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The Creation of Ayn Rand's Ultimate Ideal Man: Who Was John Galt?

Shoshana Milgram

Presented at: OCON 2007

Date: Jul 06, 2007

After writing Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand said that she could never hope to create a hero greater than John Galt—and she did not try to do so. Why did she see Galt as the fulfillment of a lifelong ambition? Why did she say that Galt was the "best representative" of the Objectivist ethics? What was her answer to the question: Who is John Galt?

This lecture describes the creation of John Galt from Ayn Rand's earliest thoughts about the character, through her preparatory notes and the edited drafts of the manuscript, to the final text of the novel. Topics include key elements of the characterization, significant changes in Galt's plot function and in his relationships with other characters, inspirations from fiction and from life, editing for style and content (dialogue, description, and Galt's speech), the phrase "Who is John Galt?"—and John Galt's original name.

history of objectivismliterature

Parts: 1

Handout: none


  • e-Store, 2012 (En) - 81 mins
  • CD, 2007 (En) - 81 mins - 2 CD set