The Best English-Language Fiction of the Twentieth Century
A Composite List and Ranking
by Brian Kunde


<- Rand, Ayn, 1905-1982.
         Birth name: Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum. Russian born American screenwriter, playwright, novelist and philosopher. Best known as the guru of Objectivism, which has attracted to her extremes of both devotion and criticism. An advocate of individualism and capitalism.
  • <- Atlas Shrugged. 1957.
             Rand's last and longest novel, setting forth her Objectivist philosophy. Set in an alernate America in which inovation is being stifled by the forces of collectivism and statism, the book follows protagonists and eventual lovers Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden as they try to keep their industries afloat. As the government tightens its repressive grip, other business leaders disappear, impeding the ability of the country to function. The disappearances are ultimately revealed as a movement organized by one John Galt, who by convincing the key productive people to withdraw support for the distopian society hopes to overthrow it. A film trilogy is in production, with the first two installments appearing in 2011 and 2012.
  • <- The Fountainhead. 1943.
             The story of the checkered career of modernist architect Howard Roark, largely one of failure due to his insistance on the purity of his individualistic vision in the face of the traditional and compromising values of his profession. His life is contrasted with that of successful but superficial colleague Peter Keating. Complications are provided by demonic critic Ellsworth M. Toohey, who tries to ruin Roark, and newspaper owner Gail Wynand, who champions him. Weather vane love-interest Dominique Francon embodies the struggle between idealism and convention in a more literal sense, wedding Keating, Wynand and Roark in turn. Adapted to film in 1949.

Posted Jan. 19, 2012, and last updated May 14, 2013.
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Published by Fleabonnet Press.
The source list data is public domain.
Additional material © 1999-2013 by Brian Kunde.