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Your paper recently ran a syndicated opinion piece by Froma Harrop ["Shed a tear for the right-wing fiction writer," July 18] concerning revanchist conservative literature, displaying a photographic portrait of Ayn Rand, whose books apparently top Modern Library's lists.
I have fond memories of reading her works in high school (not by assignment). "The Fountainhead" is a wonderful item of young adult literature, and I think many teens can relate with its one-sided, even lopsided, characters, because the point of young adult fiction is to affirm identity with shameless and brazen simplicity, not to resemble reality.
"Atlas Shrugged" is a tour de force in enjoyable shallow quasi-lit. From the endless succession of rants by caricaturesque figures, through the unabashed mammonism of a giant statue of a solid-gold dollar sign, to the rodomontade of a neocon eminence grise that displays perhaps a semester of college learning, I thoroughly endorse it, too.
The interest in Ayn Rand is emblematic of a nihilistic denial of every moral virtue any religion has ever taught. Her philosophy, if such it can be called, is a justification of pitilessness; she thought Friedrich Nietzsche wasn't tough enough.
I can laugh about it now, but it isn't funny.
Christopher M. Ellis