The Romantic Manifesto: A Philosophy of Literature; Revised Edition

Overview

In this beautifully written and brilliantly reasoned book, Ayn Rand throws a new light on the nature of art and its purpose in human life. Once again Miss Rand eloquently demonstrates her refusal to let popular catchwords and conventional ideas stand between her and the truth as she has discovered it. The Romantic Manifesto takes its place beside The Fountainhead as one of the most important achievements of our time.

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Overview

In this beautifully written and brilliantly reasoned book, Ayn Rand throws a new light on the nature of art and its purpose in human life. Once again Miss Rand eloquently demonstrates her refusal to let popular catchwords and conventional ideas stand between her and the truth as she has discovered it. The Romantic Manifesto takes its place beside The Fountainhead as one of the most important achievements of our time.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451149169
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/28/1971
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 582,055
  • Product dimensions: 6.84 (w) x 4.08 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand is one of the rare writers who not only drew in readers with her novels, but created a philosophical movement with them. Her seminal Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, cornerstones of her individualistic Objectivist world view, can be viewed as literature, self-empowerment texts, or both.

Biography

Ayn Rand was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 2, 1905. At age six she taught herself to read and two years later discovered her first fictional hero in a French magazine for children, thus capturing the heroic vision that sustained her throughout her life. At the age of nine she decided to make fiction writing her career. Thoroughly opposed to the mysticism and collectivism of Russian culture, she thought of herself as a European writer, especially after encountering authors such as Walter Scott and—in 1918—Victor Hugo, the writer she most admired.

During her high school years, she was eyewitness to both the Kerensky Revolution, which she supported, and—in 1917—the Bolshevik Revolution, which she denounced from the outset. In order to escape the fighting, her family went to the Crimea, where she finished high school. The final Communist victory brought the confiscation of her father's pharmacy and periods of near-starvation. When introduced to American history in her last year of high school, she immediately took America as her model of what a nation of free men could be.

When her family returned from the Crimea, she entered the University of Petrograd to study philosophy and history. Graduating in 1924, she experienced the disintegration of free inquiry and the takeover of the university by communist thugs. Amidst the increasingly gray life, her one great pleasure was Western films and plays. Long a movie fan, she entered the State Institute for Cinema Arts in 1924 to study screen writing.

In late 1925 she obtained permission to leave Soviet Russia for a visit to relatives in the United States. Although she told Soviet authorities that her visit would be short, she was determined never to return to Russia. She arrived in New York City in February 1926. She spent the next six months with her relatives in Chicago, obtained an extension to her visa, and then left for Hollywood to pursue a career as a screenwriter.

On Ayn Rand's second day in Hollywood, Cecil B. DeMille saw her standing at the gate of his studio, offered her a ride to the set of his movie The King of Kings, and gave her a job, first as an extra, then as a script reader. During the next week at the studio, she met an actor, Frank O'Connor, whom she married in 1929; they were married until his death fifty years later.

After struggling for several years at various non-writing jobs, including one in the wardrobe department at the RKO Corporation, she sold her first screenplay, Red Pawn to Universal Studios in 1932 and saw her first stage play, Night of January 16th, produced in Hollywood and then on Broadway. Her first novel, We the Living, was completed in 1933 but was rejected by publishers for years, until The Macmillan Company in the United States and Cassells and Company in England published the book in 1936. The most autobiographical of her novels—it was based on her years under Soviet tyranny—We the Living was not well-received by American intellectuals and reviewers. Ayn Rand was up against the pro-communism dominating the culture during "the Red Decade."

She began writing The Fountainhead in 1935. In the character of the architect Howard Roark, she presented for the first time the kind of hero whose depiction was the chief goal of her writing: the ideal man, man as "he could be and ought to be." The Fountainhead was rejected by twelve publishers but finally accepted by the Bobbs-Merrill Company. When published in 1943, it made history by becoming a best seller through word-of-mouth two years later, and gained for its author lasting recognition as a champion of individualism.

Ayn Rand returned to Hollywood in late 1943 to write the screenplay for The Fountainhead, but wartime restrictions delayed production until 1948. Working part time as a screenwriter for Hal Wallis Productions, she began her major novel, Atlas Shrugged, in 1946. In 1951 she moved back to New York City and devoted herself full time to the completion of Atlas Shrugged.

Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged was her greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatized her unique philosophy in an intellectual mystery story that integrated ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics and sex. Although she considered herself primarily a fiction writer, she realized that in order to create heroic fictional characters, she had to identify the philosophic principles that make such individuals possible. She needed to formulate "a philosophy for living on earth."

Thereafter, Ayn Rand wrote and lectured on her philosophy—Objectivism. She published and edited her own periodicals from 1962 to 1976, her essays providing much of the material for nine books on Objectivism and its application to the culture. Ayn Rand died on March 6, 1982, in her New York City apartment.

Every book by Ayn Rand published in her lifetime is still in print, and hundreds of thousands of copies are sold each year, so far totaling more than twenty million. Several new volumes have been published posthumously. Her vision of man and her philosophy for living on earth have changed the lives of thousands of readers and launched a philosophic movement with a growing impact on American culture.

Author biography courtesy of The Ayn Rand Institute.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Alice Rosenbaum (real name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 2, 1905
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Petersburg, Russia
    1. Date of Death:
      March 6, 1982
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York

Table of Contents

Introduction
1. The Psycho-Epistemology of Art
2. Philosophy and Sense of Life
3. Art and Sense of Life
4. Art and Cognition
5. Basic Principles of Literature
6. What Is Romanticism?
7. The Esthetic Vacuum of Our Age
8. Bootleg Romanticism
9. Art and Moral Treason
10. Introduction to Ninety-Three
11. The Goal of My Writing
12. The Simplest Thing in the World

Index

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2007

    A reviewer

    In 'The Romantic Manifesto,' Ayn Rand examines the relationship between reason and art, focussing primarily on Romantic literature but also considering the other arts including music and dance. She puts forth an hypothesis about the relationship between music and cognition, and she discusses the relationship between Romantic literature and volition. In every chapter she has something important and brilliant to say about the nature of art, inspiring readers to examine the role of art in their own lives.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2007

    Art as a Value

    I found this work of Ayn Rand's intriguing, not only in terms of literary criticism but with respect to her whole approach to art as a value in human life. In fact, it's the latter which makes the book unique. Her approach is an education in itself as the thinking reader at the end of it is left to ponder just why their favourite works of art are what they are. Further, her value-oriented approach leads to a new classificational concept, of 'romantic realist' art. Whether a person likes 'romatic realist' art or not, I believe it is a very useful concept to have in your analysis kit because it enables categorisation of art work in a more precise way. For Ayn Rand fans, the RM has an additional worth. You can discover what sort of works she loved and did not love as she analyses each work. If you follow the reasoning that art can reveal your deeply- and even deepest-held values, then her selections reveal a tremendous amount about her. And in reading RM, I found the revelations extremely interesting.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2003

    Who says rationality doesn't apply to art?

    In this great book, Ayn Rand shows how to rationally interpret art. That's not to say one piece of art can be rationally 'better' than another, because rationally evaluating art involves comparing it with the values of the viewer. Since different people have different values, they can rationally disagree about art. For example, my high valuation of reason is largely responsible for my appreciation of this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2000

    Good art is not a mystery.

    It breaks down the idea that great art is some untangible, mystical thing . Even though she focuses on writing and painting, I apply it to all categories of art. One of the main points that I got out of the book is to focus on what is important to me and do that. Give myself a concrete example of the beliefs and values that are important to me. It is a very inspiring book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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