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Atlas Shrugged inspired by The Driver

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Normally, if a book was published in the US prior to 1929, it is in the public domain. But I can't find this one anywhere on the Internets, so I'm assuming it's still copyrighted somehow. There are all of two copies available from OhioLink, and I've ordered one of them. Should be here in a day or two.

-Q

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It's available for sale in the original link I provided.

Normally, if a book was published in the US prior to 1929, it is in the public domain. But I can't find this one anywhere on the Internets, so I'm assuming it's still copyrighted somehow. There are all of two copies available from OhioLink, and I've ordered one of them. Should be here in a day or two.

-Q

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I'm curious to read it. I wonder if they both chose the name Galt for a specific reason, a mythological figure perhaps, and the resemblances stem from this common headwater, not any direct interaction Rand might have had with The Driver?

The fact that I've never heard of this from one of the many embittered Ayn Rand haters in the world makes me doubt it holds any water (not that their arguments generally do), as this is just the type of thing her critics love to cite.

EDIT: punctuation.

Edited by thejohngaltline

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I'm curious to read it. I wonder if they both chose the name Galt for a specific reason, a mythological figure perhaps, and the resemblances stem from this common headwater, not any direct interaction Rand might have had with The Driver?

The fact that I've never heard of this from one of the many embittered Ayn Rand haters in the world makes me doubt it holds any water (not that their arguments generally do), as this is just the type of thing her critics love to cite.

EDIT: punctuation.

I heard of the book about ten years ago. From what I recall, it's a rather mediocre story that can't remotely compare to AS. Since David ordered a copy, I'm sure we'll get confirmation soon.

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While we're at it, this popped up on a Google search. Supposedly AS bears a resemblance to a book called The Secret of the League by Earnest Bramah (1907), as well. I would read it, but the copy of Les Mis I'm currently working on is infinitely more attractive.

From this website I found the following:

Anyone who began reading at the first line of Atlas Shrugged — "Who is John Galt?" — and followed that indifferent question through its mysterious development to the tremendous conclusion of the novel, must feel his ears prick up at this exchange:

"Is the Home Secretary in a position to tell us who this man Salt is?" was his next enquiry.

The Home Secretary looked frankly puzzled. "Who is Salt?" he replied, innocently enough.

"That is the essential point of my inquiry," replied the comrade. "Salt," he continued, his voice stilling the laughter it had raised, "is the Man behind the Unity League."

The Unity League has been created by "George Salt" to secretly organize a kind of non-union national strike (I won't say here just what kind) against the creeping Socialism in Britain that has accelerated to a headlong descent. — Rand's working title for Atlas Shrugged was The Strike. Aside from the foundational concept of the strike against a command economy, there are much more substantial parallels than characters' names like Salt and Mulch, but discovering these is part of the fun, so I'll leave them to the reader.

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Was Atlas Shrugged inspired by The Driver?

Judging from the brief write-up provided, I would say absolutely not.

John Galt of Atlas Shrugged never financially speculated on the businesses failing due to government intervention; in fact, I would say this would be playing the looter's game, which John Galt advised against. John Galt was for free markets, not for speculating within the controlled economy as a means of beating them at their own game -- i.e. getting rich despite the controls or using the controls to become rich. The heroes of Atlas Shrugged grew tired of that evil game, and that's why they went on strike. And it's a bit of dishonesty on the part of Henry Galt of The Driver to get rich using these methods, but then complain when the government wants to go after him with further regulations. It would be like a pick-pocket complaining when a greater thug knocks him over the head to steal his car. The whole point of Atlas Shrugged is to provide a better philosophy that can deal with these government regulations on principle; the principle that each man has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and with honesty in business dealings as opposed to using government regulations to beat one's market opponents into submission.

I'd be interested in what the readers of The Driver have to say about the novel, but I'm not going to run out and buy a copy for $25 due to some backhanded attempt to say without saying it, that Ayn Rand was a plagiarist. That particular ad and some of the comments posted about the situation on that website are bait for Rand haters.

I would suggest not falling for it.

Edited by Thomas M. Miovas Jr.

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I wouldn't be half surprised if the whole thing was some kind of fraud, and the book is a recent thing that's only being sold as vintage...

I'm not saying it is, but I wouldn't be surprised. We'll have to see...

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I had never heard of Garet Garrett before of this book so I checked him out. Interesting guy. Actually it might interest some of you to know that Caxton Press who published a few of Garrett's books was the same company that published Anthem.

His Wikipedia article lists The Driver as being written by him in 1922 in an edit from 2005.

It sounds like a cool book regardless.

Ditto.

Edited by Solid_Choke

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Funny how that pdf turns up immediately (within hours) after my print copy arrives at the library. And when I looked and looked for it all over the place. How did I miss it?

-Q

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So what if it was inspired by this other story?

Bendis was inspired by the 616 Spider-Man enough to make Ultimate Spider-Man, which is very interesting and well-written. Doesn't bother me at all that Spider-Man was already in print.

Also, when I was a kid I watched DBZ, the main protagonist Goku had a story that mirroed Supermans. It didn't bother me one bit, both stories were enjoyable. I'm even inspired but concepts of other works, but I always think "I can do this better..." Rand was probally thinking the same thing. That it was an idea and she could to it better. I like her version. :smartass::smartass:

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Funny how that pdf turns up immediately (within hours) after my print copy arrives at the library. And when I looked and looked for it all over the place. How did I miss it?

-Q

I'm fairly sure it is becoming popular once again due to the Mises Institute. Actually they are bringing many older books back into print especially ones with classical liberal themes. I have no problems with retelling stories in your own unique way. I just find it kind of odd that the connection wasn't made earlier or that it hasn't been discussed very much. Actually even Superman wasn't entirely original either. He was based on Hugo Danner. Some of my favorite works of art are simply remakes with a twist. The Departed was a remake of Infernal Affairs except it takes place in Chicago instead of Hong Kong and the Irish mob instead of the triad. Also if Rand was trying to hide the fact that The Driver was her inspiration I doubt she would have used the same name "Galt" for one of the characters.

Edited by Solid_Choke

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The fact that I've never heard of this from one of the many embittered Ayn Rand haters in the world makes me doubt it holds any water (not that their arguments generally do), as this is just the type of thing her critics love to cite.

Well, it is described extensively in Jeff Walker's The Ayn Rand Cult (1999), as is The Secret of the League.

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Perhaps Miss Rand did read the book and was inspired by it. Perhaps, she got Galt's name from it. She certainly did not get the plot of Atlas or the characterization from that book. Perhaps it was a literary spark. As a fiction writer, this is what my imagination gives me. Henry Galt may have evil practices. John Galt's past is not known really. Perhaps she had envisioned Galt first as a relative of a man like Henry Galt and then John Galt became what he became. Perhaps the type of character Henry Galt is when she read it, puzzled her, and she wanted to correct such a man. And perhaps she discovered other characters like Henry Galt in other books, and this process was part of her literary mental processes. This is what my dreams give me right now. But because it is a dream it is not significant or important, the connection, unless I knew for certain that this was the connection. I'm very interested in Ayn Rand's mental processes. Especially her literary growth.

The Driver does sound interersting though. I'll get it if I find it one day at a used bookstore.

Jose Gainza

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Thanks to Choke for finding the link. I read at the book (a half-step above skimming), and I don't see that AS could be called "inspired" by The Driver. Pending contrary documentation or authoritative testimony from Peikoff or someone else who knew her very well, I would conclude that the name John Galt does derive from Henry M. Galt in The Driver, and this is more satisfying than the connection with the Scots/Canadian John Galt (founder of Guelph). The existence of the sentence "Who is Henry M. Galt" on p. 52, which I've seen some of the whiner sites point to smarmily as evidence of plagiarism lacks credibility -- in the context of Driver, there is just about nothing else that he could have said. Unlike AS, "Who is Henry M. Galt" is not a highly meaningful and symbolic line, and would be functionally interchangeable with the sentence "Who had the prosciutto with peas?".

As for the particular topic, involving railroads might seem like an impossible coincidence, but recall that railroads were the center of the universe in those days. There is clearly an element of shared viewpoint -- we would be in big trouble if Ayn Rand were the only person in the country who opposed socialism. The similarity in the evil that was being opposed is because the two authors were writing about the same evil. Indeed, the clear and present avatar of that evil here in the US at that time was one and the same person: you have his likeness in your purse.

I conclude that Rand must have been aware of Garet Garrett, especially since he was a well-known writer, and that in the context of his writings and her views, she very likely had read The Driver. And that's about as far as I think it can go.

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Thanks to Choke for finding the link. I read at the book (a half-step above skimming), and I don't see that AS could be called "inspired" by The Driver. Pending contrary documentation or authoritative testimony from Peikoff or someone else who knew her very well, I would conclude that the name John Galt does derive from Henry M. Galt in The Driver, and this is more satisfying than the connection with the Scots/Canadian John Galt (founder of Guelph). The existence of the sentence "Who is Henry M. Galt" on p. 52, which I've seen some of the whiner sites point to smarmily as evidence of plagiarism lacks credibility -- in the context of Driver, there is just about nothing else that he could have said. Unlike AS, "Who is Henry M. Galt" is not a highly meaningful and symbolic line, and would be functionally interchangeable with the sentence "Who had the prosciutto with peas?".

As for the particular topic, involving railroads might seem like an impossible coincidence, but recall that railroads were the center of the universe in those days. There is clearly an element of shared viewpoint -- we would be in big trouble if Ayn Rand were the only person in the country who opposed socialism. The similarity in the evil that was being opposed is because the two authors were writing about the same evil. Indeed, the clear and present avatar of that evil here in the US at that time was one and the same person: you have his likeness in your purse.

I conclude that Rand must have been aware of Garet Garrett, especially since he was a well-known writer, and that in the context of his writings and her views, she very likely had read The Driver. And that's about as far as I think it can go.

Also both books mimic real history in many ways. People like Andrew Carnegie bought railroad companies and revolutionized them only to have the government later enter in and more heavily regulate the industry to the harm of the customers. Real life has plenty of examples of this same story happening over and over.

Man has good idea.

Idea makes man wealthy.

People are envious of man.

People conspire with government to steal man's wealth.

The history of anti-trust has shown many such stories.

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Perhaps Miss Rand did read the book and was inspired by it. Perhaps, she got Galt's name from it. She certainly did not get the plot of Atlas or the characterization from that book. Perhaps it was a literary spark. As a fiction writer, this is what my imagination gives me. Henry Galt may have evil practices. John Galt's past is not known really. Perhaps she had envisioned Galt first as a relative of a man like Henry Galt and then John Galt became what he became. Perhaps the type of character Henry Galt is when she read it, puzzled her, and she wanted to correct such a man. And perhaps she discovered other characters like Henry Galt in other books, and this process was part of her literary mental processes. This is what my dreams give me right now. But because it is a dream it is not significant or important, the connection, unless I knew for certain that this was the connection. I'm very interested in Ayn Rand's mental processes. Especially her literary growth.

The Driver does sound interersting though. I'll get it if I find it one day at a used bookstore.

Jose Gainza

Jose! Just download the pdf. Solid Choke provided a link to it in this very thread! You don't have to wait in the age of the Internet. B)

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Jose! Just download the pdf. Solid Choke provided a link to it in this very thread! You don't have to wait in the age of the Internet. :)

Thanks for pointing that out to me. I'll check it out soon.

Jose.

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