NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED
In print for the first time ever, author and philosopher Ayn Rand’s novel Ideal.
Originally conceived as a novel, but then transformed into a play by Ayn Rand, Ideal is the story of beautiful but tormented actress Kay Gonda. Accused of murder, she is on the run and turns for help to six fans who have written letters to her, each telling her that she represents their ideal—a respectable family man, a far-left activist, a cynical artist, an evangelist, a playboy, and a lost soul. Each reacts to her plight in his own way, their reactions a glimpse into their secret selves and their true values. In the end their responses to her pleas give Kay the answers she has been seeking.
Ideal was written in 1934 as a novel, but Ayn Rand thought the theme of the piece would be better realized as a play and put the novel aside. Now, both versions of Ideal are available for the first time ever to the millions of Ayn Rand fans around the world, giving them a unique opportunity to explore the creative process of Rand as she wrote first a book, then a play, and the differences between the two.
INCLUDES AN INTRODUCTION BY LEONARD PEIKOFF
This previously unpublished novel, written in 1934 and rewritten shortly after as a stage play the script for which is included in this volume shines light on themes and ideas that would eventually inform The Fountainhead and Rand's other well-known works. Its central character is starlet Kay Gonda, a Garboesque beauty who is on the lam following the murder of a wealthy oilman acquaintance. In a succession of chapters, Kay seeks refuge with six people (all men) who represent a cross-section of her fan base and a variety of recognizable personality types: an assistant manager of a smalltown business, an illiterate bumpkin, a painter, an evangelical preacher, a rich playboy, and a working-class stiff. Each chapter opens with a fan letter written by one of these characters, and in all but one that character responds to Kay's plight with either outright betrayal of the ideals that he ascribes to her or appropriation of her situation for his own benefit. Although the novel is schematic in the telling, Rand manages to give personality to the stock character types in Kay's orbit, and provides rationales, however flimsy, for their responses to her. Its flaws notwithstanding, this book offers a fascinating glimpse at the nascent philosophy of one of the most provocative intellectuals of the 20th century. Introduction by Leonard Peikoff, founder the Ayn Rand Institute.