02 June 2007

Ayn Rand. Atlas Shrugged.

Ayn Rand was her Ellis Island name, the Rand taken from the make of her typewriter. She prefigures our own Maggie Thatcher in her belief that there was no such thing as society. In the early 30s she wrote screenpplays in Hollywood, the kind of thing it would be pleasing to turn up unnoticed somewhere. Among her fans are Rush Limbaugh, Michael Caine, Alan Greenspan and the metal group Rush. She has shifted 30 million books...

Ayn Rand. ATLAS SHRUGGED. Random House, NY 1957.

Current Selling Prices
$1200-$2000 / £600-£1000

Ayn Rand had original wanted to call it 'On Strike' but her husband came up with 'Atlas Shrugged', a brilliant title. Not absolutely sure what it means. Has sold over 6 million copies and changed lives. Novel of ideas. Very pro capitalism. Often voted greatest novel of the 20th Century in USA, occasionally it's 'The Hobbit' and sometimes 'Ulysses.' Book opens 'Who is John Galt?" and it takes 650 pages before the reader gets the glimmer of an answer. The phrase has entered the language as an expression of puzzlement, apprehension or mock despair. Not quite as memorable as 'Call me Ishmael' but a darn good opening line. 2008 is said to the date of the release of the movie. A film 'The Passion of Ayn Rand' starring Helen Mirren gives a slightly chilling portrait of her. Peter Fonda plays her long suffering spouse.

VALUE? A very decent first wearing jacket can be had for less than $1800. Faultless copies can be found at about twice this although oddly a copy described as '...Very fine copy in a fine plus first issue jacket...' is not faultless but rubbed at corners. I guess 'very fine' is better than 'fine plus' but both are a few degrees short of very fine plus. This sort of grading is a little dubious but you tend to see it around Rand and also SF highspots. Her prices are not going down, despite the Rush / Rush endorsement, if anthing they are keeping pace with inflation.

Because of its size (1168 pages) the jacket is often creased or torn. Fat books tend to shrug off their jackets. Signed copies go for more but are not impossibly rare and many signatures are in reprints or in the 2000 signed copies of the 1967 anniversary edition. Patient buyers can find copies of the 1967 edition at ebay for sober prices. Do not exchange a new Jaguar for one. [ W/Q *** ]

No comments: