The Romantic Manifesto

by Ayn Rand

In her ethics Ayn Rand extolled the virtue of selfishness—and in her theory of art she was no lessradical.

  • Paperback
  • Pages: 160 pages
  • Average Rating: 3.73 out of 5
  • Published January 1st 1971 by Signet
  • Original Title: The Romantic Manifesto
  • ISBN: 0451088786 (ISBN13: 9780451088789)
  • Edition Language: English
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In her ethics Ayn Rand extolled the virtue of selfishness—and in her theory of art she was no less radical. Piercing the fog of mysticism and sentimentality that engulfs art, the essays in The Romantic Manifesto explain why, since time immemorial, man has created and consumed works of art.Ayn Rand argues that objective standards in art are possible because art is not a subjective luxury, but rather a critical need of human life—not a material need, but a need of man’s rational mind, the faculty on which his material survival depends.Ayn Rand explains the indispensable function of art in man’s life (ch. 1), the objective source of man’s deeply personal, emotional response to art (ch. 2), and how an artist’s fundamental, often unstated view of man and of the world shapes his creations (ch. 3).Turning to her own field of artistic creation, Rand elaborates (ch. 5) on her distinctive theory of literature and identifies principles by which to judge an artwork objectively. “What is Romanticism?” (ch. 6) sheds new light on the nature and philosophy of the school of literature under which Rand classified her own work. Later essays explain how contemporary art reveals the debased intellectual state of our culture (ch. 7, 8 and 9).In the final essay Rand articulates the goal of her own fiction writing as “the projection of an ideal man, as an end in itself”—and explains that she originated her philosophy as a means to this end.Table of ContentsIntroductionThe Psycho-Epistemology of ArtPhilosophy and Sense of LifeArt and Sense of LifeArt and CognitionBasic Principles of LiteratureWhat Is Romanticism?The Esthetic Vacuum of Our AgeBootleg RomanticismArt and Moral TreasonIntroduction to Ninety-ThreeThe Goal of My WritingThe Simplest Thing in the WorldIndex