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Anthem: ’38 & ’46

What changes did Rand make in the revised edition of her novella?

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Ayn Rand wrote Anthem during the summer of 1937. It was first published in England in 1938, by Cassell and Company (who had published the British edition of We the Living a year earlier). Anthem would not have an American publisher until 1946, after the publication of The Fountainhead. The American version was a significantly revised edition. To give one indication of the difference between the two, the word-count of the 1946 edition is 19,190—approximately 18 percent fewer words than in the 1938 edition (23,484).1

Ayn Rand made her changes by hand to a copy of the 1938 edition, which she then sent to her publisher. (A facsimile of this hand-corrected copy has been reprinted as an appendix to the fiftieth anniversary edition of Anthem.2)

On at least three occasions she described the kinds of revisions she needed to make in preparing the American edition. In a February 28, 1946, letter to Leonard Read, she wrote that before it could be re-issued, “I’d want to edit the story a little first; it’s old and there are some passages which I think are bad writing and which I’d like to straighten out.”3 She provided more details elsewhere about what she thought was wrong. In her April 1946 foreword to the American edition, she wrote:

I have edited it for this publication, but have confined the editing to its style; I have reworded some passages and cut out some excessive language. No idea or incident was added or omitted; the theme, content and structure are untouched. The story remains as it was. (xiv)

Finally, in an interview in the early sixties, she explained her main concerns:

Precision, clarity, brevity, and eliminating any editorial or slightly purple adjectives. You see, the attempt to have that semi-archaic style was very difficult. Some of the passages were exaggerated. In effect, I was sacrificing content for style—in some places, simply because I didn’t know how to say it. By the time I wrote The Fountainhead, I was in full control of my style and I knew how to achieve the same effect, but by simple and direct means, without getting too biblical.4

This essay is a survey of the revisions Ayn Rand made in bringing Anthem to its final form—revisions which range from minor changes in punctuation to significant changes made to avoid unintended philosophical implications. As we shall see, although she did on the whole limit her changes to style, and “no idea or incident was added or omitted,” some ideas and incidents were revised and some descriptions were added and others omitted.

In his introduction to the fiftieth anniversary American edition of Anthem, Leonard Peikoff writes: “If (ignoring the concrete issue of biblical style) you study her changes and ask ‘Why?’ as you proceed, there is virtually no limit to what you can learn about writing—Ayn Rand’s or your own” (xi). This essay should prove useful in such a study.

(It is worth mentioning at the outset that in what follows, I often speculate about why Ayn Rand cut a particular passage without replacing it with anything else. In such cases, one obvious reason for the cut—which may be the only reason—is that the passage was simply unnecessary, i.e., it was redundant or otherwise did not contribute to the story and its theme. Keep this possibility in mind whenever omitted material is discussed.)


As far as I can tell, none of the changes Ayn Rand made was the correction of a typographical error.5

Twenty-four changes were made in order to transform the British English of the 1938 edition into American English. Nine of these are changes in spelling from “ou” to “o”, e.g., hono[u]r (19/25), odo[u]r (53/46), labo[u]r (59/50), smo[u]lder (112/84). Fourteen are changes from the hyphenated (British) to the un-hyphenated (American) spelling of “today,” “tomorrow,” and “tonight” (see, e.g., 46/42, 86/67, 73/59).6

Ayn Rand inserted paragraphing twenty-two times.

I recorded six changes in punctuation. In three cases, she inserted a comma (35/35, 46/42, 51–52/45–46), and in a single case, she eliminated a comma (140/100). Slightly more interesting—as it reflects her overall attitude toward revising Anthem—is the fact that she twice replaced an exclamation point with a period (56/49, 91/70).

Few revisions were made to correct grammatical errors; but in four cases, she originally used “as” where “like” would be better (89/69, 112/84–85, 113/85 [twice]). Here are two examples:

For you do not look [as] <like> a Scholar. (89/69)

The days before us are without end, [as] <like> the forest. (113/85)7


In at least three cases, details were changed (as opposed to omitted). I refer here to minor changes in content, not in style. First, Equality 7-2521’s8 height is changed from six feet one inch to six feet (7/18). Ayn Rand may have concluded that six feet one inch was too precise a measurement for such a primitive culture, and changed it on those grounds.

Second, Rand changed the number of tables, cups, and plates in the dining hall of the street sweepers.

The shadow on the sundial marks off a half-hour while we dress and eat our breakfast in the dining hall, [which has three] <where there are five> long tables with [one hundred] <twenty> clay plates and [one hundred] <twenty> clay cups on each table. (22/27)

So the three hundred street sweepers of the original edition were reduced to one hundred. Perhaps she concluded that three hundred were too many for the size of the city she envisioned (and the size of the dining hall where they all ate their meals), and one hundred were too many for one table.

Third, the name of someone called “Equality 4-6998” was changed to “Democracy 4-6998” (93/72). I assume she originally thought that giving this character the same “first” name as the hero, with only the numbers differing, would underscore the anonymity and lack of individuality of the institution of state-given names in Anthem. But she decided to make the change, no doubt to avoid confusion.

In five cases, Ayn Rand omitted details:

(1) Cut: we stand in rows, and stretch our arms and bend our bodies while the Council beats a drum. This we do in order that our bodies may be healthy and fit and good for work. (22–23/27)

I am not sure why she made this change. It’s possible she did not want to convey the idea that the state actually did something to promote the health of these people (as opposed to their bare subsistence), though the notion that the people were made “fit and good for work” would not seem to raise any problems.

(2) And we take no heed of the law which says that men [are to receive one hundred lashes, if they are found to be taking notice of any among women, and if they survive the lashes, they are sent for ten years to the Palace of Detention. [Man] may not think of women, save at the Time of Mating. (45/41)

The important point is that men by law are not allowed to think of women, unless permitted to do so, and that Equality ignores this law. The rest distracts from this point, and is unnecessary.

The remaining three examples—all cut from the original—involve clothing and other adornments worn by the hero and/or heroine.

(3) Never have men worn adornments of any kind, for it is evil to adorn one among the others. But we gathered leaves and twigs, there, by the stream, and we wove a wreath of them. We know not how such a thought came to us. But we put the wreath upon our head and we looked into the water. And we thought that it was beautiful. Then we said to ourselves that we were vain and foolish, so we threw the wreath away, and we left the stream, and walked on. (104/80)

Ayn Rand mentions a wreath scene in her original plan for Anthem,9 and I imagine she thought it was important in that it shows Equality doing something creative and against the spirit of the society he recently escaped. But it also portrays him as ignorant of what motivates him, and feeling guilty about such things. Further, I do not think this gesture quite fits the masculinity of a typical Ayn Rand hero.10

(4) Our tunics and sandals had long since fallen to shreds. We both wore the skins of the beasts we had killed, we carried our bow and arrows over one shoulder, and the glass box with the power of the sky in our arms. (117/88)

My guess is that however admirable it is for Equality and Liberty 5-300011 to make their own clothing, there is something esthetically objectionable about the move from white tunics to the garb of cavemen.

I think that by cutting the bulk of the next passage, greater emphasis is placed on Liberty looking at herself in the mirror, which is no doubt where Ayn Rand wanted it; further, this is what we would expect Equality to stress in his diary.

(5) We did this work alone, for no words of ours could take the Golden One away from the big glass which is not glass. They stood before it and they looked and looked upon their own body. [They had found a small casket in the sleeping room, and it was full of jewels, such as no men had ever touched, save upon the great mosaics of the Palace of the World Council. The Golden One put long strings of rubies on their shoulders, and circles of gold upon their arms, and clusters of diamonds on their ears. These things must have been made for such use, only we could not have guessed it, but the Golden One guessed. And they stood before the magic glass, and they looked, and the sun sent fires to dance upon the jewels, and sparks of all colours glittered in the fur which wrapped the body of the Golden One.] (123–24/92)

Another objection to this passage—which I discuss later—is its reference to the great mosaics of the Palace of the World Council.


Ayn Rand made dozens of revisions aimed at brevity—i.e., conveying the same meaning with fewer words and without redundancy. (These are cases of her removing excessive language, though not exaggerated Biblical language, which I cover later). Here are eight examples, which speak for themselves:

(1)       We walked [down the aisle towards] <to> the dais (20/25).

(2)       We came together to the great ravine [which is] behind the Theatre. It is empty [of all things] save <for> trees and weeds. (28/30).

(3)       We [fell on our knees] <knelt> (30/32).

(4)       keep [your mouth closed forever about this] <silent> (33/34).

(5)       The eyes of our brothers are [not clear, but veiled and lustreless] <dull> (52/46).

(6)       the wire glowed! It came to life, it turned [to a faint shadow of red, and the shadow grew, and it became] red [red as molten metal] (74/59).

(7)       We picked a stone and we sent it as an arrow at [the body of] a bird. (103/79).

(8)       raze [to the ground] the cities of the enslaved (146/104).12


There were around one hundred instances of word replacement. Some words were replaced to remove unwanted philosophical connotations (more on those later); others were replaced for accuracy—here are three examples:

(1) There is green [moss] <mould> in the grooves of the letters and yellow streaks [up]on the marble. (8/19)

This is simply an issue of accuracy: one more likely finds mould (note the spelling, not “mold,” which is currently the standard American usage) than moss in the grooves of letters carved in marble.

(2) We felt the [tendons] <cords> of our neck. (20/26)

“Tendons” is in fact more precise than “cords,” but it suggests a level of knowledge that neither Equality nor anyone else in that culture possesses, and thus was less accurate in this context.

(3) We burn the [sticks] <wood> we find in the ravine. (36/35–36)

The original is unnecessarily narrow. In building a fire, Equality would not have limited himself to sticks. Further, in writing about it in his diary, it sounds primitive or childish for him to describe the wood he gathers as “sticks.”

In roughly two dozen cases, a word was replaced to achieve greater grammatical correctness and/or precision. Here are a couple of examples:

We exist through, by and for our brothers [which] <who> are the State. (12/21) then we knew that we were looking [upon] <at> the squares of the iron grill in the door. (82/65)

Similarly, a couple of verb-changes were made for greater accuracy. For example:

We knew suddenly that this place [had been] <was> left from the Unmentionable Times. (31/32)

Whereas “had been” puts the focus on someone having done something, “was” makes the line more a description of a fact.

Finally, here are some assorted examples of revisions that fall under this heading:

And then we saw iron rings as steps leading <down a shaft> into [the heart of the earth] <a darkness without bottom>. (29/31)

We have stolen candles from the [larder of the] Home <of the Street Sweepers>. (35/35)

Our body was not like the bodies of our brothers, for our limbs were straight <and thin> and hard and strong. (104/80)

we saw great peaks before us <in the west>. (116/88)


The style of Anthem is unique among Ayn Rand’s novels. Anthem is written in the form of a diary, and describes an individual’s discovery of the concept “I” and his emergence out of a primitive collectivist culture. Rand attempted, she tells us, to give it a “semi-archaic style.” Yet when she came to revise Anthem, she decided she needed to remove the “slightly purple adjectives” and passages that were “exaggerated” and “too biblical.”13

I begin with some formulas that Ayn Rand decided should not be employed. The first type is certainly Biblical (that is to say, in the style of the King James Version of the Bible). In at least seven cases, she had used a “holy of holies” formula for emphasis.

But it is [the] <a> sin [of sins] to give men names which distinguish them from other men. (45/41)

the fire [of fires,] which is called the Dawn of the Great Rebirth (56/48)

Cut: Great Mercy of all human mercies (56/49)

And that night we knew that to hold the body of women in our arms is neither ugly nor shameful, but the <one> ecstasy [of ecstasies] granted to the [human] race of men. (111/84)

Cut: This is the sacrament and the holy of holies. (127/94)

Cut (where “it” refers to the hero’s happiness): It is the reason of reasons. (130/95)

For in [his heart of hearts and in] the [sanctuary] <temple> of his spirit, each man is alone. (132/96)

Note, however, that she did not object to every use of this formula. In the opening chapter, Equality’s reference to “our crime of crimes” is retained (10/20).14

In at least a dozen cases, Ayn Rand eliminated a slightly Biblical formula involving a verb plus the word “not.” Here are two examples:

We <do not> think [not] of them as Liberty 5–3000 any longer. (45/41)

We <do not> care [not]. (93/72)

In over a dozen cases, she replaced “upon”—which has a more archaic feel—with “on.” For example: “Nothing moves in this tunnel save our hand [upon] <on> the paper” (6/17). Similarly, in the following passages, the word “forth” has a Biblical tone that is unnecessary, and could simply be removed: “the Students so assigned go [forth] to work” and “those Students go [forth] into the Home of the Leaders” (19/25).

Toward the beginning of the final chapter, when the hero is talking to Liberty—and only in this chapter and in this context—Ayn Rand originally used some typically Biblical pronouns:

I love [thee] <you>. (137/98)

It shall be [thy] <your> name. (137/99)

Let this be [thy] <your> name, my Golden One, for [we have a new world to build and thou art] <you are> to be the mother of a new [race] <kind> of gods. (138/99)

Ayn Rand likely used these second person singular pronouns because they were archaic and singular. The revisions, however, make the style of these lines more consistent with the rest of Anthem (in its revised form), without sacrificing the romance, grandeur, and poetry of the scene.

The following six passages were all eliminated and not replaced with anything else. I believe they are all examples of Ayn Rand in the original “sacrificing content for style.”

(1) Thus did Liberty 5–3000 walk toward us in the field that day, as a thin flame in the wind, as a swaying white mist, as a scourge, as a miracle. (41/39)

Rand had already described Liberty walking toward Equality; adding that she did so “as a thin flame,” etc., adds nothing.

(2) And the curse in us cries in a voice of thunder that we would rather see all our brothers, yes, all the thousands and thousands of them, die in agonies unspeakable, than see one golden hair hurt on the head of Liberty 5–3000. And these words, which should burn the paper we write them on, by the fire of their evil, these words frighten us not. (44–45/41)

This passage occurs in Chapter 2, when Equality first encounters Liberty and recognizes that his thoughts about her represent his “second Transgression of Preference” (41). But the language and the thought about seeing thousands of men dying “in agonies unspeakable” is exaggerated and distracts from the emphasis on what he feels for Liberty. It may also have been too early in the novella for Equality to choose a great value over all of his brothers (which he won’t do in the revised version until Chapter 7, when he chooses his invention over society).

(3) The Light! . . .

Here, under our hands, at our bidding, the light of the sky, the light to set the earth aglow, the Light smokeless and flameless and unquenchable! . . . (73/59, ellipses in the original)

This was originally the opening of Chapter 3, which gives an account of the hero’s rediscovery of electricity and re-invention of the electric light. But Ayn Rand chose to cut it and instead to begin with what follows this passage. The result is a simpler, more straightforward, more effective—though still slightly archaic—opening: “We made it. We created it. We brought it forth from the night of the ages.” (59). Moreover, with this opening, the emphasis is placed on the hero and the fact that he is the source of the achievement.

(4) It glowed! It glowed like a star fallen from heaven upon the Council table. (90/70)

This passage was preceded by the line “Then the wire glowed,” which was enough.

(5) Collective 0–0009 to Equality: You scum of the swines! (92/71)

The combination of scum and swine sounds strange in English, and in fact makes no sense if taken literally.

(6) It was as if dawn had come to the night of my soul, and the sun had risen. And every thing became clear to me. (136/98)

Originally, these were the first two lines of the second paragraph of Chapter 12, in which Equality announces his discovery of the word “I.” It is followed by: “I understood the blessed thing which I had called my curse.” This understanding is what Rand wants to convey—and she decided it was best to do this simply, without the metaphor of dawn coming to the night of his soul.

In a number of cases, Rand revised her formulation to achieve a more direct, less exaggerated, style. Here are three such revisions, all involving positive emotions:

We [rejoice in writing] <wish to write> this name. (39/38)

we . . . [rejoice] <are glad> to be living. (53/47)

But the only [two] things which [set our soul on fire was] <taught us joy were> the power we created in our [glass box] <wires>, and the Golden One. (114/86)

In the first two cases, she may have come to regard “rejoice” as too biblical. Further, in the first case, the change to “wish” improves the line by putting the focus on Equality’s will. In the third, not only does the revision simplify the line, it also better connects Equality’s feelings to the previous line, which discusses joy explicitly: “There is no joy for men, save the joy shared with all their brothers” (114/86).

Chapter 6 describes Equality’s time in the Palace of Corrective Detention, where he is whipped for refusing to tell the Council where he had been, after he was discovered arriving home late. The whipping scene was revised. Although this scene is not exaggerated in the original (in that it conveys what happened to Equality as accurately as the revised scene), it is “too much” in another sense (more on this shortly), and thus I think it appropriate to discuss it here. There were four significant revisions to the whipping scene:

The first blow of the lash felt as <if> [a thin iron collar which cut into our flesh, and the folds of pain unrolled from it as a mantle, over our body, to the tips of our toes, and we thought] our spine had been cut in two. The second blow [tore the mantle off] <stopped the first>, and for a [blinding] second we [could feel] <felt> nothing, [and] then the pain struck us in our throat and fire ran in our lungs without air. (81/64)

Cut: We felt once as if iron teeth had ripped our thigh open, and then our chest. (81–82/64)

Cut: And then we felt a thin trickle, heavy and warm, from our waist, running down our legs. But we did not cry out. (82/65)

[Then t]<T>he lash whistled again[, and we thought we were floating, floating away, and that soft thing writhing upon the stones concerned us not any longer]. We wondered who was sprinkling burning coal dust upon the floor, for we saw [little red beads lighting and lying and] <drops of red> twinkling on the stones around us. [We wondered whence that strange sound was coming, the dull sound of a stick beating upon soft, wet mud.] (83/65)

I assume Ayn Rand revised this scene extensively because it was too gory, and thus distracting. Further, she may have concluded that the revisions make the passage more consistent with what Equality would have written about this ordeal in his diary.15


As a transition between revisions of exaggerated language and revisions of philosophically unclear or dubious lines, I turn to those passages in Anthem that may reflect the influence—stylistically if not philosophically—of Friedrich Nietzsche.

Ayn Rand read all of the major works of Nietzsche, in Russian translation, before she left for the United States, and she had a positive reaction to certain aspects of his philosophy. In 1926, in America, she purchased an English translation of Thus Spake Zarathustra, and in the 1930s continued to have a favorable view of some aspects of it.16

Usually the Nietzschean influence evident in Anthem is purely stylistic, and the changes she made of this sort fall under the heading of revisions to exaggerated or Biblical passages. (Note that in the early sixties, she said that “Zarathustra is very much like the Bible; it’s written poetically.”17) With a couple of exceptions, the relevant passages all come around or after Equality’s discovery of the concept “I,” which should not come as a surprise, as this is when he is most triumphant and explicitly or outspokenly heroic—triumphant heroism being very much a part of the spirit of Thus Spake Zarathustra.

One section of Thus Spake Zarathustra is entitled “Old and New Tables” (with “tables” or “tablets” used in the sense of a moral code—an obvious example being the Ten Commandments). Here are some passages from Zarathustra, in the English translation Ayn Rand owned and read:18

Here do I sit and wait, old broken tables around me and also new half-written tables.

Behold, here is a new table; but where are my brethren who will carry it with me to the valley and into the hearts of flesh?

O my brethren, break up, break up for me the old tables!

O my brethren, a new nobility is needed, which shall be the adversary of all populace and potentate rule, and shall inscribe anew the word “noble” on new tables.19

Compare these passages to two that Rand cut from Anthem:

This moment is a warning and an omen. This moment is a sacrament which calls us and dedicates our body to the service of some unknown duty we shall know. Old laws are dead. Old tables have been broken. A clean, unwritten slate is now lying before our hands. Our fingers are to write. (125–26/93)

I leave broken the tables of my brothers, and my own tables do I now write for my own spirit. (134/97)

These two passages are similar in style and in content to the ones from Zarathustra quoted above—especially in the idea of breaking the old tables (i.e., the old moral code) and replacing them with new ones. Why did Ayn Rand cut these passages?

I think there are two major reasons: (1) She did not replace these passages with anything else, which means they were cut for the same reason other exaggerated or Biblical passages were. (2) Although the major problem is stylistic, there were also philosophical reasons for cutting them. First, “a sacrament which calls us and dedicates our body to the service of some unknown duty” implies that duty and service are (at least in some cases) good. As the theme of Anthem makes clear, duty—an unchosen moral obligation—and service are not part of Rand’s moral code.20 She probably had in mind Equality’s intransigent devotion to his task: to reach the concept he is on the verge of discovering (I, ego) and to define the moral code—and to work toward the building of a new kind of society and culture—based on this concept. But she came to recognize the erroneous implications of this line.

Second, the idea of writing a new moral code, as stated, is philosophically dubious. In Nietzsche’s case, as far as I understand him, human beings with great souls should write a new, noble moral code upon new tables. Such men are beyond good and evil and will create (not discover, because there is no objective moral truth) a new code of what constitutes the good (and impose it on others by force).21 There is no evidence that Ayn Rand embraced this view of morality, even in the mid-1930s. But what Equality is here talking about is discovering—or to use the language of Hugh Akston in Atlas Shrugged, defining—a new code of morality, one that recognizes the nature of man.22 But one could read these passages (as originally written) as advocating a Nietzschean relativism, and so they were cut.

Similar concerns apply to the following passage on the creation or discovery of truth:

It is my eyes which see, and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth. It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world. [All things come to my judgment, and I weigh all things, and I seal upon them my “Yes” or my “No.” Thus is Truth born. Such is the root of all Truth and the leaf, such is the fount of all Truth and the ocean, such is the base of all Truth and the summit. I am the beginning of all Truth. I am its end.] <It is my mind which thinks, and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth. It is my will which chooses, and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respect.> (128/94)23

I think she revised this passage primarily to remove the philosophically problematic lines “Thus is Truth born. . . . I am the beginning of all Truth,” which might suggest that the source of truth is not objective reality (grasped by a mind), but the human being alone, who creates truth. It is most likely that her precise meaning was distorted by the exaggerated style, and that what she in fact meant was that truth had to be discovered by men like Equality (as he had re-discovered the truth about electricity and the electric light). Perhaps at this point in her philosophical development she did not see clearly how to express the difference between a human mind creating truth and discovering it—at least not in a way that avoided misleading subjectivist implications. Further, I think the revision improves the metaphor (“the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth” as opposed to “I weigh all things, and I seal upon them my ‘Yes’ or my ‘No’”). A searchlight better fits the particular kind of search for truth that Equality is engaged in (in secret, in a tunnel at night, experimenting with electricity).

Ayn Rand revised the following passage for similar reasons.

[For there is truth in my body, and no] <I understood that> centuries of chains and lashes [can kill this truth in the body of man] <will not kill the spirit of man nor the sense of truth within him>. (136–37/98)24

The important change Rand makes is from “body” (and “body of man”)—which is not where truth resides—to “man” which is where it does reside (at least in a metaphorical sense).25

The emphasis on will is strong in Nietzsche—and will in the sense of a powerful faculty that acts independently within a person (and even outside any particular person and within a culture). For example:

so willeth it my creating Will;

Willing emancipateth;

But to man doth it ever impel me anew, my fervent creative will;

Yea, something invulnerable, unburiable is with me, something that would rend rocks asunder: it is called my Will.26

There is a strong emphasis on will in Anthem, no doubt because there is so much emphasis on the will of all men, the will of our brothers, the will of the Councils,27 which conflict with the will of the hero, Equality. Ayn Rand’s revisions do not lessen this emphasis. But she did revise some of the passages in which Equality’s will is described. As long as he is asserting his will, there is no problem (as we shall see: e.g., “I will it”). But she cut those passages in which the will might seem to be a separate driving force within a person. Here are two passages:

[Where I go, there does my will go before me. My will, which chooses, and orders, and creates. My will, the master which knows no masters. My will, the liberator and the conqueror. My will, which is the thin flame, still and holy, in the shrine of my body, my body which is but the shrine of my will.] Many words have been granted me, and some are wise, and some are false, but only three are holy: “I will it!” (129/94–95)

Cut: And so I hail my will! And so I guard my will before I guard my life. Let no man covet my will and the freedom of my will. Woe to them who have tried. (131/95)

Again, it is not clear to me what caused her to write these lines in the original. Two possibilities come to mind: (1) this is simply a case of style distorting content, so that when she wrote this, she was not able to express clearly the difference between her conception of man (and his will) and the Nietzschean conception; or (2) when she wrote this, she had (at least temporarily and/or partially) a more Nietzschean conception of the will—clearly not in the sense of a will opposed to reason and of a separate Will to Power that moves not only human beings but entire groups and cultures, but in the limited sense of a separate will within an individual. I think that (2) is unlikely, however, or else we would have seen more signs of it in her earlier writings (and especially in the 1936 edition of We the Living).

According to Ayn Rand’s philosophy, independence is not non-conformity. A rational person does not act in order to be like others; neither does he act to be unlike others.28 In Nietzsche, however, striking out on one’s own and creating one’s own set of values—different from that of others—and acting accordingly is stressed and considered good. (See for example Beyond Good and Evil, section 212.) One line from the original edition of Anthem which was subsequently cut reveals a possible Nietzschean influence along these lines: “I wish no man to be like me, nor do I wish to be like any man” (131/96). She may have only wanted to convey that, unlike the dictates of the society that worshiped We, Equality possessed independence and wished not to have to be like others. But as written, the original blurs the distinction between genuine individualism and pseudo-individualism.

In at least three cases, Ayn Rand cut or revised a passage that could be taken to imply an erroneous Nietzschean conception of rule29 that was completely inconsistent with her political philosophy:

Cut: The earth seems waiting, waiting for some order which is to come from us. This world is new, this world is ours to rule. (125/97)

Cut: My will, which chooses, and orders, and creates. My will, the master which knows no masters. My will, the liberator and the conqueror. (129/94)

And the day will come[, though I may not be here to see it, when my race will conquer] <when I shall break all the chains of> the earth. (146/104)

Throughout Anthem, Equality’s ambition is to be free—free to discover scientific truths about the world, to love and be with the one woman he loves, free to reside with her in a home of their own where they can raise a family of their own, free to live. His ambition is clearly not to rule, i.e., to have political power over others. Even the desire to be the leader of a society with a proper political system is not his ambition. As he says in Chapter 1: “But we wished not to be a Leader, even though it is a great honor. We wished to be a Scholar” (19/25). Elsewhere in Anthem, Rand makes clear her anti-Nietzscheanism on this point (in both versions): “I shall choose [companions from] <friends> among [my brothers] <men>, but neither slaves nor masters” (132/96). Thus the passages referring to rule—which may have been the result of a Nietzschean influence, and which may simply have been meant to convey that Equality would win out in the end and be in charge of his life with no masters over him—had to be changed.

Nietzsche is saddled (often unfairly) with the racist doctrines later adopted by the Nazis.30 He did, however, often speak in terms of the different races of men and their different cultural characteristics, and it is not always clear whether he is referring to conditions of their birth and blood or chosen elements within a culture. In any case, Ayn Rand revised three passages in the last chapter of Anthem to remove the reference to race. (Note that she clearly never uses “race” in Anthem in any ethnic sense of the term.) The first refers to Liberty as follows: “the mother of a new [race] <kind> of gods” (138/99). A few pages later, Rand changed “race of men” to “men” (144/103), and in a passage quoted earlier, she replaces “my race will conquer the earth” with “I shall break all the chains of the earth” (146/104). There is no reason to think that a Nietzschean influence led her to use “race” in the original versions of these passages. But whatever her reasons for using this term, by 1946 she recognized that “race” was too collectivist in connotation.

As a last thought on Nietzsche and Anthem, let me offer as a possibility a more positive influence—one that was not later revised or removed. I have in mind a possible influence on the idea for the novel itself—which was first conceived while she was still in Russia. In Thus Spake Zarathustra, in the section entitled “Neighbor-Love,” Nietzsche writes:

Ye flee unto your neighbor from yourselves, and would fain make a virtue thereof: but I fathom your “unselfishness.”

The Thou is older than the I; the Thou hath been consecrated, but not yet the I; so man presseth nigh unto his neighbor.31

Perhaps Ayn Rand’s reflections on this passage—on a culture in which Thou (i.e., other people) has been consecrated, but not I—and on how a person might emerge from a Thou culture and discover the I—in part led her to write or shaped how she wrote Anthem. But this is pure speculation. In any case, note that the end of Anthem is a consecration of I: “over the portals” of his fort, Equality tells us, he will “cut into stone . . . The sacred word: EGO” (147/105).


In the original, Equality is sometimes presented too negatively, either in general—given his moral character and psychology—or in relation to how far along we are in the story. This was revised accordingly. I present the relevant passages in the order in which they appear.

(1) [We are ashamed of] <But we cannot change> our bones <nor> [and of the things inside] our body[, but we cannot change them]. (7–8/18)

This revision removes any reference to, and thus emphasis on, shame.

(2) Cut: It is said that before the Great Re-birth men were blind and ignorant as beasts, for they had to seek the truth. This is strange and fearful to us, for our age has found it. (9/19)

To have Equality claim that his age has found the truth contradicts his own ongoing search for it. At this point in the story he has not re-discovered truths about electricity or the electric light or man’s ego; yet he has discovered the tunnel and he has the sense that there is much to learn about the world that cannot be learned in his society. But I think the main reason the passage was cut is because seeking after truth is clearly not strange and fearful to him.

(3) We know not [what demons sit inside our skull and] <why our curse> make<s> us seek we know not what, ever and ever. But we cannot resist [them] <it>. [They] <It> whisper<s> to us that there are <great> things [undreamed] on this earth of ours, and that we can know them if we [but] try, and that we must know them. We ask<,> [the demons] why must we know, but [they have] <it has> no answer to give <us>. We must know that we may know. [We cannot understand this evil wish of ours, but neither can we conquer it.] (17–18/24)

The suggestion—even if it is Equality’s own, in his diary—that he is in some sense possessed by demons is disturbing and clashes too much with Rand’s view of volition. Further, the whole idea of being possessed by demons would be more likely to arise in someone living in a religious society, not in the collectivist society of Anthem. Finally, cutting the reference to demons and employing instead the idea of a curse makes this passage a better fit with the rest of Chapter 1, in which Equality regularly refers to his curse.32

(4) Cut: To-night, we shall write it down upon this paper, and face it and acknowledge it, even though we are afraid. We shall write down the thought which has tortured us for two years. It has been coming to us, even though we tried not to know it and not to listen. And while we said to ourselves that we held no such thought, it formed itself into words, and the words rang in our ears as a bell of alarm within our mind. (61/52)

This passage was the original opening of Chapter 3, wherein Equality describes his re-discovery of electricity. With the removal of the passage, the chapter opens not with a description of the tortured existence of the past couple of years, but with a statement of pride (while recognizing that others regard him as wrong):

We, Equality 7-2521, have discovered a new power of nature. And we have discovered it alone, and we are alone to know it.

It is said. Now let us be lashed for it, if we must. (61/52)

(5) Cut: Now we look upon these words and we cannot believe that our hand has written them. It cannot be, we cannot be as evil as this. But we are. If only, we pray, if only we could suffer as we say this. Could we but suffer remorse, we would know that there is a spark of good left in us. But we suffer not. Our hand is light. Our hand and the thought which drives our hand to write, laugh at us and know no shame. (66/54)

Again, this passage (with which Chapter 3 originally ended) is too negative. Equality at this point in the story is not completely certain of the correctness of what he is doing; he is torn. But here he sounds as if he doubts whether “there is a spark of good” within him.

(6) Cut: This is vain and base, for we are nothing. But are we? Are we? What is this new pride which rises as a fog to strangle the breath in our throat, and as a song to ring in our ears? What has befallen us? But what matters it? This Light is above all things. And the being in whom it is born . . . Oh, what matters it? We raise our arms over the flaming wire, we throw our head back, and our spirit is as a hymn within us. We hold the Light, we, Equality 7-2521.

Whatever we are, we hold the Light! (78/62)

This passage was originally the ending of Chapter 5. Equality has just stated, in strong terms, his pride in his new invention (the electric light). Ayn Rand apparently concluded that that statement of pride should not be undercut—and certainly not by the claim that Equality is nothing.

(7) Cut: And as we lay alone through hours without end, we thought that our brothers had done right. We know no anger against our brothers, and no hatred. We knew we had deserved the lash and the cell and the agony of our body. Yet our curse and the Light born of our curse kept our lips sealed. (84–85/66)

This passage described Equality’s thoughts, while in the Palace of Corrective Detention, following his whipping and shortly before his escape. Again, it is too negative: it does not quite fit his development to say, at this point in the story, that he knows he deserved to be whipped and imprisoned, and that he feels no anger at his brothers.

(8) And we [know the evil of it. We] have heard of the [abysmal] corruption to be found in solitude. (98/76)

The change here is significant: the original says he knows that the solitude he prizes is evil, and he has heard that it is an abysmal corruption. According to the revised version, he has merely heard of its corruption (which leaves his evaluation of it open—which, at this point, it probably was).

The next three passages—which convey a lack of understanding or reason on Equality’s part—were cut:

(9) Strange are the ways of life. We understand them not, nor the meaning hidden behind them. (100/78)

(10) We sat up, and we brushed the leaves off our face, and we said to ourselves that we know not our body any longer, nor could we understand it. (102/79)

(11) And we threw our head back in a pride senseless and unreasoning. (104/80)

In at least one case, Ayn Rand added a line to clarify the state of Equality’s self-evaluation. This is from when he is alone in the forest:

(12) And suddenly, for the first time this day, we remembered that we are the Damned. We remembered it, and we laughed. (105/80)

Chapter 8 ends as follows:

(13) We are writing this [up]on the [last of the] paper we had hidden in our tunic together with the written pages we had brought for the World Council of Scholars, but never given to them. [In the days to come, we shall gather the long, white strips of tree bark which we have seen, and we shall write upon them with charred sticks.] We have much to speak of to ourselves, and we hope we shall find the words for it in the days to come. Now, we cannot speak, for we cannot understand.

[We cannot understand our heart, nor this day which has passed. We know that we should feel sin, and guilt, and shame. But we feel it not. For never—if there be one who can understand this, may they give us the answer!—never have we felt more true, more proud, more clean.] (105/80)

I think the second paragraph was cut not because it conveys ignorance on Equality’s part—the preceding does that as well—but because it is not only repetitious but overemphasizes or exaggerates the degree of the ignorance or just what he does not understand.

This final passage, from near the very end of Anthem, also conveys too much ignorance—but in this case, ignorance about the state of the world. Ayn Rand radically revised it to make Equality know exactly what error made possible the society he had recently escaped.

(14) What brought it to pass? What disaster [struck the earth and] took their reason away from men? What whip lashed them to their knees in shame and submission? [I know not. The books do not speak of it. The books are very old. When the twilight came, men wrote no longer, neither did they read. So the story of man’s fall is dark for ever, dark as the hearts of those who brought it about.] <The worship of the word “We.”> (142–43/102)

In the revised edition, Equality sees that the evil and destruction of the worship of We is a corollary of the good and creativity connected to the discovery of the concept I.


Anthem is set against a background of a completely collectivist society which has sunk to a primitive state because of its lack of the concept I. In five passages in the original, certain aspects of the society are presented too positively, and they were revised accordingly.

(1) Cut: The world of men is but kindness and love. (13/22)

No, it isn’t. Moreover, Equality at some level must have known that it isn’t. He could at this point in the story accept, abstractly, that the Councils are just (see the following item). But he dealt every day with his fellow men, and he could not—especially in his diary—characterize them as kind and loving. (This is not to say that they are unkind and feel hate. On the contrary, most of his brothers don’t feel much of anything.)

(2) Cut: This is just,33 for the Councils have a great duty to carry, and they who have the duty must also have the power. It is the Councils who hold the reins of the world, who feed us all and clothe us and shelter us in our sleep. None among men go hungry, nor do they tremble, homeless, in the autumn rains—upon this wonderful earth of ours. Down the roads of the world heavy carts stream day and night, carrying men’s sustenance to men; fields of wheat ripen in the sun; wheels turn, and axes bite into forests, and pits split the granite of the earth—and each blow, each tensed muscle, each trembling green blade of wheat is under the great wisdom of our fathers’ hand, our fathers who are the Councils; these Councils who bend their sage, tireless heads in the candle light over miles and mountains of maps, that each morsel of food may find its way on time to the humblest stomach. But to do this, our Councils hold the power to command their life work unto each among men. Else what order would there be upon earth? (14–15/22)

It is possible that in his youth, on some level, Equality believed this propaganda, which he must have heard endlessly while growing up. But it is unlikely that he would have believed it at this point in his life to such an extent as to record it in his diary in this admiring way. Moreover, he cannot have seen that “Down the roads of the world heavy carts stream day and night,” because this didn’t happen. Later in Chapter 1, we read: “It is dark in the streets and no men are about” (34–35/35).

(3) And there they [learn many things] <study> for many years. (19/25)

One can study the Bible or Koran for many years, and still learn nothing. That is the nature of “study” in the society of Anthem.

(4) We stopped when we felt hunger. [We watched this with curiosity. We had never known hunger save as a word.] (102/79)

Whatever propaganda he has heard about material abundance—see (2) above—it is inconceivable that in such a primitive society Equality would never have known hunger. The people in this society lived in a primitive fashion, not much above a hand-to-mouth existence. One bad harvest and everyone would have felt hunger.

(5) Cut: They had found a small casket in the sleeping room, and it was full of jewels, such as no men had ever touched, save upon the great mosaics of the Palace of the World Council. (123/92)

It is possible that a primitive, stagnant society could have buildings and people bedecked with jewels (e.g., as in ancient Egypt and India). But Ayn Rand is presenting a society which has rejected or lost virtually every remnant of past glory and achievement, and which would not have its citizens take the trouble to create jewelry. Further, purely esthetically, such jewels clash with the simple, Spartan existence of the society in Anthem.

I turn now to some interesting changes involving masculinity and femininity.

In 1969, more than thirty years after the publication of the first edition of Anthem, Ayn Rand wrote the following about the nature of femininity:

For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero worship—the desire to look up to man. “To look up” does not mean dependence, obedience, or anything implying inferiority. It means an intense kind of admiration; and admiration is an emotion that can be experienced only by a person of strong character and independent value judgments. A “clinging vine” type of woman is not an admirer, but an exploiter of men. Hero worship is a demanding virtue: a woman has to be worthy of it and of the hero she worships. Intellectually and morally, i.e., as a human being, she has to be his equal; then the object of her worship is specifically his masculinity, not any human virtue she might lack.34

In Anthem, in the relationship between Liberty and Equality—and especially after she joins him in the forest—how Rand presents what Liberty feels for him comes close to this statement about femininity. But in a number of passages in the original, she went too far in her presentation of hero-worship, making it at least sound like dependence and obedience. Thus, she later revised them. (In the first three passages, “they” refers to Liberty.)

Cut: And they spoke on, and their head was bowed.

“We have come to you,” they said, “for we have no will but your will, and no thought but your thought, and no breath save the breath you give us. We have come, for you are our master, and we cannot leave you.” (108–109/82)

Then they knelt, and <bowed> their golden head [was bowed] before us[, and their hands lay at our feet, palms up, limp and pleading]. (110/83)

They approach us, and they stop, [and their eyes worship us in silence,] <laughing, knowing what we think,> and they wait obediently, without questions, till it pleases us to turn and go on. (113/85)

In three passages in which Liberty originally refers to Equality as master, the “master” was cut:

Do as you please with us, [our master,] but do not send us away from you. (110/83)

Your will be done, [our master] (123/92)

It shall be [thy] <your> name, [my master] (137/99)

I imagine the major reason for these revisions was to make the presentation of the masculinity and femininity of the hero and heroine more consistent with the novella’s thematic emphasis on individualism. Recall that Equality earlier said (in the 1938 edition): “I shall choose companions from among my brothers, but neither slaves nor masters” (132). Revising these passages makes it clearer that this also refers to Liberty, whose individualistic spirit is what first attracted Equality.

In her discussion of connotation in The Art of Nonfiction, Ayn Rand states: “Watch out for philosophical implications, too. For example, if someone writes, ‘He had an instinct for courage,’ he may only want to convey, ‘He is brave.’ But the actual, and improper, implication is that courage is an instinct.”35 Ayn Rand replaced some words and revised some passages in Anthem to avoid improper philosophical implications.

As far as I can tell, she replaced over a dozen words to avoid such implications. Here are four examples.

(1) Their eyes were dark and hard and glowing, with no fear in them<,> [and] no kindness and no [shame] <guilt>. (40/39)

This passage describes Equality’s first encounter with Liberty. “Guilt” refers to the fact of having done something wrong; “shame” refers to the awareness of wrongdoing (either self-awareness and/or awareness of what others might think). “Guilt” is the better term here because a person can feel no shame, but still be guilty as hell (and that is clearly not what Rand has in mind).

(2) I need no [reason] <warrant> for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the [reason] <warrant> and the sanction. (128/94)36

What Ayn Rand wants to convey here is the idea that a man is an end in himself (and in that sense, she does believe that one needs no reason to exist). But to say that one needs no reason for being might also suggest that one may exist without any purpose, which is of course a view she rejects.

(3) in the [sanctuary] <temple> of his spirit, each man is alone. (132/96)

Though both “sanctuary” and “temple” suggest religious reverence and respect, the former suggests a place one withdraws into with an expectation of help. The latter avoids this unwanted implication, and connotes simply a place of worship or the location of what one worships.

(4) I shall rebuild the [wonders] <achievements> of the past. (139/99)

The difference here is subtle but important, for “wonders” gives the slight suggestion that the achievements of the past are beyond understanding or comprehension, and of course does not underscore the fact that they are achievements. Further, “wonders” stresses the subjective reaction (of being amazed), “achievement” the objective fact (i.e., what was accomplished).

Those were some examples of word-replacement; I conclude with three passages which were revised owing to unintended philosophical implications.

(1) Cut: For great are the evils of this earth, but none so great as the evils which come from men. (132/96)

This line implies that some evils are not man-made, which further implies a malevolent view of the universe—all of which Ayn Rand rejects (as does Equality).

(2) But I am done with this [reign of folly, for my eyes are opened] <creed of corruption>. (134/97)

This line comes at the end of the penultimate chapter. Equality here explicitly rejects the moral code of the society he has left. But to call this code a “reign of folly” suggests that it was the result of stupidity rather than evil; and the reference to Equality’s eyes being closed implies that he was blind not to recognize this folly. Cutting “for my eyes are opened” removes any suggestion that his lack of the concept of self was the result of blindness or in any way his fault; on the contrary, the discovery of ego was a spectacular achievement—the philosophical and psychological equivalent of rediscovering electricity. And replacing “reign of folly” with “creed of corruption” makes clear that the source of this moral code is not stupidity or ignorance, but evil.

(3) Cut: We shall know no fear and no doubt. Ours will be a holy war, the holy, the blessed and the last. We may perish, but our truth will go on. We may fall, but our torch is too bright ever to die again. What if we perish? The first have always perished.37 But I think not of danger. I look ahead through the years to the sun of my victory. I laugh. I sing to my victory. (147/104)

This was the last paragraph cut in Ayn Rand’s revision of Anthem. I assume it was cut not only because it was unnecessary (it was not replaced with anything else), but because it is both too negative and too positive: too negative because defeating a stagnant, corrupt collectivist society should not require a great war—such is the impotence of evil; and too positive because defeating this collectivist society will not ensure victory forever—the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, and the constant and active defense of egoism and a philosophy of reason.

As with the other philosophically interesting revisions discussed in this essay, these last three passages in the original were the result of (1) putting style over content or (2) the fact that Ayn Rand had not (in the 1930s) formulated precisely in every case some philosophical idea that she was developing. But less than ten years later, she knew even more about both philosophy and writing, and so was able to improve Anthem, though without having to change its essence. Or as she put it: “The story remains as it was. I have lifted its face, but not its spine or spirit; these did not need lifting” (xiv).38

Reprinted from the English Language edition of Essays on Ayn Rand’s “Anthem,” edited by Robert Mayhew and originally published by Lexington Books, an imprint of The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc., Lanham, MD, USA. Copyright © by the author. Published in the English language by arrangement with Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, reprinting, or on any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.

Do you have a comment or question?


  1. A word on the notation employed in this essay: Whenever two numbers are given (e.g., 46/42), the first refers to the page number(s) in the 1938 edition, the second to the page number(s) in the 1996 paperback edition. With rare (and obvious) exceptions, square brackets [ ] indicate a deletion, pointed brackets < > an addition.
  2. The changes in the hand-corrected copy do not match the revised edition exactly. I counted twenty-seven differences between what Ayn Rand indicated in handwritten corrections, and what appeared in the published revised edition. Twenty-two are cases in which she did not indicate changes from British to American spelling, though she did sometimes indicate such changes (more on British-American differences under Minor Revisions). In three cases, she did not indicate—or changed her mind about—the insertion of a comma (35/35, 46/42, 115/86–87). In one case, a change from “may” to “might” is not indicated (68/55); in another, she writes “want” in her handwritten changes, but “wish” appears in the published revised edition (37/36).

    Here are some other differences (presenting what is in the original edition, the hand-corrected copy, and the revised edition—in that order):

    (1)        they drew pictures upon the walls and upon the floors (27)

    they drew pictures upon the walls and the floors (hand-corrected copy)

    they drew pictures upon the walls (29)

    (2)        Then we were up on our feet once more, and we ran. We ran. (96)

    Then we were up on our feet once more, and we ran.” (hand-corrected copy)

    Then we ran. (75)

    (3)        The bird fell before us, and quivered, and lay still. (103)

    The bird fell before us. (hand-corrected copy)

    It fell before us. (79)

    (4)        And then we found a room with walls made of shelves, and upon them stood rows and rows of manuscripts. (121)

    We found a room with walls made of shelves, which held rows and rows of manuscripts. (hand-corrected copy)

    We found a room with walls made of shelves, which held rows of manuscripts. (91)

    The above leads us to the unsurprising conclusion that the hand-corrected copy corresponded to the manuscript an author normally turns in to the publisher, and that Rand had other opportunities to make changes.

  3. Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (New York: Dutton, 1995), 262.
  4. Biographical interviews (Ayn Rand Archives). Quoted in Leonard Peikoff, introduction to fiftieth anniversary American edition to Anthem, by Ayn Rand (New York: Signet, 1995), x.
  5. I initially thought that there were three possible typographical errors corrected for the 1946 edition. In two cases, “no thing” was changed to “nothing” (18/24, 98/76)—for example: “For men may wish no[ ]thing” (18/24). In the third case, at the end of Anthem, Equality 7-2521 says that he will fight for man’s freedom and honor, and “For his right<s>” (146/104). But Shoshana Milgram informed me that the drafts make clear that “right” and (in both cases) “no thing” were all intended by the author and only later changed. (Thus, I assume “no thing” in the original was an attempt at archaic style.)

    There seems to have been a typographical error introduced between the hand-corrected copy and the published revised edition (note the difference between “force” and “forces”):

    For they have nothing to fight me with, save the brute force of their numbers. (hand-corrected copy; see the appendix to the 1996 edition, p. 140)

    For they have nothing to fight me with, save the brute forces of their numbers. (100)

    At least two typographical errors were introduced by the publisher into the fiftieth anniversary edition: (1) “They brought the Transgressor out into the square and they led him to the pyre” (50)—where “him” should be “them.” (2) In the following paragraph, “likeliness” is a mistake; it should be “likeness” (50). (See pp. 58 and 59 of the 1938 edition, and all versions of the revised edition prior to the fiftieth anniversary edition.)

  6. I originally thought the following word replacement fell under the category of British to American changes: “There are Fraternity 2-5503, a quiet [lad] <boy> with wise, kind eyes” (53/47). But Ayn Rand wrote “lad” in her original draft, so that cannot be the reason for the revision (unless she later concluded that “lad” was too British).
  7. This sort of change was prevalent in her revisions to the 1936 edition of We the Living. See Robert Mayhew, “We the Living: ’36 and ’59,” in Essays on Ayn Rand’s We the Living, ed. Robert Mayhew (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2004), 189. As I there note, the Russian word for both “as” and “like” is the same: kak.
  8. From this point on, I refer to the hero of Anthem as Equality.
  9. See Shoshana Milgram, “Anthem in Manuscript: Finding the Words,” in this volume, p. 5.
  10. I make the same point about a detail cut from a scene in We the Living. See Robert Mayhew, “We the Living: ’36 and ’59,” ed. Mayhew, 200.
  11. From this point on, I refer to the heroine of Anthem as Liberty.
  12. In addition, over twenty times Ayn Rand cut the initial “And” of a sentence—for example, from this line: “And in five hours time, when the sun is high, we return to the Home . . .” (22/27).
  13. Biographical interviews (Ayn Rand Archives). Peikoff, “Introduction,” x.
  14. Writing the first version of Anthem was not the only occasion in which Ayn Rand employed this formula. In the first notes she wrote in preparation for The Fountainhead—dated December 4, 1935, a year and a half before writing Anthem—we find the following: “sum of sums” and “the holiest of holies and the reason of reasons.” In the December 26, 1935, entry, she refers to Howard Roark as “the end of ends.” See David Harriman, ed., Journals of Ayn Rand (New York: Dutton, 1997), 78, 80–81, 88.
  15. In We the Living, she made similar changes to Stepan Timoshenko’s description of what a revolution requires. See Mayhew, “We the Living: ’36 and ’59,” 199–200.
  16. Biographical interviews (Ayn Rand Archives). She also had an immediate negative reaction to his Birth of Tragedy, with its opposition of reason and emotion.
  17. Biographical interviews (Ayn Rand Archives).
  18. Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra (New York: Dover, 1999). This is a reprint edition of the Thomas Common translation, first published in 1911 by Macmillan and in 1917 as a Modern Library edition (the edition Rand owned). Nietzsche’s Also sprach Zarathustra was originally published in four parts between 1883 and 1885. A Russian translation was published in St. Petersburg in 1898. See Richard D. Davies, “Nietzsche in Russia, 1892–1919: A Chronological Checklist,” in Nietzsche in Russia, ed. Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986), 359.
  19. Nietzsche, Zarathustra, 136, 138, 141.
  20. For her mature statement on this issue, see Ayn Rand, “Causality versus Duty,” in her Philosophy: Who Needs It (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1982; Signet paperback edition, 1984).
  21. Nietzsche, Zarathustra, 11: “Whom do they hate most? Him who breaketh up their table of values, the breaker, the law-breaker:—he, however, is the creator.” See also Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, sec. 211.
  22. Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (New York: Random House, 1957; Signet thirty-fifth anniversary paperback edition, 1992), 677. The important point—in contrast to Nietzsche—is that the good “must be discovered, not invented, by man” (Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal [New York: New American Library, 1966; expanded paperback edition, Signet, 1967], 22).
  23. Note that in her collection For the New Intellectual, which consisted of a long essay and selections from her fiction, Ayn Rand included most of Chapter 11 of Anthem (revised version, of course); but this entire passage was omitted. I don’t know whether this omission was the result of further doubts about the passage. See Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual (New York: Random House, 1961; Signet paperback edition, 1961), 64–65.

    The original passage bears a resemblance to the language of some passages from Nietzsche. For example:

    from thee they want a Yea or Nay (Zarathustra, 32);

    alas for every living thing that would live without dispute about weight and scales and weigher! (Zarathustra, 79);

    I honour [those who] have learned to say “I” and “Yea” and “Nay” (Zarathustra, 135); quietly and quickly will I put the “truth” upside down (Zarathustra, 217);

    Formula for my happiness: a yes, a no, a straight line, a goal. . . .

    (Twilight of the Idols, “Maxims and Barbs” # 44, translated by Duncan Large [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998], 10.)

  24. Compare this to the following passage from Thus Spake Zarathustra:

    The body is a big sagacity, a plurality with one sense. . . . An instrument of thy body is also thy little sagacity, my brother, which thou callest “spirit”—a little instrument and plaything of thy big sagacity. . . . Behind thy thoughts and feelings, my brother, there is a mighty lord, an unknown sage—it is called Self; it dwelleth in thy body, it is thy body. (19)

  25. See Milgram, “Anthem in Manuscript,” in this volume, p. 18.
  26. Nietzsche, Zarathustra, 56–57, 75. See also Beyond Good and Evil, section 19.
  27. See Anthem, 20, 25, 26, 34, 36, 44, 46, 47, 72.
  28. See Ayn Rand, “Selfishness without a Self,” in her Philosophy: Who Needs It, and Nathaniel Branden, “Counterfeit Individualism,” in Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism (New York: New American Library, 1964).
  29. See Nietzsche, Zarathustra, 76–77, 147; Beyond Good and Evil, sections 22, 61, 199, 230, 260.
  30. See, for example, Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, sections 28 and 48, and also Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen M. Higgins, What Nietzsche Really Said (New York: Schocken Books, 2000), 8–13.
  31. Nietzsche, Zarathustra, 38. I should mention, however, that Ayn Rand did not underline this passage in her own copy of Zarathustra.
  32. Note that in the manuscripts, Ayn Rand referred to a “kindly spirit” that prevented Equality from being caught yawning during a history lesson. See Milgram, “Anthem in Manuscript,” in this volume, p. 9.
  33. “This is just” refers to the preceding passage, which the Teachers had spoken to them all:

    Dare not choose in your minds the work you would like to do when you leave the Home of the Students. You shall do that which the Council of Vocations shall prescribe for you. For the Council of Vocations knows in its great wisdom where you are needed by your brother men, better than you can know it in your unworthy little minds. And if you are not needed by your brother men, there is no reason for you to burden the earth with your bodies (13–14/22).

  34. “About a Woman President” (1969), in Ayn Rand, The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought, ed. Leonard Peikoff (New York: New American Library, 1988), 268.
  35. Ayn Rand, The Art of Nonfiction: A Guide for Writers and Readers, ed. Robert Mayhew (New York: Plume, 2001), 119.
  36. Cf. Nietzsche, The Gay Science, edited by Bernard Williams, translated by Josefine Nauckhoff (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), section 276: “what thought shall be the reason, warrant, and sweetness of the rest of my life!” (157).
  37. On the idea that “the first have always perished,” see Nietzsche, Zarathustra: “O my brethren, he who is a firstling is ever sacrificed. Now, however, are we sacrificed” (139). (This was marked off by Ayn Rand in her copy.) Cf. Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1943; Signet fiftieth anniversary paperback ed., 1993), 679.
  38. I should like to thank Allan Gotthelf who, in the mid-1980s, first brought to my attention the question of a possible Nietzschean influence on the 1938 edition of Anthem. I wish also to thank Tore Boeckmann, Onkar Ghate, Shoshana Milgram and Greg Salmieri for their extensive comments on earlier versions of this draft.
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Robert Mayhew

Robert Mayhew is professor of philosophy at Seton Hall University, specializing in ancient philosophy, and serves on the board of directors of the Ayn Rand Institute. His most recent publication on Ayn Rand is an annotated edition of her previously unpublished play The Unconquered.

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