Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Romantic Manifesto” as Want to Read:
The Romantic Manifesto
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Romantic Manifesto

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  2,705 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
In her ethics Ayn Rand 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.

Ayn Rand argues that objective standards in art are possible because art is not a sub
Paperback, 160 pages
Published January 1st 1971 by Signet (first published 1969)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Romantic Manifesto, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Rebekah I have the centennial versions of anthem, we the living, fountainhead, atlas shrugged, and the romantic manifesto. I would say the quality is the same…moreI have the centennial versions of anthem, we the living, fountainhead, atlas shrugged, and the romantic manifesto. I would say the quality is the same throughout all of them. They are sturdy and the pages are more of a cream vs white. It's very easy on the eyes.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Oct 06, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: philosophy, 1970s
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
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
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
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
Feb 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
There are two aspects of man’s existence which are the special province and expression of his sense of life: love and art.

Reading this book made me think and I was glad to realize that, I would support a Romantic over a Naturalist or a Classicist. Rand, for me is one of those authors, to whom I would nod yes to all of her opinions. It is her conscious reasoning that makes her the best. For example, her articulate ability to denounce photography as an art of any kind makes me angry and love her a
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sweet Aynnie in full force. Not big into pulling punches, this one. I walked in expecting it to be a defense of actual Romanticism. In parts, it was, but most of it was a scathing critique of contemporary art and literature, working her way around to her favorite, constant implication: "Ya'll are inauthentic, and you sound like a bunch of pussies."

The first third of the book was spectacular. I was highlighting every other page or so. The second third of the book is a veneration of Victor Hugo so
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
Aug 04, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
Only for die hard Ayn Rand fans.
You don't have to agree with Ayn Rand to recognize this an an objectively good composition.
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
Deb Seksay
Sep 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give this more than 5 stars - or just re-evaluate everything else I've read, such are the standards set by Ayn Rand.
The theme of the book is the importance of art in man's life, but to me it was more on the lines of "the meaning of life". There are several questions I have hopelessly grappled with throughout life, apart from these rare moments when an artist comes along all just makes sense, which for me is a profoundly rare and exultant feeling. Ayn Rand is one of those
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Fun Fact for the folks at home: Ayn Rand was never wrong.
Not even once.
That book she disliked at seven years old? Clearly an early, unconscious value-judgment based on her burgeoning worldview. She dislikes it to this day.

Also, who quotes their own books? Who does that? She'll just pop in a passage from "Atlas Shrugged," no big deal, everyone does that, amirite?

But anyway. I kind of like Ayn Rand. Is she a bad person? Maybe. Is her philosophy missing a few key points? Yes it is. Is it for
Dec 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Portrayal of art unlike any other. Just as always, clear, purposeful, eloquence that brings light to most complex things in life.
This book gave me an appreciation for art that I did not have previously. Before reading this book, I had given little thought to the semantics, role and purpose of art in life. I certainly agree with Rand's theme of art being what "should and ought to be," whether it is pertaining to literature, film, television or any other medium.

Because why else do we, as humans, indulge in artistic ventures as artists or as consumers of art? We want to see what man can be, not what man is. What is is not i
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'll reserve the fifth and final star for my re-reading of this book.

The first half or so was extremely technical to digest for someone who barely knows any long words, and knows the definition of even fewer long words.

I'm familiar with common Ayn Rand terminology, so was able to follow along for the most part, but nothing grasped me in the first half.

However, it changed right in the middle and I finally started to understand her argument. There were parts of the argument which I must reject, n
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Трудна за четене книга, с труден характер, но с много дълбини.
С някои разсъждения на автора относно това кое е изкуство и кое не - не съм съгласна. Ранд прави анализ на множество творби от различни автори, направления, жанрове и епохи, с които ако човек не е запознат, трудно би могъл да формира мнение "за" и "против" критиката или възхищението, които тя обосновава. Книгата обаче ми даде подтик за пръв път да осмисля романтизма като един художник на най-висшите морални ценности на човека със своб
Fathya Zana
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I like how she defines each circumstance within a very contextual way, which makes us able to look further and deeper to more comprehensive understanding about a particular subject.

HOWEVER, for me personally these essays are conveyed with rather 'challenging' words and phrases, so I struggled sometimes lol.
Caleb Cauthon
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So good. Inspiring.
Alex Lee
Aug 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, philosophy
This book more clearly explains Ayn Rand's position than any other book of hers I've read in the past.

Rand is often hotly contested; but it's not enough to say that something nonsensical or stupid because to truly understand something we should be able to explain what it is or why something is dismissed. Not only that but we should also be able to explain how a view is (in)valid. In a sense, Rand often fails to explain what is detestable in others, resorting to words like "evil" or "irrational"
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
Aug 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy, art
While I reserve a pinch of skepticism on Rand's classification of what's good art and what is not, this collection of essays forms part of my formative phase in understanding art in general and the creative processes involved.

Keeping in mind that these essays were written generations before my time, instead of disagreeing in some parts of what she stands for (i.e. photography is not art), I look at them as an abstraction on both creation and appreciation of art. After all, art is a reflection of
OsamaAziz Khan
Jun 20, 2014 rated it liked it
The Fountainhead and The Atlas Shrugged were important introductions to Rand's Objectivism and Romanticism for me. They were two big and important books during my teenage n early twenties. In retrospect, perhaps its idea of 'virtue in selfishness' and 'ego-massaging' properties are some of the possible explanations for my Randian infatuation. These two generally lead most of us to explore the whole Randian canon, where one gets acquainted 'nonfictionally' with Rand's philosophy . However it is ...more
Bill FromPA
Jun 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Though subtitled “A Philosophy of Literature”, this short book considers all the arts except architecture (“I shall not include architecture in this discussion – I assume the reader knows which book I will refer him to.“). Rand states that it is possible to admire the aesthetic excellence in a work of art, while not personally liking the artwork, because the “sense of life” of the artist differs from the viewer’s “sense of life”. She admires the style of Vermeer immensely, but does not care at a ...more
Scott Forbes
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Robert Vlach
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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. V těchto textech se zaměřila konkrétně na obhajobu racionálního a selektivního 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 ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The DIM Hypothesis: Why the Lights of the West Are Going Out
  • Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q & A
  • Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government
  • The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire
  • God of the Machine
  • The Logical Leap: Induction in Physics
  • My Years with Ayn Rand
  • The Passion of Ayn Rand
  • A History of Western Philosophy, Volume 1: The Classical Mind
  • In Defense of Selfishness: Why the Code of Self-Sacrifice is Unjust and Destructive
  • The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why Pure Capitalism Is the World Economy's Only Hope
  • Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault
  • The Art of Reasoning
  • The Victorian Age in Literature
  • The Discovery of Freedom: Man's Struggle Against Authority
  • Ayn Rand and the World She Made
  • Economic Sophisms
  • The Elements of Law, Natural and Politic: Part I: Human Nature; Part II: de Corpore Politico with Three Lives
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
More about Ayn Rand...

Nonfiction Deals

  • Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Sometimes You Win--Sometimes You Learn: Life's Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Long Tail: Why the Future Is Selling Less of More
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Funny In Farsi: A Memoir Of Growing Up Iranian In America
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France
    $8.49 $1.99
  • Bad Boy
    $7.74 $1.99
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back
    $4.99 $1.99
  • All Over But the Shoutin'
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change
    $13.99 $1.99
  • WEIRD: Because Normal Isn't Working
    $6.99 $2.99
  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness
    $5.99 $0.99
“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.” 7 likes
“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.” 6 likes
More quotes…