How did she discover Ayn Rand? What intrigued her enough to write a biography? What challenges did she encounter in her research? Anne Heller answers these and other questions for Atlasphere readers.
The Atlasphere: How did you discover Ayn Rand? You didn’t find her novels as a teenager, like many of her fans.
Anne Heller: No, I didn’t read her novels as a teenager. In high school and college I was interested in Nineteenth Century poets and novelists, such as George Eliot and Charles Dickens. I first read Rand eight years ago and was surprised to discover that, in some respects, she too was a kind of Nineteenth Century literary artist: the author of epic tales of moral and social conflict that cast light on the pivotal issues of the day.
I was editing a trial issue of a new financial magazine at Condé Nast Publications in 2002 when a contributor to the magazine sent me a copy of the famous “Money Speech” from Atlas Shrugged. The speech, given by a young copper baron to an assembled crowd of liberal politicians, argues that money, far from being the root of all evil, as the politicians pretend to think, is really “the root of all good” and “the barometer of a society’s virtue.”