Inclusion in the Modernist Canon: The Potential of Ayn Rand
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of English Honors Theses; 2011
The modernist canon includes many influential writers who are as distinct from each other as they are from writers who reside in other canons. How then, is modernism defined and how is the modernist canon formed? Some authors—Virginia Woolf, James Joyce—are staples of any modernist explanation; others serve as good supplements—Henry James, Joseph Conrad— while others are, of course, left out. One of these latter—whom I argue nonetheless exemplifies modernism well—is Ayn Rand. The themes of Rand’s books are dystopic and illustrate a lost and confused world. The forms of her books deviate from the traditional romantic style, including outcast main characters, unique characterization, and allocating a long passage to a single soliloquy. Her motivation is a reaction to the modern phenomenon of socialism. While Ayn Rand is not currently included in the modernist canon, she satisfies these three conditions.
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