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The Originality of Atlas Shrugged

Tore Boeckmann

Presented at: OCON 2007

Date: Jul 06, 2007

The theme of Atlas Shrugged is "the role of the mind in man's existence," and the demonstration of a new morality of rational self-interest. The plot features the men of the mind going on strike against an altruist-collectivist society.

In regard to both abstract message and concrete story, Atlas Shrugged is stunningly innovative—bearing out Ayn Rand's statement that "creating a new, original abstraction and translating it through new, original means" is "my kind of fiction writing."

In this lecture, Tore Boeckmann tests the originality of Atlas Shrugged by comparing the character of Francisco d'Anconia, and the event of the tunnel disaster, with very similar concretes from the plays of Friedrich Schiller (specifically, Fiesco and Mary Stuart). The comparison highlights nonobvious ways in which Atlas Shrugged concretizes its theme, and shows how the novel's central plot premise functions as a veritable engine of abstract and concrete originality.


Parts: 1

Handout: none


  • e-Store, 2018 (En) - 79 mins
  • CD, 2007 (En) - 79 mins - 1 CD