The Editors · Ayn Rand
Jenny Turner on Paul Ryan’s lodestar, Ayn Rand (LRB, 1 December 2005):
...But really, storytelling was Rand’s talent, and it is in her novels that her vision takes its truest shape. In Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, power, greed, life’s grandeur flow hot and red in thrilling descriptions of urban and industrial landscapes, all ‘girders, cranes and trusses’ and ‘glowing cylinders’ and ‘fountains of sparks’ and ‘black coils of steam’. She’s good at sublimes, in other words, physical and elemental, the awe and terror as great as in any Romantic view of rocks and hills. But Rand is not interested in natural beauty, or even in the industrialised and modern sort of sublimity Marshall Berman found in Marx. It’s overpowering that really excites her, depredation and destruction and nature being despoiled.