Sunday, November 11, 2012

Robert Campbell - The Rewriting of Ayn Rand's Spoken Answers

This essay, published in The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, is one of the Journal's most important.  Robert Campbell shows how dramatically Robert Mayhew rewrote what Rand said in his book Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q & A.

As Professor Campbell says:

Even when he didn’t tamper with Rand’s answers, Mayhew’s editing has clouded and distorted them. Quoting from his book means quoting another author’s interpretation of Rand, in which some of the words and around 90% of the sentences are not her own. Any quotation taken from Mayhew’s volume is virtually guaranteed to be historically inaccurate. Neither the student of history nor the
general reader stands to benefit from assured inaccuracy. The Estate should withdraw the Mayhew volume and replace it with a more complete, very lightly edited collection of Rand’s answers to questions.

Jennifer Burns first revealed the systematic rewriting of six of the posthumous Rand books in 2009's Goddess of the Market.  Unfortunately there has been little outrage in the Objectivist community over this.