Interesting Information about Atlas Shrugged

by Jason Stotts

I recently stumbled across an article about Atlas Shrugged called “The History of Atlas Shrugged: An Essay on the Genesis of the Book” that has some interesting information in it.

The origins of Atlas Shrugged

Before she had finished The Fountainhead (which was submitted to her publisher on December 31, 1942), she “had a novel in mind. . . . But it was not what you would call a plan for a novel; only the theme. I wanted to write a novel on the mind versus the heart, a novel in which the theme would be the superiority of the mind to emotions. And that’s all. I had no plot, nor even a suggestion of an idea in literary terms; only a theme which I wanted to handle.” In the late summer or early fall of 1943, shortly after the publication of The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand was engaged in a phone conversation with a friend on the subject of the moral philosophy in her novel.

The friend was urging Miss Rand to write a nonfiction work on her philosophy, something she had no interest in doing at that time. When the friend insisted that it was Ayn Rand’s “duty” because her readers “needed it,” she responded: “Oh, they do? What if I went on strike? What if all the creative minds of the world went on strike?” “That,” she told her friend, “would make a good novel.” By the next morning, “the mind on strike” had become the theme of her next novel.

The whole article has really interesting information in it, but I find it particularly interesting how she got the idea of “the mind on strike.”  It’s interesting to me how little ideas can blossom into whole books and how discussions that seem mundane at the time can cause radical changes in your life.

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