Ayn Rand originally envisioned Atlas Shrugged as a socio-political novel that would build on the ethical ideas of The Fountainhead, but as she worked on Atlas, she developed and revised her ethical thought in unexpected ways. In his lecture course “Ayn Rand’s Ethics: From The Fountainhead to Atlas Shrugged,” available at ARI’s eStore, Darryl Wright explores how, and why, her ideas changed — as well as what did not change.
In Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, there’s an unforgettable Thanksgiving scene at the mansion of Hank Rearden, a self-made millionaire industrialist whose achievements include the invention — after ten years of toil — of a revolutionary new metal, stronger, cheaper and more durable than steel. In addition to Rearden, seated at the table for Thanksgiving dinner are his mother, his wife Lillian, and his brother Philip, all of whom are wholly dependent on Rearden and his wealth.
ARI has held worldwide essay contests for students on Ayn Rand’s fiction for thirty years. This year we will award over 750 prizes totaling more than $130,000. Last year’s contestants read and responded to essay prompts on Ayn Rand’s Anthem, The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged. You can read all three winning essays on our essay contest page.
Recently I was in New York with Greg Salmieri to broadcast the tenth regular episode of The Atlas Project, on the occasion of our completion of the first section of the novel, “Part I: Non-Contradiction.” In our New York City classroom in a Fifth Avenue skyscraper, overlooking Central Park, we met with one of our largest groups of in-person attendees.
“The roots of my article ‘Publishing Atlas Shrugged’ — and similar articles in Robert Mayhew’s collections about the other Ayn Rand novels — are in my work supporting the promotion and marketing of books by Ayn Rand, first as a consulting advisor and more recently as publishing manager at the Ayn Rand Institute,” says Richard Ralston.
“In my chapter title, ‘Discovering Atlantis’ refers to a scene where Hank Rearden says he feels like he’s discovering a new continent, and there are some allusions that connect this to the Atlantis image that’s present elsewhere in the novel,” says Gregory Salmieri, talking about his essay “Discovering Atlantis: Atlas Shrugged’s Demonstration of a New Moral Philosophy.”
“Ayn Rand described the theme of her novel Atlas Shrugged as the role of the mind in human existence,” says Gregory Salmieri, “and I thought it would be good to have a piece summarizing what the novel had to say about that topic.”
October 10 is the 60th anniversary of the publication of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. To commemorate that event, we asked Jeff Britting, curator of the Ayn Rand Archives, to supply us with images and text from one of the many exhibits he has mounted over the years, this one devoted to Rand’s handwritten notes and drafts for the novel, which was published in 1957.