From a Society of Second‐Handers to Galt’s Gulch: Ayn Rand’s Counter‐Worlds

Item Type Book Section

In the wake of the economic crisis and with the rise of the Tea Party Movement in the United States, Ayn Rand’s novels have been (re-)discovered by a large readership. Advocating a stark individualism and laissez-faire capitalism, Rand’s opus magnum "Atlas Shrugged" (1957) resonates with many Americans’ fears that their country may resemble more and more the dystopian world shown in the novel. At the same time, many entrepreneurs dream of the kind of “corporate utopia” that the readers encounter in Galt’s Gulch. "Atlas Shrugged" thus presents two counter-worlds, no in-between or ambiguous spaces. Although Rand’s last novel is particularly built on the contrasts and proximity of utopian and dystopian worlds, she plays with these antipodes in her entire fictional oeuvre. This paper suggests that the latter is not only a narrative technique which shall better transport her works’ political message, but that it also reflects how Rand perceived her past home continent, Europe.
In order to explain the latter, the paper first briefly introduces Ayn Rand, her work, and its significance for the American Right. In a second step, it retraces how the development of counter-worlds becomes very early on a central feature in Rand’s fiction. Finally, it will discuss the significance of this narrative theme both with regard to Rand’s political intentions and convictions.

Authors Brühwiler, Claudia Franziska
Editors Fürst, Saskia; Kaisinger, Yvonne & Poole, Ralph
Subjects cultural studies
political science
Institute/School SHSS - School of Humanities and Social Sciences
IfB - Institute of Management
?? HSG RegW ÖP ??
SEPS - School of Economics and Political Science
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area SHSS - Kulturen, Institutionen, Maerkte (KIM)
Date 1 November 2017
Publisher LIT-Verlag
Place of Publication Wien
Series Name American Studies in Austria
Volume 17
Page Range 83-99
Title of Book US American Expressions of Utopian and Dystopian Visions
ISBN 978-3-643-90931-2
Official URL
Depositing User PD Dr. Claudia Franziska Brühwiler
Date Deposited 04 Jan 2018 08:12
Last Modified 18 Feb 2018 01:22


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Brühwiler, Claudia Franziska: From a Society of Second‐Handers to Galt’s Gulch: Ayn Rand’s Counter‐Worlds. In: American Studies in Austria. Wien : LIT-Verlag, 2017, S. 83-99.

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