BRYAN REGISTER, LIBERTY (JULY 2000): 50-52
"INTRODUCING AYN RAND"
In this review of Tibor Machan's Ayn Rand and Allan Gotthelf's On Ayn Rand, Bryan Register includes a number of comments about Sciabarra's Russian Radical. He criticizes both Machan and Gotthelf, but praises Machan for "point[ing] to Chris Matthew Sciabarra's work as the source of the current wave of academic interest in Rand. Gotthelf's work, on the other hand, is vitiated by a hagiographic dedication to the person of Ayn Rand. Nearly one-third of his 100 pages are devoted to discussing Rand's own life in the most celebratory tones possible. But despite all of this attention to Rand's personal development, he entirely ignores the events in her life which are actually important for understanding her philosophical vision: Rand's education in the Soviet university system, and especially her assimilation of the dialectical tradition which was central to every facet of the Russian intellectual scene.
"This history was brought to light in Barbara Branden's biography of Rand and discussed in great depth by Chris Matthew Sciabarra in his magisterial study, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. Gotthelf mentions the Branden biography only to dismiss it as 'psychologizing' . . . and forgets to inform his readers of the title of her book (The Passion of Ayn Rand), making it difficult for the undergraduate student to check Gotthelf's assertions against the facts. Sciabarra's work is not mentioned at all, though Gotthelf does say that, 'There is, unfortunately, not much of serious interpretive value among the secondary material that has been published on Ayn Rand in books and academic journals to date' (27). Again, Gotthelf's failure to mention his foils (e.g., Sciabarra's Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical) makes it hard to check his assertions against the facts."
(For a review of Gotthelf's book by Sciabarra, see his "Orthodox Interpretations of Ayn Rand.")
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