Thursday, January 23, 2020

Ayn Rand - A False Romantic Essay -- Biography Biographies Essays

Ayn Rand - A False Romantic The Romantic period at its height extended over just a bit more than a century, from the latter half of the eighteenth century through to nearly the end of the nineteenth century. During this period, a new school of poetry was forged, and with it, a new moral philosophy. But, as the nineteenth century wound down, the Romantic movement seemed to be proving itself far more dependent on the specific cultural events it spanned than many believed; that is, the movement was beginning to wind down in time with the ebbing of the industrial and urban boom in much the same way that the movement grew out of the initial period of industrial and urban growth. Thus, it would be easy to classify the Romantic movement as inherently tied to its cultural context. The difficulty, then, comes when poets and authors outside of this time period-and indeed in contexts quite different then those of the original Romantic poets-begin to label themselves as Romantics. The twentieth century author Ayn Rand, author of works such as The Fountainhead, Anthem, and Atlas Shrugged, is one such example of a self-labeled Romantic. In 1971 Rand published a collection of essays in a book she titled The Romantic Manifesto. This series of essays, with topics ranging from romantic art to the nature of a novel, carefully lays out Rand's conception of Romanticism and her place within it. The question one must ask, then, is how does Rand manage to write a work of nearly two hundred pages on the nature of Romanticism without ever once mentioning any of the key Romantic poets: Keats, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, and so on. The obvious answer would seem to be that Rand's conception of Romanticism must be diametrically opposed to that of..., while one may draw valuable insights about some of the potential flaws of the Romantic's ideals and philosophy through a comparison with Rand, in the end it truly is a comparison of Rand and the Romantics, not a comparison of Rand and her fellow Romantics. Works Cited Bloom, Harold and Lionel Trilling, eds. Romantic Poetry and Prose. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973. Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Dutton, 1957. Rand, Ayn. The Romantic Manifesto. New York: Signet Publishing, 1975. Footnotes: 1 Preface to Lyrical Ballad; Bloom & Trilling, p. 595 2 Preface; Bloom & Trilling, p. 596 3 Biographia Literaria; Bloom & Trilling, p. 649 4 A Defence of Poetry; Bloom & Trilling, p. 751 5 The Romantic Manifesto; Rand, p. 103 6 The Romantic Manifesto; Rand, p. 122 7 Atlas Shrugged; Rand, p. 282-283 8 Atlas Shrugged; Rand, p. 1036 Â  

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