You've found Father McKenzie. But are you really looking for Eleanor Rigby?

Friday, October 12, 2007

"I, the Jury" meets "We, the Living"

"Tomorrow, October 12, marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged...
In his 1989 memoir, Judgment Day: My Years With Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Branden recalls that Rand once enjoyed a literary friendship with another popular and controversial author - Mickey Spillane. Branden recalls that when Rand first met Spillane she found the tough-guy novelist crying in his soup. "They sure hate us, don't they?" he told her, lamenting all those harsh reviews. "Some literary guy," Spillane added, had recently approached him at a dinner party and said, "it's disgraceful that of the ten bestselling novels of all time, seven were written by you." "You're lucky," Spillane replied, "that I've only written seven books."
Spillane was right to think he deserved a bit more critical praise. When he was bad, he was very bad: gratuitously violent and crude. But the author of I, The Jury and My Gun Is Quick had certain talents too: a clean and vivid style, a sly wit, and a distinctive narrative voice that hints throughout of self-parody. Moreover, Spillane was, by most accounts, a sociable and likable fellow, and seems to have largely avoided the urge to take himself too seriously. Ayn Rand took herself very seriously indeed..."

- Brian Murray, "Who Is John Galt? And Does Anyone Care Anymore?" First Things "On the Square" blog (Thursday 11 October 2007)

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