Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical

Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical

by Chris M. Sciabarra
     
 

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Author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand (1905–1982) is one of the most widely read philosophers of the twentieth century. Yet, despite the sale of nearly thirty million copies of her works, there have been few extended scholarly examinations of her thought. Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical provides the first comprehensive

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Overview

Author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand (1905–1982) is one of the most widely read philosophers of the twentieth century. Yet, despite the sale of nearly thirty million copies of her works, there have been few extended scholarly examinations of her thought. Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical provides the first comprehensive analysis of the intellectual roots and philosophy of this controversial thinker.

Chris Sciabarra views Rand's "Objectivism" as a rejection—and affirmation—of key elements in the Russian tradition. Born in Russia during the Silver Age, Rand was educated at Leningrad University and studied with N. O. Lossky. She absorbed a dialectical method of inquiry that profoundly influenced her literary and philosophic project. Her distinctive libertarian synthesis is presented as a major contribution to radical social theory. Ultimately, Sciabarra challenges Rand's followers and critics to reassess her thought and its place in intellectual history.

In writing this book, the author conducted original historical research, using materials from the Leningrad archives, interviews with Lossky's descendants and other Russian contemporaries of Rand, and an astounding diversity of sources within the vast written and oral tradition of Objectivism.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Sciabarra shows that Rand is best understood as a postmodern thinker, for she was really concerned with creating a culture that overcame the dichotomies of modernity: empiricism/rationalism; facts/values; body/mind; and prudence/morality. This important and thoughtful work will change how the views of this deep and disturbing thinker are understood.”
—Douglas B. Rasmussen, St. John's University

“Chris Matthew Sciabarra wrote a powerful book. It is not easy reading, but it is a MUST for all Randians, all individualists, and all men and women who believe in and live by the precepts of truth, reason, and freedom.”
—Jack Schwartzman, Fragments

“This book reveals the distinctively Russian aspects of Ayn Rand’s philosophy. As such, it is a major contribution to the public’s knowledge and understanding of this controversial and still popular writer.”
—Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal, Nietzsche in Russia

“[Ayn Rand’s] impact was through her fiction, and attempts to extract her philosophy have usually resulted in thin intellectual chicken soup. This book is an exception. . . . [Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical] is essential for Rand fans and for academics who want to analyze her thought.”
—Leslie Armour, Library Journal

“Several books have been written about Rand, but none with the philosophical depth and scope of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. It brings to light information about Rand’s philosophical education that is not available elsewhere and shows that this education was substantial. Rand’s ideas will no longer be able to be dismissed as merely shallow ideology.”
—Tibor Machan, Auburn University

Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical is a fundamental challenge to everyone to reassess the remarkable thought of a remarkable woman.”
—David M. Brown, The Freeman

Library Journal
Rand is an enduringly popular figure; her books have sold 30 million copies, respondents to a Library of Congress survey said her work was second only to the Bible in its impact on their lives, and The New Yorker has just rediscovered her sex life (July 24, 1995). But her impact was through her fiction, and attempts to extract her philosophy have usually resulted in thin intellectual chicken soup. This book is an exception. Sciabarra, a visiting scholar in politics at NYU, goes back to Rand's Russian roots, arguing that she rejected both Russian religious mysticism and Marxism but clung to what they had in commona rejection of mind-matter dualism and a concentration on the concrete. He also argues (more doubtfully) that she developed her own dialectic of the mutual implication of mind and matter, thought and action, reason and feeling. Sciabarra thinks it is this dialectical tension that gives Rand's ideas power, but he admits she would have rejected the word dialectic and that he is bringing a hidden structure to light. Essential for Rand fans and for academics who want to analyze her thought.Leslie Armour, Univ. of Ottawa

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780271014418
Publisher:
Penn State University Press
Publication date:
06/28/1995
Pages:
496
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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