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The Rand Transcript, Revisited

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the publication of my book, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, and still marking the Rand Centenary, I have been publishing a number of retrospectives.

Today comes yet another essay. Published in the new issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, it is another installment in my continuing research on Rand's education in Russia, which I first examined in Russian Radical, and explored even further in two 1999 articles: "In Search of the Rand Transcript" (published in Liberty magazine) and "The Rand Transcript" (published in the very first issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies).

The newest article makes use of archival materials that were recently uncovered by Anne Heller, who is currently working on a biography entitled Ayn Rand: An American Life, scheduled for publication by Doubleday in 2007. Anne was remarkably generous in sharing these materials with me, and they provided some interesting additions to the historical record. I'm delighted as well to see a continuing stream of evidence that does not impugn, in any way, the conclusions I reached in my earlier studies over the past decade.

I've not only revisited the archives in this new essay; I've also revisited the subject of philosopher N. O. Lossky, who was Ayn Rand's philosophy professor during her first year at the University of Petrograd. We were able to recover and publish a rare photograph of Lossky, taken from his secret police file (kept by the GPU). It is a photo of a man who seems to echo the physical attributes of a philosophy teacher named "Professor Leskov," a character that Rand eventually cut from her most autobiographical novel, We the Living.

For my thoughts on all this, and on many other subjects of historical importance, read the whole essay, which is available today on my "Dialectics and Liberty" website:

"The Rand Transcript, Revisited" (PDF available here)

Comments welcome.