2112 – Spotlight on Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand photo

Neil Peart gives acknowledgement to the genius of Ayn Rand in the liner notes to the album 2112. Here is a brief biography of this influential writer.

Ayn Rand was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 2, 1905. At age six she taught herself to read. At the age of nine, she decided to make fiction writing her career. 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 late 1925 she obtained permission to leave Russia for a visit to relatives in the US. She was determined never to return. She arrived in New York in February 1926. She obtained an extension to her visa, and then left for Hollywood to pursue a career as a screenwriter. On her second day there, 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.

She began writing The Fountainhead in 1935 (taking a break in 1937 to write Anthem). 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 being accepted. When published in 1943, it made history by becoming a best-seller through word of mouth two years later.

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 a story that integrated ethics, metaphysics, politics, economics and sex. Thereafter, she wrote and lectured on her philosophy–Objectivism, which she characterized as “a philosophy for living on earth.” Ayn Rand died on March 6, 1982, in her New York City apartment.

Hundreds of thousands of copies of her work are sold each year, so far totaling more than 25 million. Visit www.aynrand.org.

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