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Monday, January 25, 2016

Ayn Rand - On why she wrote 'We the Living'

Ayn Rand began working on her novel ‘We the Living’ in 1930, at the age of 25. Her working title for the novel was ‘Airtight’. This is an excerpt from an autobiographical note that she sent to her publisher:

“I have been asked why I wrote this novel. I think the answer is obvious. I have seen Soviet life as few writers outside Russia have seen it. And while the world at large is deluged to the saturation point with minute accounts of Soviet Russia, including all the latest statistics up to the every single tractor produced by the “great experiment,” very little has been said about actual life under communism, about living beings, not slogans and theories. Theories against practice—that’s something too often overlooked in every important question today. With due apologies to good manners, I don’t give a damn about theories. I do give a good deal about human beings. No, not all of them. Only those worthy of the name.

“Also, if one takes even the swiftest look at the world today, one cannot help but see the greatest, most urgent conflict of our times: the individual against the collective. That problem interest me above all others in my writing. No country on earth offers such a startling and revealing view of the conflict as Soviet Russia. Hence—‘We the Living’. The plot of my novel is entirely fictitious. The background and circumstances which make the plot possible—are entirely true.” ~ Ayn Rand
(Sources: The Journals of Ayn Rand, Edited by David Harriman; Chapter—We The Living)

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