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The Romantic Manifesto: A Philosophy of Literature (second revised edition, 1975) (1975)

by Ayn Rand

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9071123,407 (3.83)9
In this beautifully written and brilliantly reasoned collection of essays, Ayn Rand throws new light on the nature of art and its purpose in human life. Once again, Rand demonstrates her bold originality and her refusal to let conventional ideas define her sense of the truth. Rand eloquently asserts that one cannot create art without infusing it with one's own value judgments and personal philosophy-even an attempt to withhold moral overtones only results in a deterministic or naturalistic message. Because the moral influence of art is inescapable, she argues, art should always strive to elevate the human spirit. The Romantic Manifesto takes its place beside The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged as one of the most important achievements of our time.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Ayn Rand was born too late. In TRM she declared the Romantic period or art (art, music, literature, and performance) a time when man was moving in the right direction. When literature and art portrayed man as capable of greatness. Her complaint: Naturalism killed Romanticism, treating man like a prisoner of his environment, unable to excel. As she feared, man has never escaped the mire of Naturalism; it has only gotten worse. ( )
  GRLopez | Jul 11, 2023 |
Though I don't agree with her opinions of caging art in boxes of social goals. The Romantic Manifesto is a good read only for the way Ayn Rand puts her points forward... To agree or to disagree with her opinion is a different matter altogether. ( )
  hummingquill | Jul 24, 2019 |
I know a lot of people sneer at Ayn Rand and her admirers. But one would think the one thing they'd acknowledge is that she was a writer who knew how to tell a story. *thinks of reviews she's seen.* OK, maybe not. But even if I'm not an uncritical devotee, I for one do love her style, do, with some reservations, love her novels. And I think the core of her argument here is absolutely true--you can't write fiction without revealing your philosophy and values--even if you try. Ayn Rand is the one who above all made me aware of that. I don't care if you're talking about Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment or Mercedes Lackey's fantasy books about talking horses--I can tell you a lot about the values and worldview of the authors only from reading their fiction--ditto about even the most trite work in pulp romance. That doesn't mean I agree with all Rand's evaluations. Sometimes I think she argued backward to validate her own idiosyncratic tastes, and certainly there are plenty of works of "naturalism" I prefer over works of "romanticism" (I personally found Hugo's Ninety-Three, which I read on her recommendation, overwrought.)

But Rand gets at something basic though: that in a lot of the books we love--that what we look for is our values reflected back at us. That's what resonates, in both low and high literature. And we look for, crave for, heroes. And the lack of them is what makes so many modern works arid to me. I think that's why I, and many others, love science fiction and fantasy so much--they're the last refuge of the hero. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | Sep 7, 2013 |
One of her minor works of non-fiction; this is her thoughts on art.
  gmicksmith | Apr 23, 2011 |
What makes good literature? How does an author create a heroic character? What is the difference between "romantic" and "naturalist" literature? Ayn Rand asks these questions and answers them in her usual succinct, enlightening style.
After reading The Romantic Manifesto, you will have a better understanding of why Rand wrote her novels the way she did. You can also apply her analysis to other novels, and perhaps come to consciously appreciate the "romantic" elements in other literature.
I found it a very stimulating view of looking at literature and writing and general. And, already respecting Rand's works, I now have a deeper understanding of both her philosophy, Objectivism, and her writing style. I would highly recommend it for Rand fans, literature enthusiasts, and philosophers alike. ( )
  missmaddie | Jan 30, 2011 |
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(Introduction): The dictionary definition of "manifesto" is: "a public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives or motives, as one issued by a government, sovereign, or organization."
The position of art in the scale of human knowledge is, perhaps, the most eloquent symptom of the gulf between man's progress in the physical sciences and his stagnation (or, today, his retrogression) in the humanities.
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Please distinguish this second revised edition of Ayn Rand's The Romantic Manifesto: A Philosophy of Literature (1975) from the original edition (1969). This edition includes the essay "Art and Cognition." Thank you.
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In this beautifully written and brilliantly reasoned collection of essays, Ayn Rand throws new light on the nature of art and its purpose in human life. Once again, Rand demonstrates her bold originality and her refusal to let conventional ideas define her sense of the truth. Rand eloquently asserts that one cannot create art without infusing it with one's own value judgments and personal philosophy-even an attempt to withhold moral overtones only results in a deterministic or naturalistic message. Because the moral influence of art is inescapable, she argues, art should always strive to elevate the human spirit. The Romantic Manifesto takes its place beside The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged as one of the most important achievements of our time.

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Collects the following essays:
"The Psycho-Epsitemology of Art"
"Philosophy and Sense of Life"
"Art and Sense of Life"
"Art and Cognition"
"Basic Principles of Literature"
"What is Romanticism?"
"The Esthetic Vacuum of Our Age"
"Bootleg Romanticism"
"Art and Moral Treason"
"Introduction to Ninety-Three"
"The Goal of My Writing"
(Short story) "The Simplest Thing in the World"
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