Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the novel. Atlas Shrugged is a 1957 novel by Ayn Rand.
Rand’s fourth and final novel, it was also her longest, and the one she considered to be her magnum opus in the realm of fiction writing. The book depicts a dystopian United States in which private businesses suffer under increasingly burdensome laws and regulations. Railroad executive Dagny Taggart and her lover, steel magnate Hank Rearden, struggle against looters who want to exploit their productivity, including Dagny’s brother and Hank’s wife. The theme of Atlas Shrugged, as Rand described it, is “the role of man’s mind in existence”. The book explores a number of philosophical themes from which Rand would subsequently develop Objectivism.
Atlas Shrugged received largely negative reviews after its 1957 publication, but achieved enduring popularity and consistent sales in the following decades. Atlas Shrugged: Part III: Who Is John Galt? Rand’s stated goal for writing the novel was “to show how desperately the world needs prime movers and how viciously it treats them” and to portray “what happens to the world without them”. The core idea for the book came to her after a 1943 telephone conversation with a friend, who asserted that Rand owed it to her readers to write fiction about her philosophy.
Rand replied, “What if I went on strike? Rand studied operations of the New York Central Railroad as research for the story. To produce Atlas Shrugged, Rand conducted research on the American railroad industry. Rand’s self-identified literary influences include Victor Hugo, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Edmond Rostand, and O. Atlas Shrugged was Rand’s last completed work of fiction.