Thursday, July 27, 2006

James Valliant on We the Living

In 1936 Rand published We the Living. In 1959, Rand prepared a revised version and made some changes. Some of the changes concerned areas with philosophical content. According to Valliant, Branden and some critics have argued that Rand deliberately toned down certain allegedly Nietzschian aspects of the work. Rand however denied that she made any changes affecting the “content of the novel.” (page 44.)

According to Valliant, this speculation is baseless and Branden’s claim is tantamount to accusing Rand of “self delusion.” He argues that Rand’s Journals (which were of course published after Branden’s biography) show that she had rejected important parts of Nietzsche’s system by 1934.

Again, how this demonstrates that Branden is engaged in an attack on Rand or deliberately misrepresenting the content or the changes to We the Living is not clear. And since writers in addition to Branden have made similar claims, what’s the big deal?

Incidentally, David Ramsay Steele sees Branden's discussion of the changes in We the Living as an attempt to downplay the changes (thus defending Rand).


Anonymous said...

Downplay these "differences"?

I'd like to know exactly WHAT they (or you) think Rand was saying that is a "difference," since any notion of a Nietzschean, authoritarian, etc., Rand is contradicted by other contents of the original novel and Rand's views when writing the novel -- shown by her notes.

Rand said whole "paragraphs" had to be cut, as they were too "confusing" to remain.

Once again, the issue here is Ms. Branden's misconstruction of Rand's own views on the matter. Something you persistently ignore.

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