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Saturday, April 3, 2004 - 4:19amSanction this postReply
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Here is a question I posed last year on the general yahoo forum with no result.
Does anyone know what Rand's comments on Orwell's "1984" were? In her book, "the art of fiction" she merely lists "1984" together with "Atlas Shruuged" and "Anthem" as example of fantasy writing. Not that she commented on it, but she didn't say anything negative - nor did she list it seperately. In the style of the rest of the book, it would be unusual for her not to say something strongly negative about "1984",  if she had thought so. Linz tells me that Rand was critical of the idea that a totalaterien society like that of "big brother" would be able to develop advanced technology to monitor their own citizens. (Nevertheless, I think that Orwell implies that the corupt regime may have only inherited the technology from an earlier Government or Revolutionary Regime. Remember all the depressing dust and decay that is pervading around Winston Smith? Also, there is still some transition taking place during even Winston's time towards the ultimate big brother "state".) However, I can't find Rand's quote anywhere. I have easily found her comments on "Animal Farm" in her letters, but not anything about "1984".

In case, no one can help out on this front, maybe you would like to comment on Rand's admiration of the works of Oscar Wilde and Tchaikovsky? Anyone? She mentions in the "art of fiction" that "the importance of being earnest" is an example of benevolent fiction.


Post 1

Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 1:51pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Perigoís source was probably the early book Who Is Ayn Rand? I do not believe there are any published direct quotations. The relevant passage occurs on page 93 of the book in its 1962 paperback edition.

What you say about Orwellís views on technology may be true; it has been quite some time since I read the book. But one would expect an opponent of totalitarianism to give the matter some thought, and if his view was close to Randís I would have thought it would figure thematically in the novel somehow.

(Edited by Rodney Rawlings on 4/04, 2:27pm)


Post 2

Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 2:00pmSanction this postReply
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Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff are both mentioned in the very famous scene in The Fountainhead with the boy on the bicycle. She mentions the formerís First Concerto and the latterís Second. You will find this scene at the beginning of Part 4. Rand has mentioned both these composers several times in her corpus. The reason is their extreme melodicism, a concept that figures greatly in that scene from the novel.

We the Living mentions that Leo Kovalensky would shock people with Oscar Wilde quotations, if I remember correctly.

 

(Edited by Rodney Rawlings on 4/04, 2:34pm)


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Monday, April 5, 2004 - 2:54amSanction this postReply
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Thanks Rodney for those references.
I didn't actually remember any of those references in "we the living" or the "fountainhead", I will have to check them out.

Alas, I don't think Orwell found the intellectual link between liberty and free market economics. That is why he remained an ardent socialist and believed in the nationalisation of industry. He was really more concerned with liberty in order to uphold "freedom of speech" (linked to the need to always disclose the truth), "privacy" and an objective and fair "justice" system. To a certain extent this was probably derived from his own "selfish" interests as a journalist, editor and novelist.


Post 4

Friday, April 16, 2004 - 8:19amSanction this postReply
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It is worth noting that one of the chief targets of satire in 1984 is the Anti-Realist perspective in metaphysics and epistemology. Winston's last free thought is that if he can say that two plus two is four, then he is free, because he has resisted the party's manipulation of reality. The party has a different view - if the party says that something is true, then it is. Not metaphorically, but literally.

Post 5

Thursday, July 1, 2004 - 12:25pmSanction this postReply
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It has been a while since I read Atlas shrugged and I dont have a copy handy.
At the end of the book, Galt is taken to a facility where he is to be turtured by some machine.
This reminded me of 1984 when Winston was bieng tortured.
Anyone else see a similarity?
And if so, was this intentional?

Post 6

Thursday, July 1, 2004 - 11:37pmSanction this postReply
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Dana,

First of all, welcome to SOLO.

Now, I see only slight similarity .  They do both have a climax in a torture chamber, and both are a direct result of the hero going against a totalitarian state.  But what other course does the state have?  Torture, if you want to try to "persuade" them to behave.  Or just death.  Both authors recognized that it was man's mind that was under attack by these thugs.

The similarity seems to end there, though.  In one (Atlas Shrugged), the hero overcomes the torture.  Although physically he's hurt, he knows that they can't touch his mind.  And he conquers them by showing exactly that.

In the other, the hero is mentally destroyed.  His fear of physical torture drives him insane, and he abandons logic.


Post 7

Friday, July 2, 2004 - 9:20amSanction this postReply
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True...in 1984, they wouldn't torture a man like Galt; they couldn't break him.  They'd probably just shoot him, and then erase the fact of his existence.

And, yes, I do remember Rachmaninoff being mentioned in The Fountainhead.  But I remember this was a phone call from Gail to Dominique...I believe he was telling her that a radio was playing his Second Concert.  Perhaps it's mentioned in the scene with the boy on the bicycle (which was my favorite part of the entire book).


Post 8

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 6:06pmSanction this postReply
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I just want to add that in 1984 torture is considered a method that inevitably breaks a person's will, while in AS and even a movie like Rambo 2 no amount of torture can break it, or at least I would assume that.  I don't know which side is more realistic, nor would I want to find out. :) 

-Dominic


Post 9

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 11:40amSanction this postReply
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In the military, there is a school called SERE, or Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape. From my conversations with men who have gone through that training, I learnt that the one thing that the school teaches is that "breaking" or "cracking" is inevitable. It is only a matter of how long can a prisoner hold out and how much can information (or misinformation) can he avoid giving out. The experiences of real-life POW's parallels much of what the school teaches.

Post 10

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 6:16amSanction this postReply
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I think Orwell wanted to horrify his readers about the evil of totalitarian regimes. That is why it is important that there is a grisly torture scene and no happy ending. (Is human reprogramming possible? Some claim that the defector Charles Robert Jenkins was brain washed in North Korea.)

Anyway, Orwell did not have the same philosophical understanding as Rand to illustrate what it would take to defeat the evil system that Winston lived in. However, Orwell did understand that individuals need to maintain their faculty for reasoning (2+2=5, Newspeak) and their ability to ascertain truth from lies (Big Brother is always right) in order to have a fighting chance.


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