Posted by: Arthur337 | April 4, 2009

Rand’s Foreword in Fountainhead

the-fountainhead

I’ve finally found a decent version, instead of cheap mass paperbacks, of Ayn Rand’s novel Fountainhead at The Curve Borders. This is in my list of books to read for this year, though I doubt I will touch it until at least after June when I have the time.

Still I couldn’t help but to take a peek at the introduction. Reading the foreword by the author herself reassured me that I have no regrets paying a premium for the larger book. The foreword, written in 1968, contains the thoughts of Ayn Rand on the success of her books still in commercial print 25 years after it was first released in 1943.

Here is what she wrote that caught my attention:

“…my attitude toward my writing is best expressed by a statement of Victor Hugo: ‘If a writer wrote merely for his time, I would have to break my pen and throw it away.’  Certain writers, of whom I am one, do not live, think or write on the range of the moment. Novels, in the proper sense of the word, are not written to vanish in a month or a year. That most of them do, today, that they are written and published as if they were magazines, to fade as rapidly, is one of the sorriest aspect’s of today’s literature….”

“Longevity-predominantly, though not exclusively-is the prerogative of a literary school which is virtually non-existent today: Romanticism….. It deals, not with the random trivia of the day, but with the timeless, fundamental, universal problems and values of human existence. It does not record or photograph; it creates and projects. It is concerned-in the words of Aristotle-not with things as they are, but with things as they might be and ought to be.”

“And for the benefit of those who consider relevance to one’s own time as of crucial importance, I will add, in regard to our age, that never has there been a time when men have so desperately need a projection of things as they ought to be.”

Indeed, today in the face of global economic crisis, many of us are “desperately need a projection of things as they ought to be.” Ayn Rand would be amused to know that her Objectivist philosophy far extends her lifetime – 60 years later, and is now more relevant than ever before.

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