Ayn Rand's Evolving View of Friedrich Nietzsche

In Allan Gotthelf & Gregory Salmieri (eds.), A Companion to Ayn Rand. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 343–350 (2016)
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Abstract

This chapter describes the story of Ayn Rand's changing attitude toward Friedrich Nietzsche. One thing that can make the relationship between them difficult to understand is the fact that Rand's relation to Nietzsche changes considerably over the years. The history of this relationship can be divided roughly into three different periods. The first begins during her years as a student in Russia and ends with the completion of The Fountainhead (approximately 1921–1942). The second period follows upon the completion of The Fountainhead and ends with the completion of Atlas Shrugged (1942–1957). The third and last period (1957–1982) follows the writing of Atlas and ends with her death. When people associate Nietzsche with Rand, as they often do, they are not thinking of the metaphysical and epistemological issues as determinism and the validity of reason. They are probably thinking mainly of ethical issues.

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Lester Hunt
University of Wisconsin, Madison

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