheviks requisitioned the pharmacy owned by her father, Fronz, the Rosenbaums fled to the Crimea. Alisa returned to the city (renamed Leningrad) to attend the university, but in 1926 relatives who had already settled in America offered her the chance of joining them there. With money from the sale of her mother's jewelry, Alisa bought a ticket to New York. On arrival at Ellis Island, she changed into Ayn (after a name of some Finnish author, probably "Aino") Rand (which she said was an abbreviation of her Russian surname). She moved swiftly to Hollywood, where she learned English, worked in the RKO wardrobe department and as an extra, and wrote through the night on screenplays and novels. She also married a bit-part actor called Frank O'Connor because he was 'beautiful' - and because her original visitor's visa had run out.
Rand sold her first screenplay in 1932, but nobody would buy her first novel We the Living (1936) a melodrama set in Russia. Her first real success was The Fountainhead (rejected by more than ten publishers before publication in 1943).
She started a new philosophy known as Objectivism, opposed to state interference of all kinds, and her follow-up novel Atlas Shrugged (1957) describes a group who attempt to escape America's conspiracy of mediocrity. Objectivism has been an influence on various other movements such as Libertarianism, and Rand's vocal support for Laissez-faire Capitalism and the free market has earned her a distinct spot among American philosophers, and philosophers in general.
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