June 8, 2005

Atlas snickered . . .


In a Bonhams auction of books from the personal library of Ayn Rand, this listing for Mary McCarthy‘s The Humanist in the Bathtub notes some of Rand’s marginalia, all of which was composed in red ink. For example, an essay on fiction bears the note, “Good God Almighty! That woman is a sewer!” Another entry, a memoir, says the catalogue listing, “After many exclamation points and expostulations in the margins,” has this note appended at the end: “She hates the ex-communists because they do, or pretend to, take ideas seriously. The theory of chance, or ‘determinism,’ is so obviously her excuse for social-metaphysical drifting and purposelessness that it’s shocking to see so clearly in so short an article.” Another essays closes with the note, “This is a wonderful key to the psychological corruption of modern writers and of modern intellectuals in general.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.