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Heller finds the novel “phenomenally compelling,” possessed of a “thrilling intensity”; Burns, more warily, calls “The Fountainhead” a “strange book, long, moody, feverish” but ultimately “unforgettable.” It is, in fact, badly executed on every level of language, plot, and characterization.Dominique is not simply, as Burns would concede, “highly stylized”; she is a kind of couture-clad Tesla coil.For a time, her best school friend seems to have been Olga Nabokov, a sister of Vladimir, though Rand did not generally play well with others. On the set, Rand persuaded a costume director to promote her from a crowd of beggars to a crowd of patricians, and De Mille had his story chief look at her film scenarios, which were soon judged over the top. A visionary modernist forced to operate in a world of tired derivation, Roark is a man who will blow up a housing project when its construction compromises his elegant blueprints for it.
Rand saw the chance to become a right-wing Steinbeck, and hoped that the book’s championship of individualism might even help Thomas E.
Dewey put an end to the New Deal in the 1944 election.
A white spark of fire flashed like a cold metallic cross in the glass she held, as if it were a lens gathering the diffused radiance of her skin.
Rand never once seems struck by the contrast between the taciturnity she so admires in her hero and the authorial verbosity that stretches the novel to 727 pages.
Burns, a professor of history, more ably situates Rand within and against the world of American conservatism. for America with a stamped passport and the sponsorship of some relatives of her mother’s who lived in Chicago. Even before leaving the Soviet Union, she had published a pamphlet on the silent-film actress Pola Negri, and like a movie star herself she now refashioned “Rosenbaum” into her own new name.
Both biographers overestimate, Heller more seriously, the literary achievement of their subject, whose intellectual genre fiction puts her in the crackpot pantheon of L. Ron Hubbard; it is no closer to the canon of serious American novels than Galt’s Gulch is to Brook Farm. Heller and Burns both knock down the myth that a Remington-Rand typewriter inspired the rechristening.all Americans who have appeared on the nation’s postage stamps, Ayn Rand is probably the only one to have thought that the United States government has no business delivering mail.In her central pronouncement of political belief—the character John Galt’s radio address, which begins on page 1,000 of Rand’s 1957 novel, “Atlas Shrugged”—allowance is made for the state to run an army, a police force, and courts, but that’s it.(The book would have been a third longer had wartime paper scarcity not made Rand cut the manuscript.) The thematic repetitions are such that this novel about architecture becomes a kind of Levittown, with chapter after chapter hammered together to establish exactly the same point that was made in the one before.The notorious scene in which Dominique throws herself against Roark with a lot of biting and blood (Rand called it “rape by engraved invitation”) is less arousing than confusing; the only thing detracting from Dominique’s pleasure is her disappointment that Roark doesn’t have, along with his marble muscles, a criminal record.Heller’s “Ayn Rand and the World She Made” (Doubleday; ) and Jennifer Burns’s “Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right” (Oxford; .95), have different strengths and a shared weakness.Heller, a journalist and magazine editor, does the better job of dealing with Rand’s early life in Russia and her later personal dramas. had already been shaped by obsessive moviegoing, and she was determined to make the Midwest no more than a stop on the way to success in Hollywood as a screenwriter.This month, the first two full-length biographies of her that were not written by disciples or apostates of her movement (some would say cult) are making their appearance.These objective looks at the first Objectivist, Anne C.The young man had more or less memorized “The Fountainhead,” and his devotion to Rand’s vision earned him an invitation to visit.Blumenthal, who later became Nathaniel Branden, started introducing Rand to other young disciples, including his future wife, Barbara Weidman.