Saturday, January 30, 2016

Writing of the John Galt Speech in Atlas Shrugged

According to ‘The Journals of Ayn Rand’, Ayn Rand began working on the John Galt’s speech on July 29,1953, and she finished writing the speech on October 13, 1955. She worked continuously for more than two years to ensure that the speech was dramatic, emotion-charged and perfectly suited to deliver her philosophical message.

In an interview (quoted in ‘The Journals of Ayn Rand’) that Ayn Rand gave in 1961, she has recalled her thoughts as she approached writing the John Galt’s speech: “I knew it was going to be the hardest chapter in the book… I thought that it would take at least three months. Well, it took two years.”

In the same interview, Ayn Rand has given a short description of the process by which she developed the John Galt’s speech: “I started by making an outline of the issues to be covered. First as a general listing of material, then in approximate order of presentation. But I couldn't stick to that outline; it had to be redone many times. I originally began the theoretical presentation with metaphysics, starting with existence exists, going from metaphysics to epistemology, then planning to go to morality. After writing quite a few pages, I had to stop because I knew it was absolutely wrong. That is the logical order in non-fiction, but you can’t do it in fiction. The speech had to start by presenting the morality, which is the real theme of the book, and where Galt would the to begin his explanation to the world. So I had to rewrite the whole thing.”

(Source: The Journals of Ayn Rand, Edited by David Harriman; Chapter: ‘Notes While Writing Galt’s Speech’)

1 comment:

Judy A Warner said...

It is disappointing to hear or read comments by people who claim Galt's speech was "too long," or "too philosophical." They are simply stating that it was over their heads or too difficult to comprehend.
I was enamored by it and had to re-read it for the pure joy of appreciating her philosophy.
Thanks for your blog, Verma!