Ayn Rand was a melodramatist of the moral life

11-ayn-rand.w529.h529.2xCorey Robin at The Nation:

St. Petersburg in revolt gave us Vladimir Nabokov, Isaiah Berlin and Ayn Rand. The first was a novelist, the second a philosopher. The third was neither but thought she was both. Many other people have thought so too. In 1998 readers responding to a Modern Library poll identified Atlas Shrugged andThe Fountainhead as the two greatest novels of the twentieth century—surpassing Ulysses, To the Lighthouse and Invisible Man. In 1991 a survey by the Library of Congress and the Book-of-the-Month Club found that with the exception of the Bible, no book has influenced more American readers thanAtlas Shrugged.

One of those readers might well have been Farrah Fawcett. Not long before she died, the actress called Rand a “literary genius” whose refusal to make her art “like everyone else’s” inspired Fawcett’s experiments in painting and sculpture. The admiration, it seems, was mutual. Rand watched Charlie’s Angels each week and, according to Fawcett, “saw something” in the show “that the critics didn’t.”

She described the show as a “triumph of concept and casting.” Ayn said that while Angels was uniquely American, it was also the exception to American television in that it was the only show to capture true “romanticism”—it intentionally depicted the world not as it was, but as it should be. Aaron Spelling was probably the only other person to see Angels that way, although he referred to it as “comfort television.”

more here.