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Atlas Shrugged as the Culmination of the Romantic Novel

Andrew Bernstein

Presented at: SRB 2002 Vienna

Date: Jun 29, 2002

Romanticism champions free will, holding that men can transform their lives by choosing proper principles and values. This is certainly true of the three greatest Romantic novelists: Hugo, Dostoyevsky, and Ayn Rand. Each—in Les Miserables, The Brothers Karamazov, and Atlas Shrugged, respectively—seeks to dramatize the world-changing potential of their respective philosophies. But only Ayn Rand presents a triumphant vision. In the other novels, the good, by the author's own standards, is not embraced. The power to choose the right ideas thus seems illusory in the very works of the advocates of volition. What, then, are the deeper premises held by Ayn Rand, but not by the others, enabling her to fully project man's capacity to shape his own soul?



Handout: none


  • CD, 2007 (En) - 91 mins - 2 CD set