Rebirth of Reason

Favorite EditSanction this itemThe Early Ayn Rand by Ayn Rand
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The Early Ayn Rand
I've just finished reading this wonderful collection of writing exercises, previously unpublished stories and plays and unpublished excerpts from We the Living and The Fountainhead.

It is delightful to witness Rand's progress, both as writer and philosopher, in these works written between 1926 and 1938. One of the things I find amazing about Rand is that she became a successful author, playwright and screenwriter in spite of the fact that she was writing in her second language. Her short story, "The Husband I Bought," written in 1926, the year she emigrated to the United States, shows a Rand still learning English but clearly already on her way to mastering it. (Does anyone know what happened to the movie version of this story?)

Highlights of this collection, for me, were "Red Pawn" and "Think Twice." "Red Pawn" is similar to We the Living in that both are set in communist Russia and both involve an unusual love triangle. "Red Pawn," however, takes a very different approach and presents a very different  resolution. While reading this short story, I kept thinking what a perfect movie this would make. When I then read Leonard Peikoff's introduction to this story (I've learned to read introductions last as they too often reveal too much, including sometimes the endings), I was surprised to learn that Rand had written this as a movie synopsis which she sold to Universal Pictures in 1932 for $1,500. Unfortunately, a movie version was never made.

My other favorite in this collection is the play, "Think Twice." This now replaces "Inherit the Wind" as my all time favorite play. This story is masterful in its characterization and kept me guessing until the end as to its resolution. Alas, I understand it has never been produced. I would love, love, love to see a stage presentation of this play.

One other thing worth mentioning: In an  unpublished excerpt from The Fountainhead, Rand describes Howard Roark, in a display of righteous anger, giving his best John Wayne uppercut (my description of her description) to an individual who clearly deserves it. I love it.

I  highly recommend this superb collection.
Added by Bob Palin
on 11/21/2004, 5:47am

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