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Letters of Ayn Rand by Ayn Rand

Letters of Ayn Rand (original 1995; edition 1997)

by Ayn Rand, Michael S. Berliner (Editor), Leonard Peikoff (Introduction)

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Title:Letters of Ayn Rand
Authors:Ayn Rand
Other authors:Michael S. Berliner (Editor), Leonard Peikoff (Introduction)
Info:Plume (1997), Paperback, 704 pages
Collections:Your library

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Letters of Ayn Rand by Ayn Rand (1995)


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According to both Nathanial and Barbara Branden, these letters were published against Ayn Rand's wishes by her 'literary heir' and manager of her estate, Leonard Peikoff. Nonetheless - couldn't help myself.

The editor describes this as being only a small fraction of the whole, culled from less interesting examples. The vast majority is from the period 1945-1952 or so, when The Fountainhead was complete and Atlas Shrugged was just beginning. This portion contained a few revelations for me, including evidence that she was more knowledgeable in the history of philosophy than her critics suppose, and also more familiar with psychological theory (at one point, she critiques Freud in detail).

What's most fascinating to me are the more incidental letters: how she responds to family requesting money, her interest in cats, her correspondence with friends, etc. These are interspersed with letters that exactingly nitpick (in her usual style) every stray sentence or thought in the letters she is responding to, not letting the least irrationality slide past her uncommented upon. Frankly I would have found it exhausting to write to her, anticipating one of these replies.

The Letters are an interesting mix of what's found in her more formal writing and confirmation of her personality as described by her closest biographers. I'd recommend saving this as one of your last forays into her writing (as I did), so you can see it all come together in her own words. ( )
  Cecrow | Mar 8, 2010 |
Discover the "personal" Ayn Rand in this wondrous collection of her letters. Read what she wrote to an amazing array of people—from Barry Goldwater, Frank Lloyd Wright and Mickey Spillane, to Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Stack and Cecil B. DeMille. Whether she is writing to philosophers, artists, Hollywood celebrities, family members, captains of industry or her admiring fans, her unmistakable style and character are always in evidence.
  rob.sfo | Dec 5, 2006 |
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(Introduction by Leonard Peikoff): I was a student and friend of Ayn Rand's for thirty-one years, from 1951 -- when she was 46 and writing Atlas Shrugged -- until her death in 1982, at the age of 77.
(Preface by Michael S. Berliner): Answering a letter in 1943 from her friend, well-known political writer Isabel Paterson, Ayn Rand wrote: "I got a special thrill out of your letter -- all my life, reading the published correspondence of famous people, I have envied them because they received personal letters on important and abstract subjects, I mean from friends, not just professional correspondence."
Hello [written in English] Lylolya,
There was a time when I loved that American expression of yours [referring to "hello"], and now I am using it myself, because they don't have any other expression here.
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Collection of letters from 1926 to 1981 from the philosopher and author Ayn Rand to a variety of famed authors, journalists, and politicians revealing key moments in her life while offering a look into her thoughts on writing, America, the Soviet Union, politics, and most of all, objectivism, a school of thought she created out of her life's experiences.… (more)

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