Important page from Ayn Rand’s handwritten draft of her extremely influential novel Atlas Shrugged, 7.5 x 10.75, marked “197” at the top, no date but circa 1950s. A hand-corrected and revised page from one of the most memorable scenes in the book, a terse exchange between heroine Dagny Taggart and Lillian Rearden, after she learns of Dagny’s affair with her husband, Hank Rearden. In full: “‘It was I,’ said Lillian, ‘who took Rearden Metal away from him.’ It sounded almost like a plea. It was not within the power of Dagney’s consciousness ever to know what it was that Lillian had hoped to find in her face; she knew only that she had not found it, when she heard the sudden sharpness of Lillian’s voice: ‘Have you understood me?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Then no further explanations are necessary; only the reminder that all the factual evidence—hotel registers, jewelry bills and stuff [...]” Attractively double-matted and framed with a portrait of Rand to an overall size of 20 x 17.25. In fine condition.
Ayn Rand had spent 12 years working on her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged, espousing her controversial philosophy of objectivism, before it was first published in 1957 only to become one of the most influential novels of the 20th century. Regarded as much as a political philosopher as a novelist, Rand wrote a masterpiece in her first draft before completing a final manuscript. Her assistant, Barbara Branden, saved this page of the heavily corrected and reworked original first draft manuscript—most of the other pages being discarded after transcription. The final manuscript in its entirety is held by the Library of Congress, making this piece excessively rare. Branden was able to keep 29 pages of the first draft as a sample of the work in progress, all from chapters two and three of Part III, 'The Utopia of Greed' and 'Anti-Greed.' Reflecting on her time working with Rand, Branden later wrote: 'My prized possession is the manuscript pages of Atlas Shrugged, written in Ayn’s strong, angular hand—a gift I have treasured for 40 years. Touching these pages sweeps me back to the years of reading the manuscript as Ayn was writing it—the excitement of being carried into a saner universe than the one I knew—the joy of discovering the answers to so many questions that had seemed to have no answer—the ecstatic sense of encountering, on each page, a mind of such power and range that I knew I would never find its equal again.'
The text here offered comes from 'Anti-Greed,' in which Lillian confronts Dagny after Hank Rearden signs over control of Rearden Metal to the government in order to prevent the knowledge of his affair with Dagny from becoming public. In the final version of Atlas Shrugged, this passage includes an additional piece of lengthy dialogue by Lillian in which she threatens to make the affair public unless Dagny appears on a radio program to endorse the collectivist government—she agrees, but undermines the blackmail by admitting to the affair on the radio and uses the public platform to admonish the government's actions. This is a pivotal moment in the novel, which is considered by many a turning point in man's intellectual history. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
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