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Russian Radical 2.0: A Walk Down Memory Lane

Anoop Verma took me for a walk down memory lane with his newest blog entry, "On Ridpath's 'The Academic Deconstruction of Ayn Rand'." He also posted the link to Facebook, which has, of course, led to a spirited exchange. I added this comment about the publication history of my book, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical:

While you [Anoop] know I always appreciate you bringing attention to my work (and even its critics; after all, I put excerpts from all reviews, positive and negative, of all my work, right on my website), this is, of course, ancient history. Check out the Ridpath material (including my replies) indexed here. [Here are the direct links to an excerpt from the Ridpath review and these two comments by me.]
I do recall an interview that Ridpath gave some time after that essay appeared and he made a comment that ARI-affiliated scholars were working for years on Rand, and out of nowhere, this Sciabarra fellow came along and published this atrocious volume that has gotten all this attention. It's like I was a party-crasher. But believe me, the last thing any scholar would do, certainly back in 1995, would be to pick Ayn Rand as a subject for scholarly inquiry, and make her the focus of a 500-page book. Not exactly a way of endearing oneself to the predominantly left-wing academy or those conservative professors who opposed the lefties, and Ayn Rand as well.
As it happened, the book was rejected by many publishers before it found its home at Pennsylvania State University Press. Most university presses that reviewed the manuscript showed an appreciation of its scholarly quality, but rejected it because the subject (Rand) was "not worthy of scholarly attention." And they were quite honest about this. And virtually all trade presses showed an appreciation of any book on Rand that could potentially spike commercial sales, except they rejected the book because it was too scholarly.
So it was to the credit of Penn State Press, and its then director, Sandy Thatcher, that the book was published---going through seven printings before being republished in a second expanded edition in 2013. My relationship with PSUP also expanded, as they published the volume I coedited with Mimi Gladstein, Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, as well as the third installment of my "Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy": Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism. In 2013, they also became the publishers of a journal that I was a founding coeditor of back in 1999: The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. So the work continues...