On the Enduring Appeal of Ayn Rand’s Philosophy

Though mocked by philosophers, adored by readers.


 

Over thirty million copies of English-language editions of Ayn Rand’s books have been sold since the 1940s, with many more in dozens of other languages, and sales have not slowed down [1].  This article’s sub-title captures the heart of why her work—especially her fiction—has enduring appeal, despite academia and the popular press being generally hostile even to the mention of her name. The quotation appears in the last part of The Fountainhead, Rand’s 1943 novel that put her on the cultural map. A young man recently graduated from college rides his bicycle through the hills of Pennsylvania, wondering whether life is worth living and whether he should pursue his dream of being a composer.  He longs to see others’ achievements as tangible products of their quest for happiness, if only to see that it’s possible. Suddenly, he is confronted with a newly finished summer home community that seems to spring organically from

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