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Essays on Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged by Robert Mayhew|
|Essays on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged|
Robert Mayhew, editor
One contribution to this collection is Michael Berliner’s “The Atlas Shrugged Reviews.” He “describes the generally hostile nature of the reviews the novel received, and underscores that this hostility came as much from the Right as it did from the Left” (x). Yes, after reading my first Rand novels, I went to my university library and looked up her name in those helpful big green books Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature. Smear after smear.
The first contribution in this collection is from Onkar Ghate on the Part headings and Chapter headings of Atlas. He marches straight through the novel, explaining what happens in the story making each heading appropriate. Very nice (51 pages) and it adds up to a summary of the novel.
Two essays were contributed by Gregory Salmieri. The first is titled “Atlas Shrugged on the Role of the Mind in Man’s Existence.” His focus is on what the novel says about the role of the mind in an individual life,* rather than on what it says about the role of the mind in society as a whole. The subheadings of this essay are: The Human Form of Consciousness / The Productive Faculty / The Valuing Faculty. This is a masterful fresh rendering.
Professor Salmieri also contributed “Discovering Atlantis – Atlas Shrugged’s Demonstration of a New Moral Philosophy.” He writes: “Dagny and Rearden in particular are convinced by a complex train of reasoning extended over the years in which the novel is set—a chain of reasoning that both arises from and gives rise to the actions that constitute the novel’s plot. This train of reasoning is Atlas Shrugged’s demonstration of a new moral philosophy, and one needs to follow it in order to fully appreciate the novel either as a work of literature or as a work of philosophy. My project here is to outline this progression and to highlight some of its most important developments, bringing out the order in which the principles are established and some of the relations between them. (398)
This volume of essays will be the subject of an Authors-Meet-Critics session of the Ayn Rand Society at the Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association on April 3, 6:00-9:00 p.m. The Meeting is at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco. The critics will be Christine Swanton, Lester Hunt, and William Glod. The responding authors will be Onkar Ghate, Allan Gotthelf, and Gregory Salmieri.