In this 1962 radio lecture, Ayn Rand explains her theory of esthetics (the branch of philosophy concerned with art), discussing the role that art and literature play in human life. “Do not make the mistake of concluding that the purpose of art is education or enlightenment or propaganda, or any kind of narrow didactic message,” Rand observes. “Art is the expression of men’s deepest, most fundamental, most philosophical values.”
From 1962-1965, Ayn Rand conducted a series of radio lectures and interviews at Columbia University’s student run radio station, WKCR. The series entitled “Ayn Rand on Campus” covered a broad range of topics. This download includes the lecture and accompanying Q & A session.
Delving into the art form of the novel, Rand discusses the philosophical roots of both the Romanticist and Naturalist schools of literature. Critical of modern literature, she explains why she prefers Romantic heroes and what it means for them to be “larger than life,” and she identifies a few remnants of Romantic literature in contemporary times.
The Q & A that follows the lecture expands on its subject matter and includes the following topics:
The defining characteristics of the Romanticist school of art
The relationship between art and “sense of life”
Free will and determinism in art
Costume novels and detective stories
Artists as abstract thinkers
The plot in literature
Epic literature and Greek tragedies
Oedipus Rex, Macbeth and Othello
(MP3 download; 97 min., with Q & A, 69.71 MB)
The description of this product was written and/or edited by ARI staff.