Picture of Essays on Ayn Rand's "We the Living"

Essays on Ayn Rand's "We the Living"

By Ayn Rand


Edited by Robert Mayhew. 

This is the first book-length study of Ayn Rand's first novel, which was published in 1936—ten years after she left Soviet Russia, and during America's "Red Decade." Essays deal with historical, literary and philosophical themes. Essays on the history of We the Living cover: the drafts of the novel; the historical accuracy of its setting and the extent to which the novel is autobiographical; and, Rand's struggles with a hostile culture first to publish We the Living, and then to adapt it.

Essays providing literary analyses include a comparison of We the Living and the fiction of Victor Hugo (Ayn Rand's favorite writer). Also covered are We the Living's plot, theme, characterization and style—what Ayn Rand, in her writings on literary esthetics, considered the four essential attributes of a novel. The theme of We the Living is the individual against the state, and the sanctity of human life. These issues are dealt with in detail, especially in the essays which focus on philosophical topics. A number of essays in this collection make extensive use of previously unpublished material from the Ayn Rand Archives.

Table of Contents



Bibliographical Note

Part 1: The History of We the Living

1. From Airtight to We the Living: The Drafts of Ayn Rand's First Novel

Shoshana Milgram

2. Parallel Lives: Models and Inspirations for Characters in We the Living

Scott McConnell

3. We the Living and the Rosenbaum Family Letters

Dina Schein Federman

4. Russian Revolutionary Ideology and We the Living

John Ridpath

5. The Music of We the Living

Michael S. Berliner

6. Publishing We the Living

Richard E. Ralston

7. Reviews of We the Living

Michael S. Berliner

8. Adapting We the Living

Jeff Britting

9. We the Living: '36 and '59

Robert Mayhew

Part 2: We the Livingas Literature and as Philosophy

10. We the Living and Victor Hugo: Ayn Rand's First Novel and the Novelist She Ranked First

Shoshana Milgram

11. Red Pawn: Ayn Rand's other Story of Soviet Russia

Jena Trammell

12. The Integration of Plot and Theme in We the Living

Andrew Bernstein

13. Kira's Family

John Lewis

14. Kira Argounova Laughed: Humor and Joy in We the Living

Robert Mayhew

15. Forbidding Life to Those Still Living

Tara Smith

16. The Death Premise in We the Living and Atlas Shrugged

Onkar Ghate

Select Bibliography


About the Contributors

(Softcover; 369 pages)