Sunday, February 20, 2011

Atlas Shrugged the Movie

I see that part one of Atlas Shrugged, the Movie, is due out soon. I am looking forward to it. The trailer follows.

I read Atlas Shrugged first at secondary school. I knew nothing about it, it was just on the shelf, so I read it as a novel. I found it a but turgid in spots, but got involved in the story. I then read it again a number of times while at school and at university because I had become interested in the ideas.

I suspect that many of the book's later proponents and indeed Ayn Rand herself might be surprised at the conclusions I drew from her ideas. I read the book in complete isolation from any US threads of thought. I also read it in the context of my Christian beliefs, family traditions and the political and intellectual tradition that I came from. It remains one of the most influential books that I have read, influencing everything from my political views to my approach to public policy and to management.

I have deliberately not looked at any of the arguments around the film, although again I can guess, nor have I sought to read the book again. I internalised it a long time ago, and I don't want current arguments or even my current thought to distort my perceptions before I can put them down 


Winton Bates said...

I have my fingers crossed about the film. I hope the people making it manage to portray the characters as they are described in the book. I first read the book properly only in 2009 and was surprised to find that the main characters did not seem particularly selfish.
I will be very interested to read your perceptions.

Jim Belshaw said...

Winton, Ayn Rand praises the virtue of selfishness, but this is not Gordon Gekko's greed is good. Her wreckers are the greed is good crowd.

Perceptions will follow Monday or Tuesday.

Neil said...

Why bother when "The Grapes of Wrath" is already available on DVD?

I won't be bothering... Some writers deserve to be forgotten.

Much prefer Tolstoy anyway.

Jim Belshaw said...

Good lord, Neil. Different drums, I guess. I read Grapes of Wrath at the same time and can't remember it beyond feeling that I should complete the book.

War and Peace is different. That was the biggest book I ever read at primary school, and I read it twice. My poor father then felt obliged to read it and struggled!

Anonymous said...

Jim - I see you mention this as "part 1" of Atlas Shrugged? Anyway, I hope it's at least as good as the book, but that's probably unlikely.

I must admit the book made me very uncomfortable, and increasingly so as I get older. It will be very interesting to see where you take this.


rummuser said...

I read all Ayn Rand's books about the same time that I think you did. I was impressed with the leading characters. For some strange reason, I went back to the whole collection again last year. I saw the philosophy in a different light altogether. I think that her books must be read in one's middle ages to make any sense. I will skip the movie I think.

Jim Belshaw said...

KVD, RM I don't especially want to read the books again, although I may do so one day, simply because I am happy with what I got from them. If I did read them again, it would be from a different perspective - more her role in the evolution of certain ways of thinking.