The Romantic Manifesto
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The Romantic Manifesto

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  1,924 ratings  ·  78 reviews
In her ethics AynRand extolled the virtue of selfishness—and in her theory of art she was no less radical. Piercing the fog of mysticism and sentimentality that engulfs art, the essays in The Romantic Manifesto explain why, since time immemorial, man has created and consumed works of art.

AynRand argues that objective standards in art are possible because art is not a subje...more
Paperback, 199 pages
Published January 1st 1971 by Signet (first published 1969)
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With this one, Rand really jumped the shark for me.

I was willing to try her philosophical essays in The Virtue of Selfishness, and I read a couple of her novels as well. But, the zealous condemning of whole branches of art and literature, because it didn't fit with her idea of what art should do? Condemning Dostoyevski and embracing James Bond? Not that there's anything wrong with Ian Flemming, but still.

To make it clear what I'm arguing AGAINST, let me tell you the thesis Rand is arguing in th...more
Part IIII of multi-part review series.

Nutshell: person who has read a half dozen novels and no literary theory writes treatise on literary theory.

Opens with an dictionary definition of manifesto, regarding a declaration of intentions by an organization, then promptly states that this manifesto is “not issued in the name of an organization or movement. I speak only for myself” (v). The title is therefore revealed in the preface to be dishonest. We are accordingly off to a standard start in a Rand...more
Ayn Rand should be read by Christians and atheists alike. I wholeheartedly disagree with the end for which she writes--the glory of man--yet find inspiration in much of the means she uses to get there. She despised much of what was called art and literature in her own day, and thus wrote for the purpose of projecting "an ideal man" (162). She will not settle for the ordinary-ness of humanity. She wants to call people up to something great.

As a Christian, I resonate with this. Humanity is not or...more
Some of Rand's opinions about art I happen to disagree with, but overall her ROMANTIC MANIFESTO is, without a doubt, the most cohesive definition of "good art" that I've ever come across. At times, the fact that THE ROMANTIC MANIFESTO is actually a collection of essays which originally appeared in Rand’s newsletter, THE OBJECTIVIST, over a course of several years makes the book feel a little disjointed, but it certainly holds together a lot better than, say, Tolstoy's "WHAT IS ART?", which I rea...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
I know a lot of people sneer at Ayn Rand and her admirers. But one would think the one thing they'd acknowledge is that she was a writer who knew how to tell a story. *thinks of reviews she's seen.* OK, maybe not. But even if I'm not an uncritical devotee, I for one do love her style, do, with some reservations, love her novels. And I think the core of her argument here is absolutely true--you can't write fiction without revealing your philosophy and values--even if you try. Ayn Rand is the one...more
This is a curious collection of essays that apply Rand's objectivist philosophy to her interpretation of the arts. As such, the book makes some interesting points about how art should be assessed, and she rightly states that art appreciation is best done with a rational, critical and cognitively engaged mind. However, the limitations of her philosophy are betrayed in many of her conclusions, some of which are surprising, even laughable, and others of which are merely pathetically narrow-minded....more
Or, How to Train Yourself to Be a Philistine in Twelve Easy Chapters.

Since this is a book about art, I have no objection to judging it by its cover. The cover on my edition (not pictured here) is of some winged Icarus striving up toward the sun. An apt metaphor to put on the front cover, for those who know the Icarus story, because the rest of the book is the long descent to the final *splat*.

I should have put the book down after reading the first page, wherein Rand asserts that aesthetics up un...more
Full disclosure -- I read a lot of Ayn Rand when I was about sixteen or seventeen. It's appealing at around that age. Now I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole! I'm giving it three stars (rather than one) for how I (apparently) felt about it back then.

The same applies to Thomas Wolfe, but I still retain a fondness for him even if I can't manage to get through any of his books anymore. Oh, and Hermann Hesse. I read a lot of Hesse, but the only one I was even remotely tempted to reread was The Gl...more
My third most favorite book of Ms. Ayn Rand " The Romantic Manifesto"(Esthetics), it's the pillar of her foundation, and so was her Epistemology. Once, you read this book the way you look arts will change. Arts become meaningful especially of undestanding "Romanticism" and realize how arts relates the world around you.

Romanticism---is a category of art based on the recognition of the principle that man possesses the faculty of volition. It deals, not with the random trivia of the day, but with t...more
Deb Seksay
Nov 28, 2008 Deb Seksay rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Elitists, people incapable of logic. I want to watch your head explode i na cloud of logic.
Recommended to Deb by: Ruff
In a word, for me, phenomenal. A short book on what I love about art, music, and literature, and what I hate about most of the reading, art, and music that people recommend to me. I do not believe that my life is meant to be full of suffering: I've done that part already, and I'm watching people older than me letting life happen to them as opposed to engaging or participating therein. This is a handy little ho- to guide for identifying people that will violently object to morality or naming thei...more
This is probably may favorite of all of Ayn Rand's nonfiction works, because despite her rationality and intellectuality, she deals here with esthetics or art, and in my view the fundamental source of that is creativity itself, a process which she treats quite well from a disciplined intellectual perspective but whose source I think might remain unable to be pinned down by the intellect, much as the mind itself might remain ultimately non-graspable by the intellect. I came away from this book es...more
Ayn may have the most rational philosophical basis of thought to ever grace mankind. Her perspective on psycho-epistemology opens worlds of understanding the judgment and action of man.
As I read The Romantic Manifesto all I can think is- "there is no convincing enough argument to promote the grandeur of this book... nothing I could say to others could portray the urgency I feel for them to read this book..."
The description on the back of the book describes "The Romantic Manifesto" as " of...more
Robert Vlach
Kniha řízných esejů s podtitulem A Philosophy of Literature (Filozofie literatury) svou autorku nezapře. Ayn Rand psala o filozofii pro život na Zemi, známé jako objektivismus či realistický romantismus. Vtěchto textech se zaměřila konkrétně na obhajobu racionálního aselektivního přístupu k umělecké tvorbě, zejména s ohledem na formativní přínos. Umění zpočátku definuje jako dílo, které je nejvyšším cílem samo o sobě. Dále však tuto myšlenku rozvádí mnohem hlouběji a vedle románu přidává další f...more
Portrayal of art unlike any other. Just as always, clear, purposeful, eloquence that brings light to most complex things in life.
Only for die hard Ayn Rand fans.
Another serving of Ayn Rand's genius, her treatise on the philosophy of art forced me to think about art in ways I had not before. It asked me to define what art is--what it does. Like Francis Schaefer, Rand sees the connection between the art a culture produces and that culture's philosophical outlook. Rand is concerned with ethics and how art reveals one's view of humankind (a high view or a low view). Her premise is found in her (apt, I believe) definition of art as "a selective re-creation o...more
Don Geronimo
The Romantic Manifesto is a collection of Ayn Rand's essays and works regarding the state of art for the objectivist man. That said, there is a lot of repeated statements in each statement because it is a collection of her works. At many times it will seem like she is repeating herself. That's because she is. Another warning is the book is extremely Western-centric, ignoring various ethnocultural views of art and art's purpose in one's culture.

The world is full of the mundane and appreciates the...more
Teri Anderson
This is a collection of Ayn Rand essays regarding literature, philosophy and art, written at various times in her life. She defines Romanticism as "a category of art based on the recognition of the principle that man possesses the faculty of volition." Rand calls Romanticism "the greatest achievement of art history" and mourns its destruction. The other opposing broad artistic category she defines is Naturalism, which "denies the existence of man's volition."

Ponder these words by Rand:

It is imp
Brent McCulley
Rand's esthetic ideals were never kept under wraps, indeed, they were overtly plain for every to see. In spite of this, with her Romantic Manifesto Rand has written a new declaration proclaiming her specific intentions on art and literature derived from her philosophical inclinations.

Rand's view on mankind is simple: Man is an end in himself, and not a means to a great end. It is for that reason why Rand's aestheticism is chiefly rooted in the fundamental obligation to glorify the greatness of m...more
Carrie Andersen
The Romantic Manifesto, by Ayn Rand,is a philosophy about how art affects life. This book was published in 1971, January 1. Ayn Rand wrote many books, all philosophical and all were successful sellers.
In The Romantic Manifesto, Rand writes about how she believes that art comes from within every human being, and that it has a great influence on us. In the book, she often talks about how people today don't realize and forget how important art can be to us and how it affects our lives so much. Sh...more
Carrie Andersen
The Romantic Manifesto, by Ayn Rand,is a philosophy about how art affects life. This book was published in 1971, January 1. Ayn Rand wrote many books, all philosophical and all were successful sellers.
In The Romantic Manifesto, Rand writes about how she believes that art comes from within every human being, and that it has a great influence on us. In the book, she often talks about how people today don't realize and forget how important art can be to us and how it affects our lives so much. She...more
Scott Forbes
This is my favorite book, with the possible exception of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil. It is Ayn Rand's esthetics book. It is extremely lucid and direct. There are no questions as to where Ayn Rand stands. She is brilliant and at times very poetic. She interrupts your life to give out a free course in how to think like an artist or philosopher concerning not beauty or art proper, but why there has been a decline and her solution. She prescribes, as is standard with Rand, objectivism. In my l...more
OK, Ayn Rand is a very opinionated woman when it comes to art and aesthetics, but within the angry tirade against modern art, and other artistic epochs there are some serious notes on the value of art and literature, art's moral purpose, beauty and the ideal "man" (which is used a lot by Rand, not sure where women stand in her world). But the key point which she drives home, and I have to say it's a laudable one, about art and literature is an Aristotelian position; that fiction is of greater ph...more
For anyone who's never understood so-called modern art and thinks art critics in general are idiots, this book generally supports that conclusion and gives lots of reasons why modern art really isn't art at all. In many places this book serves as a platform for Rand to espouse her personal tastes through the veil of her philosophy and condemn anything that doesn't fit. Overall, though, she makes some very valid points about what qualifies a work to be called "art" in the first place and then, wh...more
Meg Sanchez
I'm not sure what to think of this yet. I read it in my early twenties, then late twenties, then now, my late thirties. I have so many ideas and opinions about art, but Rand's are certainly worth dissecting and analyzing and maybe perhaps agreeing with on some levels. The mere fact that I am willing to consider what she has so radically defined in this book means, that to someone like me, an artist, ballet dancer most of her life, whose views are almost the polemic opposites of many of Rand's vi...more
This book by novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand, (author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead") is the definitive resource for understanding and analyzing all art forms: literature, painting, sculpture, film, and all the performing arts. These principles form the esthetic branch of Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, and are desperately needed in today’s art world where the arbitrary is the law, not objective value. This book can teach anyone the esthetic vocabulary to appreciate and take a cr...more
Ricardo Marcos
A must read for people interested in Arts and in a different perspective other than 'Art as an expression of creativity and emotion'. Using simple vocabulary and clarity in her message, Ayn Rand is very smart in explaining how an artist is a great artist without necessarily be a prisoner of its feelings or emotional needs. I rate 4 stars because this is a book that changed my perspective about Art and artists, in a constructive way. Highly recommended. P.S. One must be careful and be able to sor...more
As a lover of art and all things beautiful, I disagree with Rand's argument that art in any form must come from someplace philosophical, and must therefore stir philosophical ideas in those who see it. I like art for the sake of art, for the sake of beauty, if nothing else. Yes, an artist may have a myriad of reasons for creating a work - to tell a story, express him/herself, or make a statement. But simply because these elements exist for the artist, I as a member of the audience do not have to...more
Rand is so disappointing to read. She starts with what sounds like rational arguments but ends screaming vitriolic fanaticism that makes little sense. She's also so in love with herself that she repeats herself ad nauseum, beating her points into thin and flavorless pastes. Considering the tunnel-vision approach to art that she espouses, I can't imagine the monochromatic bleakness her soul must have wallowed in while she lived. She does, however, make a handful of interesting points, which earns...more
Ryan Senese
While one can likely absorb the heart of Rand's artistic credo by reading her fictional works (The Fountainhead & Atlas Shrugged), The Romantic Manifesto is nonetheless quite revealing of her opinion of the creative process. Rand's writing is sometimes needlessly oblique (tossing around such terminology as "psycho-epistemology" liberally); however, it also contains considerable insight and depth. I particularly enjoyed her definition and historical overview of Romanticism and Romanticism-era...more
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Alisa Rosenbaum was born in pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg to a prosperous Jewish family. When the Bolsheviks requisitioned the pharmacy owned by her father, Fronz, the Rosenbaums fled to the Crimea. Alisa returned to the city (renamed Leningrad) to attend the university, but in 1926 relatives who had already settled in America offered her the chance of joining them there. With money from the sa...more
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“Hence the sterile, uninspiring futility of a great many theoretical discussions of ethics, and the resentment which many people feel towards such discussions: moral principles remain in their minds as floating abstractions, offering them a goal they cannot grasp and demanding that they reshape their souls in its image, thus leaving them with a burden of undefinable moral guilt.” 4 likes
“The pursuit of truth is not important. The pursuit of that truth is important which helps you in reaching your goal that is provided you have one.” 2 likes
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