Ayn Rand’s Nonfiction
Ayn Rand’s lifelong passion for philosophy was rooted in her conviction that philosophy is the most practical force in human life. In her novels, we see the power of fundamental ideas in animating men’s lives; the right ideas give rise to the achievements and exalted happiness of her heroes, while the wrong ideas make possible her despicable villains and the destruction they bring about.
After Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand turned to nonfiction, both to elaborate on the philosophy set forth in her novels, and to use her philosophy, which she named Objectivism, to explain and fight the decaying culture around her. From 1962 until 1976, she published and wrote for three successive periodicals: The Objectivist Newsletter, The Objectivist, and The Ayn Rand Letter. Many of her works in these publications were collected into anthologies. Ayn Rand’s essays bring new clarity to a vast array of cultural and political problems, by identifying the fundamental ideas that are their deepest causes and that must be rejected and replaced if the culture is to be changed for the better.
Although the events she discusses occurred decades ago, the value of her essays remains as great as ever, thanks to her penetrating analyses and her timeless observations about politics, sex, economics, history, psychology and philosophy. Additionally, many of the topics she wrote about remain part of today’s cultural debate: from religion to environmentalism to sex to racism to liberalism to abortion to war to conservatism.
After Ayn Rand’s death, scholars (with the assistance of her Estate) have compiled collections of her unpublished work, in which she covered many issues that she did not in her formal essays—including analyses of her own novels, elaborations on her theory of knowledge, and notes on psychology. Her posthumous works include her private intellectual journals, a series of lectures on writing fiction and a series on writing nonfiction, her correspondence with fans, friends, and colleagues, and her answers to questions at public speaking events.
In Ayn Rand’s nonfiction we find an indispensable guide to thought and action, and a source of solutions to today’s political and cultural problems.
Books and Periodicals Published During Ayn Rand’s Life
- For the New Intellectual (1961)
- The Objectivist Newsletter (1962–66)
- The Virtue of Selfishness (1964)
- Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal) (1966)
- The Objectivist (1966–71)
- Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (1967)
- The Romantic Manifesto (1969)
- The Ayn Rand Letter (1971–76)
- Return of the Primitive (1971)
Books Published Posthumously
- Philosophy: Who Needs It (1982)
- The Ayn Rand Column (1991)
- The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z (1986)
- The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought (1989)
- Ayn Rand’s Marginalia (1995)
- Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)
- Journals of Ayn Rand (1997)
- Russian Writings on Hollywood (1998)
- The Ayn Rand Reader (1998)
- The Art of Fiction (2000)
- The Art of Nonfiction (2000)
- Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of her Q&A (2005)
- Why Businessmen Need Philosophy (2011)