Matthew Lieff Christian & Sophia Lauwers in
Anthem | Photo: Carol Rosegg  

What one makes of the literary merits, such as they are, of Ayn Rand depends on what company she keeps. For her most perfervid admirers, she is both a great novelist and a great philosopher, and the relevant points of comparison are Aristotle and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, in whose company Rand must be considered a figure of no significance. Rand was known to compare herself with pop-pulp figures, notably Mickey Spillane, alongside whom she looks pretty good. In my mind, Rand should be judged against other novelists with similarly unsubtle sociopolitical agendas, such as John Steinbeck and Charles Dickens. In that company, Rand has a mixed...

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