Ayn Rand : biography
After several delays, the film version of The Fountainhead was released in 1949. Although it used Rand’s screenplay with minimal alterations, she "disliked the movie from beginning to end", complaining about its editing, acting, and other elements.
Atlas Shrugged and Objectivism
In the years following the publication of The Fountainhead, Rand received numerous letters from readers, some of whom it profoundly influenced. In 1951 Rand moved from Los Angeles to New York City, where she gathered a group of these admirers around her. This group (jokingly designated "The Collective") included future Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, a young psychology student named Nathan Blumenthal (later Nathaniel Branden) and his wife Barbara, and Barbara’s cousin Leonard Peikoff. At first the group was an informal gathering of friends who met with Rand on weekends at her apartment to discuss philosophy. Later she began allowing them to read the drafts of her new novel, Atlas Shrugged, as the manuscript pages were written. In 1954 Rand’s close relationship with the younger Nathaniel Branden turned into a romantic affair, with the consent of their spouses.
Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957, was Rand’s magnum opus.; Rand described the theme of the novel as "the role of the mind in man’s existence—and, as a corollary, the demonstration of a new moral philosophy: the morality of rational self-interest."Salmieri, Gregory. "Atlas Shrugged on the Role of the Mind in Man’s Existence". In It advocates the core tenets of Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism and expresses her concept of human achievement. The plot involves a dystopian United States in which the most creative industrialists, scientists and artists go on strike and retreat to a mountainous hideaway where they build an independent free economy. The novel’s hero and leader of the strike, John Galt, describes the strike as "stopping the motor of the world" by withdrawing the minds of the individuals most contributing to the nation’s wealth and achievement. With this fictional strike, Rand intended to illustrate that without the efforts of the rational and productive, the economy would collapse and society would fall apart. The novel includes elements of romance, mystery, and science fiction, and it contains Rand’s most extensive statement of Objectivism in any of her works of fiction, a lengthy monologue delivered by Galt.
Despite many negative reviews, Atlas Shrugged became an international bestseller, and in an interview with Mike Wallace, Rand declared herself "the most creative thinker alive". After completing the novel, Rand fell into a severe depression.; Atlas Shrugged was Rand’s last completed work of fiction; a turning point in her life, it marked the end of Rand’s career as a novelist and the beginning of her role as a popular philosopher.
In 1958 Nathaniel Branden established Nathaniel Branden Lectures, later incorporated as the Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI), to promote Rand’s philosophy. Collective members gave lectures for NBI and wrote articles for Objectivist periodicals that she edited. Rand later published some of these articles in book form. Critics, including some former NBI students and Branden himself, have described the culture of NBI as one of intellectual conformity and excessive reverence for Rand, with some describing NBI or the Objectivist movement itself as a cult or religion.; Rand expressed opinions on a wide range of topics, from literature and music to sexuality and facial hair, and some of her followers mimicked her preferences, wearing clothes to match characters from her novels and buying furniture like hers. Rand was unimpressed with many of the NBI students and held them to strict standards, sometimes reacting coldly or angrily to those who disagreed with her.; ; However, some former NBI students believe the extent of these behaviors has been exaggerated, with the problem being concentrated among Rand’s closest followers in New York.;