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Anthemby Ayn Rand
Synopses & Reviews
Written with all the power and conviction that made The Fountainhead a classic of American letters, Ayn Rand's Anthem is a hymn to man's independent spirit and to the highest word in the human language - "Ego." First written in 1937, Anthem was published in England, but was refused in publication in America, for reason which the reader might discover by reading it for himself. In 1946, it appeared as a pamphlet, issued by Pamphleteers, Inc., of Los Angeles. This is its first American publication in regular book form. Anthem tells the story of a man who rediscovers the individualism and his own "I" - in a world of absolute collectivization, a world where sightless, joyless, selfless men exist for the sake of serving the State; where their work, their food and their mating are prescribed to them by order of the Collective's rulers in the name of society's welfare - a world which has lost all the achievements of science and civilization, when it lost their root, the independent mind, and has reverted to primitive savagery - a world where language contains no singular pronouns, where the "We" has replaced the "I," and where men are put to death for the crime of discovering and speaking the "unspeakable word." The story tells of one man who rebelled, of his struggle and his victory. Assigned to the life work of street sweeper by the rulers who resented his brilliant, questioning, unsubmissive mind - he becomes a scientist, secretly, risking his life for the sake of his quest for knowledge. In the midst of collective stagnation, where men toil at manual labor by the light of candles - he discovers electricity. In the midst of eugenic planning and State-controlled Palaces of Mating - he discovers a personal love and a woman of his own choice. In the midst of brutal morality which proclaims that man is only a sacrificial animal to the needs of others - he discovers that man's greatest moral duty is the pursuit of his own happiness. He endures danger, denunciation, imprisonment, torture - but he breaks the chains of the Collective, he escapes with the woman he loves, to start a new life in an uncharted wilderness, and he reaches the day when he is able to predict that "my home will become the capital of a world where each man will be free to exist for his own sake." Anthem presents not merely a frightening projection of existing trends, but, more importantly, a positive answer to those trends and a weapon against them, a key to the world's moral crisis and to a new morality of individualism - a morality which, if accepted today, will save us from a future such as the one presented in this story.
He lived in the dark ages of the future. In a loveless world, he dared to fall in love. In an age that had lost all trace of science and civilization, he had the courage to seek and find knowledge. But these were not the crimes for which he would be hunted. He was marked for death because he had committed the unpardonable sin: standing out from the mindless human herd. Ayn Rands classic tale of a dystopian future of the great We”—a world that deprives individuals of a name or independence—anticipates her later masterpieces, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
This seventy-fifth anniversary edition of Anthem, celebrating the controversial and enduring legacy of its author, features an introduction by Rands literary executor, Leonard Piekoff, which includes excerpts from documents by Ayn Rand—letters, interviews, and journal notes in which she discusses Anthem. This volume also includes a complete reproduction of the original British edition with Ayn Rands handwritten editorial changes and a Readers Guide to her writings and philosophy.
In Ayn Rands novels you have found more than great works of art—you have found a philosophy of reason.
I had to originate a philosophical framework of my own, because my basic view of man and of existence was in conflict with most of the existing philosophical theories. In order to define, explain, and present my concept of man, I had to become a philosopher in the specific meaning of the term.”—Ayn Rand
Now available for further reading on Rands philosophy: Objective Communication by Leonard Piekoff.
Ayn Rands philosophy of Objectivism is increasingly influencing the shape of the world from business to politics to achieving personal goals. In Objective Communication, Peikoff explains how you can communicate philosophical ideas with conviction, logic, and, most of all, reason.
Also available from Penguin: an enhanced edition/app of Atlas Shrugged.
In a future where there is no love, no science, and everyone is equal and of one entity, one man defies the group to be his own person. That is a serious offense.
About the Author
Born February 2, 1905, Ayn Rand published her first novel, We the Living, in 1936. Anthem followed in 1938. It was with the publication of The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957) that she achieved her spectacular success. Ms. Rands unique philosophy, Objectivism, has gained a worldwide audience. The fundamentals of her philosophy are put forth in three nonfiction books, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, The Virtue of Selfishness, and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. They are all available in Signet editions, as is the magnificent statement of her artistic credo, The Romantic Manifesto.
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