Ayn Rand

About Ayn Rand

Who is Ayn Rand?

Ayn Rand was one of the most controversial and famous writers in the United States. She was originally born in Saint Petersburg, Russia on February 2, 1905. She later died on March 6th, 1982 in her New York apartment at the old age of 73.

Early Life

At the young age of six, Ayn Rand taught herself how to read. This enabled her to find her own hero two years later in a French magazine for children like herself. This captured a very heroic image which helped her sustain herself for most of her life. From a young age she was opposed to her Russian culture and instead called herself a European. This was especially amplified after her encounter with the famous French writer, Victor Hugo, while she was living in Russia.
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During her high school years Ayn Rand bore witness to the better part of the Russian Revolutions. In order to escape the fighting, family fled to Crimea where she finished high school. When the communists won they confiscated her father's pharmacy and property, this led to long periods of near-starvation for her family. During her final year of high school she studied American History, this led her to have a firm idea of what a nation of free men should be modeled after.

When her family returned to Crimea she entered the University of Petrograd to study philosophy and history and proceeded to graduate in 1924. After the communist takeover, life became grey and the only light in her life was western theatre and movies. After she discovered those pleasures she decided to attend the State Institute for Cinema Arts in 1924 to study screenwriting.

In the United States and Ayn's Career

In 1925 she obtained permission from Soviet Russia to visit her relatives in the United States. She arrived in New York then spent six months with her family in the city of Chicago, she then proceeded to move to Hollywood. During her time in Hollywood she met a famous actor named Frank O'Connor, whom she later married for fifty years, on the movie set for The King of Kings which she worked on as a script reader.

Later she struggled for several years until she managed to publish her own screenplay called 'Red Pawn' to Universal Pictures in 1932 and published her first play on Broadway in 1935. She completed her first novel in 1934 called 'Night of January 16th' and was published by the MacMillan company in 1936 after numerous rejections. The novel itself was based on the tyranny she faced at the hands of the Soviet Union.

She later wrote a book called 'The Fountainhead' which featured her ideal hero, in this book he was called Howard Roark. It was published by the Bobbs-Merril company after many rejections and made history by becoming a best-seller a week after being publish and sold. In 1946 she started writing her personal masterpiece, 'Atlas Shrugged', while attempting to publish the screenplay for 'The Fountainhead'. She completed and published 'Atlas Shrugged' in 1957, it is widely known as her greatest work and is one of her few fiction novels.

Later in life she began writing about her own personal philosophy Objectivism, which she called a philosophy for those living on Earth. She wrote and published several periodicals on this philosophy from 1962 to 1976. Her essays and periodicals provided most of the material used in her six books on Objectivism.

Ayn Rand First Interview 1959 (Full)