Rand, Ayn, Atlas Shrugged. New York: Random House, 1957. First edition, first printing. Fully bound in black calf leather, housed in custom slipcase.
This is the first edition, first impression, of one of literature’s most popular and influential novels of the 20th century. A high spot in 20th century literature, Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand's fourth and final novel, based on her principles of Objectivist philosophy. Taking twelve years to write, the novel is a dramatization of Rand’s unique vision of existence and man’s unique potential. The novel explores themes of reason and freedom, the nobility of business, and the importance of thought over desires. After completing this novel, Rand turned to nonfiction and published works on her philosophy for the rest of her career.
“From 1943 until its publication in 1957, [Rand] worked on the book that many say is her masterpiece, Atlas Shrugged. This novel describes how a genius named John Galt grows weary of supporting a society of ungrateful parasites and one day simply shrugs and walks away. He becomes an inspiration to like-minded men and women, all of whom eventually follow his example, until society, in its agony, calls them back to responsibility and respect. Again [as with Rand’s novel The Fountainhead in 1943] reviews were unsympathetic, and again people bought the book” (ANB).
Random House first published Atlas Shrugged on October 10, 1957. The initial print run was 100,000 copies. Despite facing harsh criticism upon release, based on Rand’s views on religion, communism, and capitalism, the demand for this book continues still to this day; it has never been out of print since it was first published over fifty years ago. By 1984 more than five million copies of Atlas Shrugged had been sold. In a 1991 Library of Congress survey a majority of Americans named it, second only to the Bible, as the book that had most influenced their lives.
This first edition copy is rebound in full black calf leather with black boards. Spines feature raised bands and gilt tooling. Pages feature graphic black and white endpapers, a gilt top edge, and deckle edges. The front board features a gilt embossed signature of the author. The book is housed in a custom-built matching black slipcase with a color photograph of the original dust jacket on the side. Interior pages are in excellent condition.