New York: Random House, 1957. First edition, first printing. Octavo. Original green cloth over boards with gilt titling and dust jacket (not price-clipped) with $6.95 price and 10/57 on front inside flap and publisher’s full address to rear inside flap. Superb first printing in a bright dust jacket, minor edgewear to dust jacket at spine and folds, with slight chipping to head of spine, and small abrasions to front and spine of dust jacket, else fine in a very good dust jacket. Item #66
Exceptional first edition of Ayn Rand’s (1905–1982) magnum opus and libertarian classic. Reportedly born from a conversation between Rand and fellow libertarian novelist, Isabel Paterson, Atlas Shrugged explores the morality of self-interest by depicting the consequences of a general strike by creative professionals who henceforth refuse to share with the world their art, innovations, and ideas. Set in a dystopic future America, Atlas Shrugged combines science fiction, mystery, philosophy, and romance to investigate several essential themes, including the nature of rationality, morality, capitalism, and individualism. The book would prove to be her longest novel and arguably her clearest statement (in fictional form) of the Objectivist philosophy that she spent much of her academic career fashioning. Together with other works in her oeuvre, including The Fountainhead (1943), Rand employed Atlas Shrugged to embody and express Objectivism’s primary tenets, which include the belief that reality exists independently of consciousness, that human beings directly experience reality through their senses, that one can attain objective knowledge of the world through such sense perception, that the morally virtuous person pursues his or her own happiness, and that the only social system consistent with such morality is laissez-faire capitalism. Rand began writing Atlas Shrugged in 1946 following the success of The Fountainhead, which was then being adapted for film. Rand would compose and refine the book over the next several years, sharing early drafts of the novel with a coterie of students who had begun meeting at her house to discuss philosophy, including Alan Greenspan (economist and future chair of the Federal Reserve) and Leonard Peikoff (philosopher and future Objectivist popularizer). Rand would spend over two years writing John Galt’s radio address until, in 1956, Rand was prepared to deliver the manuscript to the publishers. Atlas Shrugged has remained a popular classic ever since its publication in 1957, and has been translated into over thirty languages. The book was also selected as a finalist in 1958 for the prestigious National Book Award for Fiction, and it was among the first winners of the Prometheus Awards’ Hall of Fame Award for libertarian science fiction alongside Robert Heinlein’s 1966 classic, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. An exceptionally bright first edition of Rand’s magnum opus whose libertarian message continues to influence readers throughout the world.