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Romantic Literature

Ayn Rand

Presented at: Ayn Rand On Campus - Columbia WKCR Interviews

Date: Jan 01, 1962

In this interview, students question Ayn Rand on her views of romantic literature and the "ideal society." 

Rand gives her definition of art and explains the fiction writer's ability to present things "not as they are but as they might be and ought to be." She discusses fantasy as a genre of fiction, categorizes a number of famous authors such as Shakespeare, Kafka, Huxley, Nabokov and Dostoyevsky, and explains why she considers herself a romantic realist. She also touches on depravity in literature and addresses whether fiction should be didactic.
Focusing on the writing of Victor Hugo, Rand contrasts the view of man expressed in his novels with the views contained in his explicit philosophy, and she explains why she admires his fiction greatly.

In her discussion of what an "ideal society" might look like, Rand clarifies the function of art in life and explains why it is needed. Responding to a question about children, Rand discusses how children form values, how parents can help or hinder a child in his development, and why children would be the greatest beneficiaries of an "ideal society."


Parts: 1

Handout: none


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