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New Ideal - Reason | Individualism | Capitalism

The Spirit of Francisco d’Anconia: The Development of His Characterization

Joy is a prominent and central quality in the characterization of Francisco.

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Atlas Shrugged, according to Ayn Rand, is “a mystery story about the murder—and rebirth—of man’s spirit.” It begins, accordingly, with a question: “Who is John Galt?” But this question is not the only question in the minds of first-time readers. The character of Francisco d’Anconia poses a mystery that becomes more urgent the more we learn about him. We read the flashback in “The Climax of the d’Anconias” and wonder: How are we to reconcile Dagny’s private memories with Francisco’s public scandals? How can a brilliant, ambitious producer waste his abilities and squander his wealth? How can the man who believed that the most depraved type of human being is the man without a purpose dedicate himself to becoming exactly that? And how can a man who appears to be a walking contradiction gravely insist that no contradictions exist? For the sort of reader who is not willing to accept an unexplained character transformation as “just one of those things,” Francisco is a challenge and a puzzle. Who is Francisco d’Anconia?

And for the reader who is revisiting the novel after completing it, Francisco d’Anconia is absorbing for different reasons. He is the crucial link between Atlantis and the heroes who remain in the looters’ world: he is, in fact, rarely seen except in the presence of Dagny Taggart, the woman he loves, or Hank Rearden, the man he seeks to conquer, rescue, and redeem. And once we know the full story, once all our questions about him are answered, reading the passages in which he appears is even more enjoyable. Francisco, after all, is irresistibly attractive with his productive energy, exuberant imaginativeness, mocking wit, and elegant grace. Francisco d’Anconia compels attention, and it’s not surprising that many readers consider him their favorite character.

How did Ayn Rand first arrive at the character of Francisco?

“Strangely enough,” she said in an interview, “I don’t remember. Almost inspirationally. . . . Francisco, more than anyone else, seems to have been Minerva in my mind . . . he came in ready-made.”1 Within Atlas Shrugged, Hugh Akston uses the same analogy to describe the genesis of John Galt himself: “I’ve always thought of him [Galt] as if he had come into the world like Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, who sprang forth from Jupiter’s head, fully grown and fully armed” (786).2 Dr. Akston’s point is that Galt apparently had no period of development or gestation. A character, however, is not the same as the characterization. Although the novel does not indicate any process of growth in Galt, Ayn Rand’s notes and drafts show that the characterization of Galt did not come in ready-made.

The Atlas Shrugged notes show Ayn Rand’s preparatory work on the novel, much of it from April to September of 1946, as she outlined the plot. Many of her notes were substantial essays. She made notes on the important characters, explaining the motivation, qualities, and line of development for each. She made notes on the progress of events, the pattern of disintegration, the emotional main line. She made notes based on her reading about railroads, steel, and so forth, about the facts of industry and geography. She made notes on philosophy, with essays on such subjects as a possible explanation of the original reason for secondhandedness, the theory of talent, the creative process, the variations of the parasite. In successive outlines, she integrated the plot, characters, philosophy, and factual information. She made notes on notes, tying together her notes on philosophy and indicating where they supported her notes on characters, for example, her “notes on the creative process” (in her philosophical file) were intended for the characterization of Galt, and her “notes on proper cooperation” were intended for the characterization of Dagny.

Her plans for the characterizations of the positive figures in Atlas Shrugged emphasized Dagny Taggart and John Galt, about whom she wrote extensively during her preparations; her notes about Francisco, by contrast, are brief, few, and late. Francisco d’Anconia, designed to be one of the strikers, was initially described primarily as an aristocrat and an industrialist, who had become a playboy; the romance between Dagny and Francisco was a late addition. Francisco is, thus, far less prominent in Ayn Rand’s working notes than he is in the hand-edited manuscripts or the text of the novel.3

Comparing the notes to the novel, we see that, in writing Francisco, Ayn Rand ultimately gave him important features that she had originally assigned to John Galt.

While preparing to write the novel, Ayn Rand had indicated, as first in the list of Galt’s “important qualities (to bring out)”:

Joy in living—the peculiar, deeply natural, serene, all-pervading joy in living which he alone possesses so completely in the story (the other strikers have it in lesser degree, almost as reflections of that which, in him, is the source); all-pervading in the sense that it underlies all his actions and emotions, it is an intrinsic, inseparable part of his nature (like the color of his hair or eyes), it is present even when he suffers (particularly in the torture scene)—that is when the nature and quality of his joy in living is startling and obvious, it is not resignation or acceptance of suffering—but a denial of it, a triumph over it. . . . (He laughs, as answer to the crucial question of the torture scene.)4

And joy, to be sure, is one of Galt’s qualities. In the torture scene, as planned, Galt laughs—the “sparkle of contemptuous mockery” (1144)—when he gives instructions for repairing the generator. Moreover, “the first thing [Dagny] grasped about him was the intense perceptiveness of his eyes—he looked as if his faculty of sight were his best-loved tool and its exercise were a limitless, joyous adventure” (701). The description of Galt, however, stresses perceptiveness (a noun) more than joy (in the form of “joyous,” an adjective).

Joy is more prominent and central in the characterization of Francisco. By 1947, the year after Ayn Rand wrote the notes about Galt’s joy in living, Francisco appears to have taken over as the spirit of joy. Francisco, Ayn Rand writes in her notes for rewriting the chapter “The Climax of the d’Anconias,” represents in Dagny’s life “the entity of pure joy—the joy of ability.”5 And this plan is fulfilled throughout the characterization. In Atlas Shrugged, joy is Francisco’s leitmotif more than it is Galt’s. The contrast between the notes of 1946 and those of 1947 shows that, once Ayn Rand began writing, she assigned to Francisco a quality she had intended to make uniquely Galt’s.

Similarly, the notes indicate that, while writing, she transferred to Francisco the role of Rearden’s friend. Ayn Rand originally planned for Galt to provide the “kind of understanding and appreciation he [Rearden] has always wanted and did not know he wanted.”6 In the novel, Rearden is in fact referred to (once, in Dagny’s mind) as Galt’s “greatest conquest” (1003), after Rearden has joined the strike. But isn’t Rearden really conquered by Francisco? At the Taggart wedding, Francisco said he had come there for what he believed would be his “best and greatest” conquest (416); when Rearden and Francisco seal their friendship, Rearden inquires about that remark, and Francisco says that, yes, he was referring to Rearden (998–99). It is the friendship with Francisco that is dramatized. It is Francisco who approaches Rearden, reading his thoughts, thanking him, giving him sanction, understanding, and deliverance. It is Francisco who appears when Rearden, saddened by the unexplained disappearance of Ken Danagger, wishes that someone would come for him. It is Francisco who is the man who means most to Rearden. (I will later examine the editing of these scenes, i.e., revisions of the dialogue and descriptions. My present point is that, in the initial plan, these scenes would not have been scenes about Francisco.)

Francisco swears to Rearden that he is indeed his friend, and he is. And, in the drafts, we see additional descriptions of Rearden’s feelings for Francisco, passages that Ayn Rand cut—but that are not inconsistent with the text. Thinking of the sign “Rearden Metal” (and the sign “Rearden Life”), he asks himself: “For whom had you lighted it? He heard his own answer: for a man like Francisco d’Anconia . . . the only man who had ever aroused in him an emotion which he could not conquer” (Box 7, folder 8, 155–56, contrasted with 449 in the text).

Why did Francisco, rather than Galt, take on the function of Rearden’s friend and conqueror? Given the eventual structure of the novel, for one thing, when would there have been time in Part III for scenes between Galt and Rearden? The more important reason is that, once Ayn Rand began to write about Francisco, she recognized his possible function in the division of labor. She knew what to do with him. Galt, to be sure, deserves considerable credit for the conquest of Rearden. Francisco is conquering Rearden by means of Galt’s ideas, which are now also his ideas. Much of what Rearden gains from the friendship with Francisco, is the introduction, through Francisco, to Galt’s world. And yet, although Galt has clearly prepared the intellectual ground, Francisco is the man on the scene.

When Rearden is ready to embrace his freedom, his “final certainty” is expressed in terms that recall the face of John Galt: “the radiant serenity of knowing that he was free of fear, of pain, of guilt” (997).7 He is ready to join Galt’s strike. “If it’s true, he thought, that there are avengers who are working for the deliverance of men like me, let them see me now, let them tell me their secret, let them claim me, let them—‘Come in!’ he said aloud, in answer to the knock on his door” (997–98). But the man who enters to claim him is not John Galt, but Francisco d’Anconia. As Ayn Rand composed her novel, Francisco, and not Galt, emerged as the spirit of joy and the conqueror of Rearden.

I turn now to the first draft of the manuscript. Although the revisions reveal Ayn Rand’s mind at work, the changes, with few exceptions, are both moderate and subtle. For several other Ayn Rand characters—such as Dagny and Roark—there are passages in the drafts that are not fully representative of the thoughts and actions of the characters as they appear in the final text. In the case of Francisco, such passages are rare. Although Ayn Rand did not prepare extensive notes for the characterization of Francisco, and although she did not plan for him a major role, she apparently knew—from the time she began writing about Francisco, if not sooner—who he was, how he sounded, what he might think or do. He is essentially just what Ayn Rand said, Minerva in her mind. Ayn Rand’s editing of Francisco, as seen in the drafts, consists largely of stylistic enhancement (sharper wit, more elegant grace) and of altered contexts. His surroundings or interlocutors may change, but he is always what he is.

The visual image of Francisco is introduced, in the published text, through a newspaper story Dagny reads while she lies half-stretched on the couch in her apartment, listening to Richard Halley’s Fourth Concerto. She does not intend to read the newspaper, but the paper falls open to a face she recognizes, and to a story she tells herself not to read—not to that music. But she does (69).

The context in the draft is significantly different. Sitting on a train, Dagny thinks about an abandoned piece of machinery she recently saw in the plant of the United Locomotive Works in New Jersey. In both the draft and the text, the sight made her angry; she felt “a scream of protest against injustice . . . an answer [changed, in the text, to: a response] to something much beyond an old piece of machinery” (Box 5, folder 6, 337 in the draft; 64 in the text). In the draft, she picks up a newspaper, as a distraction from her internal scream of protest, because the newspaper, “at least, would be safely senseless” (Box 5, folder 6, 337). In that newspaper she reads a story about a divorce scandal involving Francisco as corespondent.

In the draft, Ayn Rand juxtaposes the introduction of Francisco with the waste of a precision machine tool that has been “rotted by neglect, eaten by rust”—that is, a value unvalued, therefore neglected and destroyed. And, at the conclusion of the sequence, “Dagny let the paper slip to the floor. That story and the smile in the picture accompanying it, made her feel—not in violence, but in infinite weariness—what she had felt at the sight of the wreck that had been a matchless instrument” (Box 5, folder 6, 341). The piece of machinery is evidence of the general corruption, as well as a strongly implied analogy with Francisco. And, at that point, that was all Ayn Rand wrote about Dagny’s emotions regarding Francisco.

In the published text, by contrast, Ayn Rand juxtaposes the introduction of Francisco with Richard Halley’s music (which is emotionally powerful, the only source of pleasure Dagny has found outside her work, in a world grown grim) and Richard Halley’s background story (which is thematically significant—he too is an unvalued value, therefore withdrawn from the world). Halley’s music is important: it bookends the novel. We first encounter Halley’s music when we first encounter Dagny (13). Halley’s musical theme expresses the philosophical theme of deliverance. When we hear the theme at the novel’s end (described, 1167, in a paragraph that repeats the first description), it is associated with Francisco’s laughter: “They could not hear the music of Halley’s Fifth Concerto now flowing somewhere high above the roof, but Francisco’s laughter matched its sounds” (1168). In the final text, Ayn Rand introduces Francisco not simply as another example of an abandoned value, but as someone associated with the highest values of Dagny and of the novel. And, in the text only, not in the draft, Dagny, after reading the newspaper story, “sat, bent over, her head on her arms. She did not move, but the strands of hair, hanging down to her knees, trembled in sudden jolts once in a while” (69).

Looking at the draft in the light of the text, I surmise that Ayn Rand originally included no hint of any personal, romantic involvement on Dagny’s part, whereas, in the text, there is at least the hint. The romantic past of Francisco and Dagny appeared late in Ayn Rand’s preparatory writings. It is possible that this portion of the draft reflects a plan in which this past did not exist.8

However, any change or development in Ayn Rand’s thinking about Francisco’s relationship with Dagny is not necessarily based on a change or development in her thinking about Francisco himself. The photograph of Francisco’s smile and the account of the newspaper story are virtually verbatim, in the draft and the text. Whatever Ayn Rand’s changing plans for Dagny’s romantic prehistory (and the notes include references to two early romantic disappointments), Ayn Rand was able, from the beginning, to envision the full and final Francisco.

The chapter “The Climax of the d’Anconias” contains an extended flashback to the childhood summers of Dagny and Francisco, to their secret romantic relationship, and to their last night together. The drafted version of the flashback contains some material Ayn Rand omitted in the final version, but nothing that clashes with the final Francisco. For example: the Francisco of the draft arrives “in the company of a diffident Argentinian tutor who barely saw him for the rest of the month. Francisco was courteously polite to the tutor, as if to make it easier for him to keep up the pretense on who was in authority between the two of them, about which neither had any doubts” (Box 5, folder 7, 455). The text reports only that Francisco had a “stern South American tutor” (90). Francisco’s polite charade with the tutor, his making of his own rules, is consistent with Francisco’s character; the passage was omitted not because it is wrong for Francisco, but because it is not needed.

Ayn Rand improves the presentation of Francisco without having to add elements to his character. In the draft, for example, he is described as saying, on an unspecified occasion: “The reason my family has lasted for so many centuries is that none of us has ever been permitted to think he is born a d’Anconia. We are expected to become one” (Box 5, folder 7, 456). These sentences, with a minor change (“such a long time” instead of “so many centuries”), appear in the text as well, but the setup is improved. In the text, the occasion for the remark is specified: “Eddie asked him once, ‘Francisco, you’re some kind of very high nobility, aren’t you?’ He answered, ‘Not yet’” (90). In the final text, we are told how Francisco came to say that each d’Anconia is expected to become one.

Some other changes in the portrayal of Francisco arise from Ayn Rand’s editing of James Taggart. The draft makes more explicit the mutual attitudes of James and Francisco:

Francisco insisted on calling him “James,” never “Jim.” Francisco was unfailingly polite to him, in the same manner which he reserved for any of the young local hoodlums. It was obvious that Jim hated Francisco and that his feeling was a matter of no concern whatever to its object. The hatred had the overtones of an obsession. Dagny found herself thinking that the stories she had read were wrong: unrequited love was probably not the worst thing to bear; there was something worse: unnoticed hatred. (Box 5, folder 7, 472–73)

The passage is lucid, eloquent, consistent with everything we know of James and Francisco, and nonetheless a candidate for omission, because Ayn Rand chose to emphasize the colorful hero and to de-emphasize the sleazy villain.

The editing-down of James Taggart occurs again in the episode of “Frankie,” Francisco’s stint as call boy for Taggart Transcontinental. In the draft: “Jim chuckled coldly when he heard the story, and said; ‘Really, Francisco, with all that talk about your ancestors, your title, your honor, with all that swashbuckling, plume-waving, medieval pose of yours—how could you take the job of a gutter-snipe? How could you be a combination alarm clock and errand boy for a lot of greasy laborers, and take orders from an illiterate master mechanic?’” (Box 5, folder 7, 478). (Although the content of James’s comments is characteristically repulsive, he is uncharacteristically articulate.) “Francisco replied courteously: ‘Your question answers itself. It shows why you could not do it, but I could.’”

In the corresponding scene in the novel, by contrast, James says nothing about Francisco’s job on the railroad. But when Francisco tells Mrs. Taggart about his recent experience as a cabin boy, James asks a question:

“So that’s how you spend your winters?” said Jim Taggart. Jim’s smile had a touch of triumph, the triumph of finding cause to feel contempt.

“That was last winter,” Francisco answered pleasantly, with no change in the innocent, casual tone of his voice. “The winter before last I spent in Madrid, at the home of the Duke of Alba.” (92)

The dialogue in the final text is better because Francisco is able to devastate James simply by answering his question as if it were a straight inquiry rather than an implicit offense. The scene in the draft, by contrast, is a more direct attack on James, who is not worth attacking. The improvement is primarily in the setup. In both scenes, Francisco is truthfully and literally responsive to James’s explicit remark, and he is also proudly dismissive of James’s implicit disdain. In both scenes, moreover, he has the same effect on James Taggart, who—if he has not managed to evade reality entirely—must surely regret ever having opened his mouth.

Here is another example of a change in the setup. In the draft, James Taggart comments derisively on Dagny’s willingness to comply with any and all of Francisco’s requests. “I didn’t know,” he says, “that the famous South American code of honor permitted [you to] use women for running errands” (Box 5, folder 7, 472). And Francisco responds, in the draft: “It is not advisable, James, to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener.” The same sentences appear in the text as Francisco’s rejoinder to James’s advice about the need to devote thought to ideals and social responsibilities (99).

A final comment on Francisco and James. The text shortens the summary of Francisco’s attitude to James Taggart. In the draft: “He tolerated Jim’s existence, but seldom volunteered to notice it” (Box 5, folder 7, 467); in the text, simply “He seldom volunteered to notice Jim’s existence” (90). The reference to toleration is omitted; the point—that Francisco doesn’t think of James—is retained.

The depiction of the love affair is essentially the same in draft and in text, but there are some stylistic improvements. Francisco’s letters to Dagny, for example, are described somewhat abstractly, in the draft. “She loved them; they were eloquent through the things which he did not say; they showed that the nature of the bond between them was just what it had always been” (Box 5, folder 7, 552). In the text, more specifically, “He wrote about d’Anconia Copper, about the world market, about issues affecting the interests of Taggart Transcontinental” (111). Ayn Rand’s writing replaces Dagny’s evaluation of the letters with a description of the topics of those letters.

There are a number of narrative passages dealing with their relationship that are found in the draft only, not in the text. When Francisco goes to college, for example, they “entered a road where nothing mattered except one’s own journey, and that they could hold only a second place in each other’s lives. But this very knowledge was the new and the greatest bond between them” (Box 5, folder 7, 505). In the draft, just before Francisco named what the act of love meant to them (108 in the text), we read “They were not in love” (Box 5, folder 7, 540). On the following page: “They never spoke of love. But nobody had ever existed for them except each other. In a world where they were strangers, it was with each other that they had to share the discovery of the greatest relationship possible. They were like two people on a desert island. It was their first test of their capacity for happiness” (Box 5, folder 7, 541).

The draft, not the text, reports that Eddie notices nothing. “Nobody ever learned the nature of her relationship with Francisco. Nobody suspected it, not even Eddie, who had remained their friend. Years earlier, Eddie had gradually granted them the privacy of their friendship which excluded him at times; but he thought of their friendship as it had been in childhood and never saw the change” (Box 5, folder 7, 546). Eddie’s perspective tells us something about Eddie, but not about Francisco. The narrative about the relationship—some phrases of which, for example the desert island, are found among the few notes in the journals—do not describe any difference in Francisco. Why did Ayn Rand write, and then omit “They were not in love”? The denial of love between Francisco and Dagny supports the presentation of Galt as Dagny’s final romantic choice, that is, in Rearden’s words: “if love means one’s final, irreplaceable choice, the only one [she has] ever loved” (860). Ayn Rand, I surmise, decided that it would be confusing to readers to be told, on the same page, that Dagny and Francisco were not in love with each other, but that no one exists for each but the other, and that they have together discovered the greatest relationship possible. At this point, we do not have sufficient context to resolve the apparent contradiction.

Another change, from draft to text, has to do with Francisco’s visits to Dagny. In the draft: “That winter, Francisco came to meet her in New York, secretly, not often. He could not resist it, but it was like a break in the discipline they had established by an unspoken understanding: that they would never claim first place in each other’s life. They surrendered to a break once in a while, fiercely, almost reluctantly” (Box 5, folder 7, 546–47). In the text, by contrast, we have a description of a specific scene that takes place sometimes twice a week, sometimes at intervals of months: He flies down from Cleveland, without warning, knocks at her door, takes her to an apartment in the city. When she realizes that she is his “mistress,” she feels, the text tells us, “the pride a woman is supposed to experience at being granted the title of wife” (109).

The flashback shows a pattern: contrasting the draft with the text reveals no substantial change in Francisco, who was Minerva in Ayn Rand’s mind. The changes are either minor stylistic improvements or differences in the setups of his lines and the thoughts and conduct of other people. The same holds true for the series of meetings through which Francisco tries to help Hank Rearden check the premises of his moral code.

These conversations, Ayn Rand said, were exceptionally difficult for her to write. Ayn Rand had to edit out material from Francisco’s philosophical speeches, not for reasons of characterization, but rather because she had to decide how much Francisco could tell Rearden (or Dagny) without “giving away” the strike too early. She did not want Francisco “to present ideas so openly that any reader would guess everything, and consequently that Rearden or Dagny would have to join the strike immediately if they hear this much.” In the conversations with Rearden: “my assignment was to show by what steps he is testing and at the same time informing a future recruit. I almost felt a novice myself in his shoes, in effect, as if I didn’t quite know what I should allow him.”9

Francisco and Rearden first meet in the setting of Rearden’s anniversary party. This draft scene has a number of passages unfamiliar to readers of the novel. We are told, for example, that Rearden, with surprise, observes Lillian’s dislike of Francisco: “He could not hear their words, but he noted—by the pointless gestures of her hands, by the uncertain, unbecoming tilt of her head—that Lillian was not at ease in d’Anconia’s presence. He knew enough about his wife to know that losing her poise had but one meaning: she disliked the man. Strange, Rearden thought indifferently, he would have expected the opposite” (Box 5, folder 9, 752). Rearden then has another thought: “‘Bread and circuses,’ he thought suddenly: the bread was his and that man was the circus” (Box 5, folder 9, 753). The line is clever. This sort of wit, however, is more characteristic of Francisco than of Rearden.

Francisco, who has come to the party to recruit Rearden, is aware of the risk he confronts. If Rearden learns too much about the strike before he accepts its premises, he will be even more dangerous as an opponent. The conquest (i.e., Francisco’s philosophical persuasion of Rearden), thus needs to take place in several installments.

In the original plan, Francisco’s first approach (as in the final text) was to offer Rearden understanding and gratitude: “of all those whom you are saving from the storm tonight, I am the only one who will offer it” (Box 6, folder 1, 802; 147). Rearden is intrigued but puzzled at such a message from such a messenger. He asks: “What is it that you’re driving at?” (Box 6, folder 1, 802), revised as “What is it that you think you’re doing?” and eventually “What are you trying to do?”

In the manuscript, Francisco’s next sentence is revised several times, for example “I am calling your attention to the nature of those who have made you their protector and victim” (Box 6, folder 1, 802)—a formulation that comes close to identifying directly the sanction of the victim, a point that Rearden ultimately works out on his own. The final form, in the text, is “the nature of those for whom you are working” (147)—a formulation that does not give the point away.

Rearden replies: “You’re a damn fool.” Francisco, in the draft, responds: “Do you know the legend of Atlas, Mr. Rearden? He was a giant who supported the world on his shoulders. I wonder whether he ever looked at what he was supporting, and what he’d do if he had—crossed out—whether he would have felt pride if he did” (Box 6, folder 1, 803).

Rearden’s response, which in the draft is tied to the phrase “who have made you their protector and their victim,” is that he isn’t a victim, because “keeping the whole lifeless bunch of them alive” means little to him.

The draft uses the image of Atlas to suggest the worthlessness of those being supported, that they do not deserve to be carried; the full point, though, includes the impact of the burden on Atlas himself. This point will be much clearer to Rearden after Rearden Metal has made his own life harder.

The next installment of Francisco’s recruiting of Rearden is Francisco’s speech on the nature of money. Although the speech is delivered publicly, to all the guests at the Taggart wedding, Rearden hears it, remembers it, and eventually quotes it at his own trial.

The editing of this sequence includes both additions and subtractions. To begin with, the final text introduces the speech with a description, from Rearden’s point of view, of the listeners and of Francisco. In both, Rearden “found himself walking across the ballroom, toward the group that surrounded Francisco d’Anconia” (Box 7, folder 4, 2040 in the draft; 409 in the text). Rearden observes their empty, cowardly, guilty, angry appearance. In the text only: “Francisco stood cornered against the side edge of a marble stairway, half-leaning, half-sitting on the steps; the informality of his posture, combined with the strict formality of his clothes, gave him an air of superlative elegance. His was the only face that had the carefree look and the brilliant smile proper to the enjoyment of a party; but his eyes seemed intentionally expressionless, holding no trace of gaiety, showing—like a warning signal—nothing but the activity of a heightened perceptiveness” (409–10). This is an improvement: a description of the speaker, and not only of the listeners.

The content of the speech itself is the same, in both draft and text, but the organization and, hence, the order are sometimes different. The draft, for example, begins at a higher level of abstraction: the role of the mind is discussed first—that is, that the mind is the root of wealth. In the final text, Francisco develops this point at greater length, and at a later point in the speech. The text is shorter, on the whole and in regard to several points, and easier to follow because the opening sentence of each paragraph is usually the topic sentence. The final version is, in several places, more succinct and elegant than the draft version.

Here are some typical revisions. In the draft, referring to money: “Those pieces of paper are a token of honor” (Box 7, folder 4, 2043). In the final text: “Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor” (410). In the draft: “Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men whom you can trust” (Box 7, folder 4, 2043). In the final text: “Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money” (410).

In the draft:

Money is the tool of your values—and it will achieve for you, with the most ruthless precision, just exactly what your code of values chooses to demand. Money is a tool which will carry you as far as your mind can go—but not one step farther.

For money will not become a tool of evil. If one attempts to use it against its nature, it is money that destroys those who make the attempt. Money is the great scourge of the men who seek to evade the law of cause and effect—those who think they can replace the mind by seizing its products. (Box 7, folder 4, 2047–48)

In the text, much more succinctly:

But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires. Money is the scourge of the men who attempt to reverse the law of causality—the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing the products of the mind. (411)

In the draft:

Do not expect [men] to produce, when production is penalized and looting rewarded. Are you sick of human corruption? Do not scream that man is evil. You’ve set up conditions where only the evil can triumph. Do you long for a rebirth of human virtue? Then look for the root you’ve destroyed—and learn that money is the root of all good. (Box 7, folder 4, 2063)

In the text, more succinctly: “Do not expect [men] to produce, when production is penalized and looting rewarded. Do not ask, ‘Who is destroying the world?’ You are” (413–14). The revised version is more succinct, and entirely clear. The point is stated in the first sentence. The best phrase from the draft is the statement that “money is the root of all good”—and Ayn Rand (through Francisco) saves it for the final paragraph of the text of the speech (415).

In addition to the editorial revisions, there are also omissions. Here is one outtake: “The only way a man can hope to profit is to hope for a quick death before the consequences of his actions have caught him. Do not think it’s hypocrisy when the looters tell you that their aim is to enshrine self-sacrifice in place of the profit motive: the society of looters is ruled by, moved by and aimed at death” (Box 7, folder 4, 2059). This paragraph, which is not needed for clarity at this point, introduces the opposition of the Morality of Death and the Morality of Life. The full explanation of this point needs to be held in reserve, because it is John Galt’s assignment.

One omitted passage celebrates the industrialist as the bridge between scientific discoveries and daily life:

Or do I hear you say that if money is the product of the mind, why does the industrialist make more money than the scientist? Because, you miserable fools, it’s the industrialist who spends his life bringing the products of science into your homes! Do you think the scientist cares to bother manufacturing an electric toaster for every one of you, running the factory that makes it [this phrase crossed out], sending it across a continent to your door, pasting billboards to tell you about it and risking to lose his shirt if a rival produces a toaster that pleases you better? The scientist has no time to care whether you exist. That is not his job. Nor is it the job of a struggling housewife to spend her hard-earned dollars on the support of an abstract scientist who gives her no value in return, except the hope that his work will profit her grandchildren—if her children don’t starve in the meantime. But the man who sells her the toaster is the man who lightens her work—and he makes his profit by means of a few pennies from a great number of housewives. No, wealth is not the only measure of a man’s brain. In a free society, a man may make as much money as he wishes, or as little—according to his talent and purpose. But has anyone ever told you what wealth is a measure of, in a free society? You lovers of mankind, you town-criers of benevolence, you preachers of service to others—wealth is the measure of a man’s brain and of the number of people who paid him for a benefit which they sought of their own free choice! (Box 7, folder 4, 2067–70)

The final sequence, in the draft, begins: “Unless and until it [the United States] breaks its chains and lifts money as its highest, noblest symbol—it is doomed to the destruction for which it asks” (Box 7, folder 4, 2074). In the text: “Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction” (415). This passage is fully compatible with Francisco’s characterization and does not take anything away that had to be saved for Galt. I believe that it was cut, as a derivation of the points already made about capitalism, for reasons of space.

The revisions of the Money Speech show Ayn Rand in the act of editing the prose for maximum clarity and power (tightening the syntax, improving the diction). The speech was difficult for her to write; she said she wrote at least six different versions.10 Although the outtakes of the speech would be the gems of anyone else’s writing, she removes as much as she believes she can.

That night, Rearden tries to get to the heart of Francisco’s secret, by asking him why he does not practice what he preaches; when Rearden hears that Francisco is engaged in deliberate destruction, Rearden first laughs with a kind of relief, then retreats from the implications of the laugh. In a crossed-out section of the draft, Rearden begins what sounds like a condemnation of Francisco:

“To let your mind, your life, your wealth be motivated by those people, by your hatred for them—” Francisco interrupts: “No, Mr. Rearden, that is not true. Not by those people and not by hatred.”

“By what, then?”

“By love.”

“For whom?” (Box 7, folder 6, 64)

The omission of this passage—which is crossed out right on the page (and which, if retained in the text, would have appeared on 417 of the text)—is appropriate not because it is uncharacteristic of Francisco, who has already dropped hints he does not intend to explain (e.g., “whether there’s ever been anything—or anyone—that meant a damn to me, and . . . and how much he did mean,” 418), but because the question about the motivation by hatred is one that, at this point, would be hard for Rearden to ask.

Francisco’s attempted philosophical conquest of Rearden, in both the draft and the final text, builds on what Rearden already understands. They meet again when Francisco appears uninvited at Rearden’s office, after Ken Danagger has joined the strike.

Rearden is ready. Thinking of Ken Danagger’s disappearance, he asks: “Why didn’t they come for me, too, whoever they are, and give me that irresistible reason which would make me go?” At the same time, he also believes “he would murder the man who’d attempt to approach him, he would murder before he could hear the words of the secret that would take him away from his mills” (448). Rearden opens his office door, and there in the anteroom is Francisco d’Anconia. This context, in the novel, is the preparation for the conversation about Atlas, which Ayn Rand had initially planned to include as part of their first meeting.

Francisco encourages Rearden to check his premises about what is moral. Rearden chuckles when Francisco tells him he’s one of the last moral men left to the world. Francisco attempts to explain that the mills are the material form of an abstract principle. Originally: “You had to choose right and you had to choose the best within your knowledge, that which works [,] and then move on and extend the knowledge and do better” (Box 7, folder 8, 167). Ayn Rand crosses out “that which works” (a formulation that appears to endorse pragmatism) and substitutes a more exact formulation and one that fits better the context of the person to whom he is speaking. Francisco tells Rearden that he had to choose “the best for [his] purpose, which was to make steel.”

A little further on, the purposeful line-edits continue. Originally: “You had to weigh, to judge, to stand upon your own judgment.” This formulation is crossed out, and revised to “You had to act of your own free [then “free” is crossed out] will and on your own judgment” (Box 7, folder 8, 167–68). The original version repeated “to judge” in “judgment”; the revision (although it is not retained) supplies the word “will,” which sets up the eventual basis for the moral code.

A little later, Francisco, in the draft, asks Rearden: “Why don’t you hold—as clearly and rigidly as you hold to the purpose of your mills—to the purpose of that much more precious entity which is your life?” (Box 7, folder 8, 169). Since the point of the question is consistent purposefulness, rather than the relative values of life and mills, the final version of the question reads: “Why don’t you hold to the purpose of your life as clearly and rigidly as you hold to the purpose of your mills?” (451).

Francisco asks Rearden to contrast the payment he should properly have received for Rearden Metal, and the torture he has endured instead. Rearden immediately grasps the point. Then, Francisco asks Rearden to consider the beneficiaries of the rail of the John Galt Line. What sort of men did you think of? And who has in fact benefited? The draft has the same three types of men that appear in the final text (453), but we see Ayn Rand adding, in between the lines of the manuscript pages, specific examples for the first two: “giants of productive energy” (added: “such as Ellis Wyatt,” Box 7, folder 8, 174) and “men who could not equal the power of your mind, but who would equal your moral integrity” (added: “such as Eddie Willers,” Box 7, folder 8, 175). No specific names are provided for the third group, the “whining rotters.” Then, after explaining that Rearden has been supporting his destroyers, Francisco asks Rearden the question about what one should tell Atlas to do, and gives him the answer. Rearden is suffering under his burden, and he has had overwhelming evidence of the unworthiness of those he supports. The context for the image of the struggling Atlas is more powerful now than it would have been at their first meeting.

Rearden wants to know what comes next. “You haven’t finished, have you?” (456). They are interrupted by the furnace accident. Francisco, in spite of the strike and the full context, joins Rearden in saving the furnace. After helping a scab, Francisco no longer sees this as a good time to discuss the premises of the strike.

Ayn Rand, who was dealing with the problem of saving points for Galt’s Speech, gives Francisco, within the novel, a problem that is similar in some ways to her own: Francisco needs to hold back. (After all, Rearden wanted to hear the secret that took away Ken Danagger, and he also thinks of murdering “the man who’d attempt to approach him.”) At this point, Rearden wants to hear more, but the furnace accident, after which Francisco helps Rearden save the furnace, shows Francisco that this is not a good time for either of them to discuss the abandonment of a beloved career.

Francisco continues his conquest of Rearden with a conversation about the philosophy of sex. Like the Money Speech, Francisco’s speech to Rearden about the philosophy of sex has at least two functions: Francisco educates Rearden, and the novel educates us. The reader, moreover, knows Francisco and Rearden are discussing a topic that has significant—but hidden—specific relevance. The reader knows—although the speakers do not—that both men are in love with the same woman, and that when Francisco says that a person’s sexual choices reveal the essentials of character, he is unwittingly asserting a profound similarity between himself and Rearden.

This is not a disembodied speech. It is a dramatic scene, part of the characterization. But except for subtle line-editing, Ayn Rand, in the manuscript, did not have a large number of changes to make. Without changing Francisco’s characterization, Ayn Rand improves his rhythm and syntax. In both draft and text: “They think that your body creates a desire and makes a choice for you—just about in some such way as if iron ore transformed itself into railroad rails of its own volition” (Box 7, folder 10, 163; 489). (Observe that Francisco crafts his analogy for his audience.) Then, in the text, a sentence that does not appear in the draft: “Love is blind, they say; sex is impervious to reason and mocks the power of philosophers. But, in fact, a man’s sexual choice is the result and sum of his fundamental convictions” (489). This is succinct, clear, and pertinent, and it immediately precedes the parallel pair of sentences: “Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive” and “Show me the woman he sleeps with.” The draft has a sentence in between these two, an earlier formulation of the point; this sentence is less clear, and it interrupts the rhythm. The draft version read: “Sex is the one aspect of existence which defeats all his frauds and betrays his essence, no matter how hard he tries to cheat himself about everything else, never mind what vicious mess of contradictions he professes to believe” (Box 7, folder 10, 164).

Other revisions enhance the philosophical clarity. Added in the text, after “He does not seek to gain his value, he seeks to express it” (Box 7, folder 10, 165; 490), is the sentence: “There is no conflict between the standards of his mind and the desires of his body.” In both draft and text, Francisco says that “the man who is convinced of his own worthlessness will be drawn to a woman he despises.” In the draft, he adds to the description of the despised woman, that is “the woman devoid of all those virtues which he lacks and envies” (Box 7, folder 10, 166); in the text, by contrast, Francisco gives a reason: “because she will reflect his own secret self, she will release him from that objective reality in which he is a fraud” (490), that is a perfect description of James Taggart’s “attraction” to Lillian Rearden. In the draft, says Francisco: “when he [a man] believes that flaws are values, he has damned existence as evil and only the evil will attract him—because sexual hunger is the hunger to affirm one’s enjoyment of being alive” (Box 7, folder 10, 167). In the final text, clearer and tighter: “if he believes that flaws are values, he has damned existence as evil and only the evil will attract him. He has damned himself and he will feel that depravity is all he is worthy of enjoying. He has equated virtue with pain and he will feel that vice is the only realm of pleasure” (490). In the final text, Ayn Rand sharpens the relevant contrasts.

The editing of Francisco’s philosophical conversations with Dagny follows a similar pattern. While strengthening and refining Francisco’s characterization, Ayn Rand restricts, to a necessary and appropriate extent, his divulging of the secrets, that is the philosophical premises and existential facts of Atlantis. The draft version of the country-home scene, in part 2, chapter 8, follows the usual pattern—although Ayn Rand’s notes for this scene include some paragraphs that had to be saved for Galt. Ayn Rand edited out some descriptions of Francisco, when he first sees and speaks to Dagny: “the helplessness of a released convict at his first sight of space” and “He stood looking at her incredulously, as if this were his homecoming from some long journey, as if he had not seen her for years” (Box 8, folder 7, 53 and 54). “I’ll tell you what those years did to me” (Box 8, folder 7, 59) becomes “I’ll tell you about the years when I . . .” (615), and “not to let her see the full reflection of what his pain had been like” (Box 8, folder 7, 75) becomes “not to let her see the reflection of what his years had been like” (618). All of these changes reduce the explicit invocation of Francisco’s pain (which is past) without changing the fact that he felt pain and won a victory over it.

Francisco, in the draft, utters one sentence that had to be omitted because it was inexact. “It is in the nature of the virtuous man that he is unable to understand the real nature of evil” (Box 8, folder 7, 84). Given that the following sentence is “You must learn to understand them,” the two sentences together would be an apparent contradiction. But contradictions do not exist. Francisco explains part of the truth, that is, that the looters are holding her by her virtue and strength. He withholds, however, the explanation of the death premise, that is, that the looters do not want to live, they only want the good to die. Dagny does not join the strike until she finally understands this premise, when she realizes that the villains intend to kill Galt.

She knew. She knew what they intended doing and what it was within them that made it possible. They did not think that this would succeed. They did not think that Galt would give in; they did not want him to give in. They did not think that anything could save them now; they did not want to be saved. . . . They did not want to live; they wanted him to die. . . . she grasped that the objects she had thought to be human were not (1135).

While composing the chapter “By Our Love” in 1950, Ayn Rand wrote a new note, dated August 27, 1950, depicting Francisco’s impassioned philosophical attack on the “cannibal morality,” which ties virtue to pain, and which presents moral perfection as impossible.11 This note is approximately contemporaneous with the composition of the chapter, which Ayn Rand began writing on July 29, 1950; she began the following chapter three months later, on October 24, 1950. The pages dealing with the episode, however, are paginated continuously, with no space for this passage. I surmise that Ayn Rand wrote the note after composing much of the chapter, but decided not to include it because the philosophical content reveals too much too early.

The next meeting of Dagny and Francisco takes place in her apartment, after she returns to work in response to the tunnel disaster. The draft includes a description that the text omits. In both, Dagny says: “If Taggart Transcontinental is to perish with the looters, then so am I” (Box 8, folder 9, 178; 635). In the draft: “It seemed to her that the words hit his eyes, it was the only change she saw in his face, but by the time his glance was steady and normal again, she felt certain that he had given up the things he had come here to say” (Box 8, folder 9, 178–79). In the text: “He did not take his eyes off her face and he did not answer” (635). If Ayn Rand had retained the sentence, I believe she would have changed the word “normal.” (Is Francisco’s glance ever “normal”?) The effect of the sentence, however, is to emphasize Francisco’s response to a conclusion of Dagny’s: he realizes that she is not ready to learn the full truth. Yet even though Francisco does not reveal the secret of Atlantis, he continues to attempt to persuade Dagny to check her premises.

There is an attractive stylistic improvement in one of Francisco’s remarks. In both versions, Francisco says “Dagny, we were taught that some things belong to God and others to Caesar” (Box 8, folder 9, 189; 636). In the draft, he continues: “Perhaps God would permit that, though I doubt it,” which becomes, in the text, “Perhaps their God would permit it.” The revised version is shorter, and free of the implication that there could be such a God.

The apartment scene in the draft is very close to the scene in the novel, including the dramatic conclusion, after Rearden walks in. In the draft, when Rearden warns Francisco to keep away from Dagny, he says: “I want you to learn that she is not to be thought of by you, not to be looked at, not to be approached” (Box 8, folder 9, 215). The final text, by contrast, reads as follows: “I want you to learn that you are not to think of her, not to look at her, not to approach her” (640). The active voice in the final version is more appropriate, because Rearden is concerned here more with Francisco’s action than with Dagny as object of the action—as we see in the next sentence (“Of all men, it’s you who’re not to appear in her presence”) and in Rearden’s emotion toward Francisco (“driven by a desperate anger at his own feeling for this man”).

Francisco’s remaining scenes with Dagny and Rearden take place after the revelation of the secret of Atlantis. Francisco, who has believed Dagny dead in a plane crash, finds her alive in the valley. In the description of Francisco’s embrace of Dagny in the text (764), the following passage from the draft is omitted: “His hands grasped on her waistline, holding on to her as to a last branch over an abyss” (Box 9, folder 8, 85). The description is complete, and sufficiently intense, without it.

In the draft, Francisco says that the industrial system in the outside world is “run, not by bankers, but [in the draft] by any unshaved professor in any basement beer joint” (Ayn Rand omits “humanitarian” and substitutes “professor”) (Box 9, folder 8, 96). For the text, however, she restores “humanitarian” (766). Humanitarians and professors are both bad, on the whole, but humanitarians are worse. When Francisco welcomes Dagny to his home, and says that the rebirth of d’Anconia Copper (and of the world) must start in the United States, he identifies the relevant principle, in both draft and text, as “the supremacy of reason” (Box 9, folder 8, 127; 771). In the draft only, Francisco also says that this is the “basic premise . . . of life, not death.” The point about the Morality of Death had to be saved for Galt, and was omitted.

The sequence also includes a thought of Dagny’s that was omitted in the analogous section of the novel (772). As Dagny looks at Francisco’s designs for a smelter, “she felt as if some part of her mind leaned back for an instant to observe them both and to note that their road had brought them to reverse the parts they had played on their last night together: it was she who had then spoken of her railroad and her future with an eagerly confident fire, to a man silent under the weight of a tragic conflict; now, he had reached full certainty, while she listened, guiltily torn between her enjoyment of this moment and the unsolved question mark of her own future” (Box 9, folder 8, 132). The parallel between the two scenes is not as strong as Dagny thinks it is. All things considered, in both scenes Francisco was right, and Dagny was wrong. In any event, the characterization of Francisco is the same regardless.

Back in the grim world outside Atlantis, the reunion scene of Francisco and Rearden, after Francisco saves Rearden’s life, contains some dialogue that was omitted in the text. In both, Francisco tells Rearden that he’s been working as Rearden’s furnace foreman. “I didn’t think you’d mind that. You offered me the job yourself” (Box 11, folder 2, 231; 998). In the draft, Rearden responds:

“God, how I wish you’d accepted it then!”

Francisco shook his head. “You’d have made me superintendent within a month or demanded to know the reason why.”

“Didn’t you . . . didn’t you break that reason tonight, by saving the mills?”

“It wasn’t the mills that I was saving. It was lives—our kind of lives. Those thugs had orders to spare the machinery and go after blood. They’d marked the best of your men for slaughter to eliminate future recalcitrants. Incidentally, they know that you’re more valuable to them than all the machinery put together, and they didn’t intend to harm you, at present—but this is what happens when they release a bunch of killers and expect to be able to control them.” (233)

Francisco’s view of the looters here is relatively benevolent, that is, that they want to keep Rearden alive because he is valuable. Francisco does not present the final argument—the morality of death, which is coming up in the next chapter—and Rearden does not need it, as indeed the novel does not need these paragraphs. This sequence, if included, would have answered a question a reader might have asked: isn’t Francisco breaking his oath? Ayn Rand evidently did not consider this objection important enough to deal with it, at this point.

The Francisco of the draft is fundamentally the same as the Francisco of the final text. But one type of revision, visible through the drafts, shows an interesting pattern of changes: the actions and remarks pertaining to Francisco’s masquerade. When Ayn Rand first developed Francisco’s characterization, she made him appear to be more of a liar and a cynic. His masquerade, as she originally depicted it, included more overtly, explicitly negative elements. But that would not do. Ayn Rand, in editing the drafts, eliminated some untruths.

Francisco would not typically wish to utter a direct lie. In both draft and text, Dagny asks Francisco to explain why he bought the San Sebastián mines, knowing they were worthless, knowing they would be seized. She accused him of trying to harm his American stockholders, and he agreed that he was, and that this was part of the truth. “What’s the rest?” asks Dagny.

“It was not all I was after.” “What else?” In the draft, Francisco replies:

“I was after Senorita Conception Gomez who had the most beautiful legs I’ve ever—oh, I beg your pardon! it was not Senorita Conception Gomez at all, it was the Senora Dolores Garcia—you see, that was six years ago, so it’s a little hard to remember—but it was the Senora Dolores Garcia—her legs were not the most beautiful ones I’ve ever seen—yours are—but she had beautiful shoulders [eyes crossed out]. Her husband owned those acres of vacant mountains that nobody wanted, and he was pressed for cash—so that’s how I became interested in the San Sebastiáno project. Much the more plausible explanation, isn’t it, Dagny?”

She had been unable to notice at what point the expression of his face had changed, but the look of mockery was obvious now, yet he had never moved his eyes from her; and the mockery was the more blatant because it was impossible to tell whether he was taunting her with the preposterous story or laughing at her because the story was true. (Box 5, folder 7, 600–1)

In the text, by contrast, when Dagny asks Francisco what else he was after, he replies: “That’s for you to figure out” (119).

Moments later, commenting on James Taggart and his friends, Francisco, in the draft, says “their theory was valid” (Box 5, folder 7, 607). This is not true. In the final text, he says, instead: “their theory was not new” (120). He adds in the draft, “nothing is foolproof”—which is untrue. In the text, instead, he says: “it wasn’t foolproof.”

When Dagny asks Francisco: “Why did you start that project?” he replies, in the draft:

Oh, just to do something. One has to go through the motions of being a great industrialist, once in a while. I was bored with the whole goddamn business. I didn’t care what I started, whom I hired or what they did, so long as I didn’t have to be bothered. I left it up to my employees and went on a trip around the world. It’s much more exciting to spend money than to make it. (Box 5, folder 7, 611–16)12

Not for him, it isn’t—not in reality.

In the text, instead of asserting his worthlessness, Francisco poses rhetorical questions: “But haven’t I the right to be what is now accepted as human? Should I pay for everybody’s mistakes and never be permitted one of my own?” (120).

In the draft: “If you think I did it on purpose, you still give me credit for having a purpose. But I haven’t any.” This is false. In the text: “Did you intend me to notice that if you think I did it on purpose, then you still give me credit for having a purpose?” The revised version is a question, rather than a lie.

The examples abound. In the draft: “My motive, Dagny? It’s the simplest one of all: the spur of the moment” (Box 5, folder 7, 617). This is another false statement. In the text: “You don’t think that it’s the simplest one of all—spur of the moment?” (121).

When he points out that Mrs. Vail has claimed they spent a romantic evening together in the Andes at a time when he was presiding at the opening of the San Sebastián Line in El Paso, Dagny asks him, in both draft and text, how he can explain the discrepancy. In the draft, he says: “Oh, just that charming women do not have accurate memories for dates. Mrs. Gilbert Vail is a very charming woman” (Box 5, folder 7, 625). His statement is false twice: some charming women have accurate memories, and Mrs. Vail is not a very charming woman. In the text, by contrast, he tells Dagny: “Draw your own conclusions” (122).

He continues, in the draft: “You’d appreciate Mrs. Vail if you had a sense of humor. But then, if you had a sense of humor, you’d appreciate so many things!” (Box 5, folder 7, 625). Francisco does not sound like himself here. Have we been visited by the ghost of Ellsworth Toohey, who said that nothing was sacred except a sense of humor?13 In the novel itself, of course, Francisco says nothing of the kind.

And as for the San Sebastián disaster, he comments, in the draft: “I didn’t stage it intentionally. I only wish I had. I would have broken the record of the Emperor Nero” (Box 5, folder 7, 627). But he did stage it intentionally; his denial is a lie. In the text, by contrast: “If I had staged it intentionally” (122).

He continues to misstate the truth. When Dagny asks Francisco if he knows Ellis Wyatt, he says that he does, in both draft and text, but in the text he leaves it at that. “Sure” (125). In the draft, he adds a comment: “Ellis Wyatt is a brilliant young fool” (Box 5, folder 7, 638). Brilliant, yes, but a fool? False.

This section has the highest concentration of literally false utterances converted to truths, but there are others elsewhere. For example, when Dagny asks Francisco for money to finance the John Galt Line, Francisco cries out, “My love, I can’t,” and then, to cover up, adds, in the draft, “Please excuse the mixture in styles of expression. I’ve said that to so many women, but in regard to somewhat different occasions” (Box 5, folder 7, 1099). In the text, he avoids a direct lie: he says, instead, “I’ve been supposed to say that to so many women, but on somewhat different occasions” (200).

These examples of purposeful editing-out of Francisco’s lies are a salient pattern in the drafts regarding Francisco. Perhaps the masquerade itself was hard to present. Most masquerades are designed to conceal vices; Francisco’s masquerade conceals his virtues.14 This sort of masquerade is not natural for Francisco, or for Ayn Rand. But she solved her problem. The ultimate portrait of Francisco shows his ability to create a misleading impression without lying—while also, especially with Dagny, encouraging the observer to penetrate the disguise.

Francisco, as Ayn Rand said, came in ready-made. She improved him, enhanced him, but never had to develop him in the way she developed Dagny or Rearden or Roark. And once he arrived on the page, Francisco assumed tasks Ayn Rand had not originally assigned to him. He presented two challenges unique to his characterization. As the chief recruiter, he needed to explain, in some way, the idea of the strike, yet she had to edit his philosophical conversations in order not to give away too much too soon. As a man in disguise, moreover, he is creating a false impression about himself, but she edited his remarks in order to minimize bold-faced lies. As we have seen, Ayn Rand’s revisions are purposeful. The purpose is evident—with one partial exception: The editing of the manuscript led to the omission of an entire scene in the extended flashback.

One summer night, when Dagny was thirteen, and Francisco two years older:

It was on the evening before his departure that they sat alone together in a hidden corner by the edge of the water. A rocky hill rose in a bend of the river ahead. There were long, thin strips of fire in the sky, beyond the black rock, and red sparks floating lazily on the water. Francisco pointed ahead and asked: “Dagny, if you walked around the turn of that rock, what would you expect to find there?” “Something exciting and wonderful.” He chuckled, nodding, and said: “So do I. So does everybody else. That is what people always expect to find around every corner they turn. And they’re always disappointed. But you and I won’t be. We know something they’ve never discovered. When we turn a corner, there will always be something exciting and wonderful there: we will be there.”

She laughed, lying stretched on the soft pine needles of the shore; she had no desire to turn any corner right now. He said:

“We’ll never go seeking anything. We’ll make it. Just remember that that’s the difference between us and everybody else.”

He sat half-stretched, propped up on his elbows. She put her head in the crook of his arm and lay looking peacefully up at the sky. She felt what she had never felt before: contented and lazy. She felt that only here, only with him, and under his protection, was it proper for her to let herself feel such a strange thing as rest. (Box 5, folder 7, 48–90)

Neither part of this passage—not Francisco’s remark about the wonder and excitement that the two of them represent, not Dagny’s thought about allowing herself to feel rest—appears in the corresponding section of the text (96). There are parallels, elsewhere in the novel, to Dagny’s thought. When we first meet Dagny, she is listening to a whistled musical theme: she releases the controls, and permits herself just to feel (13). Later, when she meets John Galt, she recalls this feeling without at first recognizing what it is (703).

The spirit of Francisco’s remark pervades Ayn Rand’s fiction. “When we turn a corner, there will always be something exciting and wonderful there: we will be there.” Ayn Rand refers elsewhere to the excitement to be expected around the corner. For example, Cherryl Brooks has “a look that expected the world to contain an exciting secret behind every corner” (258). “More than any other writer,” Ayn Rand said, “O. Henry represents the spirit of youth—specifically, the cardinal element of youth: the expectation of finding something wonderfully unexpected around all of life’s corners.”15 The other references, however, do not include Francisco’s explanation of the specific reason that there will always be, for him and for Dagny, something wonderful around any corner.

What is Francisco saying here? In miniature, it is the essence of The Fountainhead, the self-sufficient ego, invulnerable and uncrushable, the reverence of the noble soul for itself. We will be there. We will be what we have made of ourselves.

For the evil characters, their hell is what they have done to themselves, what they have made of themselves. For example: “The burning pressure on his temples and the faint, dizzying nausea of unreality came from the fact that he could not recapture the sense of being Dr. Robert Stadler” (1117). In view of the evil he has sanctioned and committed, Dr. Stadler is no longer there. Around every corner he will seek in vain the self he abandoned. Instead of something exciting and wonderful, instead of “the fearless mind” and “the inviolable truth” (185), he will find instead something awful, the spectacle of the mind he has betrayed.

Similarly, James Taggart, who shaped his evil self long ago and has been running from the awareness of it ever since, is destroyed by the vision, so to speak of himself. “The sight he was confronting was within him” (1145). For Taggart, beyond every corner, at the end of every blind alley—once the fog is cleared away—there is and will always be something horrible: he will be there.

The tragedy within The Fountainhead is Wynand’s realization that he has committed the unforgivable sin, treason against his own greatness.16 The fulfillment of one’s own promise, by contrast, is Rearden’s triumph. On the night of Dagny’s broadcast, when Rearden tells Dagny everything he has learned and accepted (including her use of the past tense in talking about their relationship), Dagny sees his spiritual achievement:

Looking up at his face, she realized that for the first time he was what she had always thought him intended to be: a man with an immense capacity for the enjoyment of existence. The taut look of endurance, of fiercely unadmitted pain, was gone; now, in the midst of the wreckage and of his hardest hour, his face had the serenity of pure strength; it had the look she had seen in the faces of the men in the valley. (861)

He is finally what she has thought him intended to be. Hank Rearden is there, at last.

For Ayn Rand’s heroes, from Kira with her enduring smile and her salute to the possibilities of life, to Prometheus in the act of discovering the self as the greatest treasure, to Howard Roark and the great-souled heroes of Atlas Shrugged, spiritual splendor is the reward that, at every moment and forever, will always be there. It’s what can’t be lost. Whatever the turns of the plot, whatever the setbacks and difficulties, the heroes, in the plenitude of their grandeur, will be there.

'For Ayn Rand’s heroes spiritual splendor is the reward that, at every moment and forever, will always be there.' Click To Tweet

So why did Ayn Rand remove this passage? Perhaps because Francisco’s self-praise is too abstract to be a proper expression of pride. Or perhaps because his emotional intensity, and Dagny’s response to a man’s protection, could not be vouchsafed to anyone but Galt. After that speech, how could any other man be Dagny’s final romantic choice and the novel’s greatest hero?

Whatever the reason for the omission, the serene self-confidence Francisco expresses is thoroughly justified, and dramatized throughout a colorful characterization that, as we have seen, was developed not by calculation but by inspiration, as if Ayn Rand had, always before her sight and within her mind, the spirit of Francisco, the epitome of relentless ambition, ruthless justice, elegant self-confidence, and radiant joy. Whatever the turn of the plot of Atlas Shrugged, whatever else Ayn Rand labored to accomplish in her masterpiece, there was always something exciting and wonderful there: because Francisco d’Anconia was there. Thanks to Ayn Rand, he always will be.


I conclude with a thought that addresses a question I’ve frequently encountered. People sometimes say that we need a sequel to Atlas Shrugged, in which Francisco would find a woman worthy of him. Well, I also used to feel sorry for Francisco, but not anymore. What I’m sharing with you is fantasy, not literary scholarship, but I’m no longer worried about Francisco’s happiness. The solution exists. If one wished to find a woman who would love and cherish Francisco, one would not have far to look.

This woman is already in Atlantis. She has high standards and excellent judgment where men are concerned. Although we do not learn her name, we know who she is because she looks remarkably like someone we know. She is “stretched on the sun-flooded planks” of a pier, “watching a battery of fishing rods,” with her “dark, disheveled hair and large eyes” (719).17

In addition to being the valley’s “best fishwife,” she is “the kind of writer who wouldn’t be published outside. She believes that when one deals with words, one deals with the mind” (720). She is, of course, in love with Galt, and Francisco is in love with Dagny; the dramatic development of the novel would be violated by a sudden, new relationship between Francisco and this woman. Nonetheless, the possibility exists, in the future beyond the novel, for a romantic union of Francisco and the character based on Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand is really all of her heroic characters, She is both Dagny and Galt, Dominique and Roark. But the fishwife-novelist is uniquely similar in appearance to Ayn Rand. She said, moreover, that this character was “strictly me, . . . in a Hitchcock way . . . what I call a private joke.”18 Francisco’s names, moreover, are suggestive. Three of his many names are Francisco, Carlos, and d’Anconia, which correspond to the three parts of the name of her husband, Charles Francis O’Connor, who was known as “Frank.”19 In the fullness of postfictional time, Francisco will be joyous, as always, and not alone. Ayn Rand named him after Frank, and she saved him for herself.

Reprinted from the English Language edition of Essays on Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” 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.

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  1. Biographical interviews (Ayn Rand Archives).
  2. Ayn Rand described John Galt in a note, on June 29, 1946: “No progression here (as Roark had none). He is what he is from the beginning—integrated (indivisible) and perfect. No change in him, because he has no intellectual contradiction and, therefore, no inner conflict.” For information about the characterization of John Galt, see “Who Was John Galt? The Creation of Ayn Rand’s Ultimate Ideal Man” in the current volume.
  3. The Atlas Shrugged manuscripts (three drafts, one set of galleys, and one set of proofs) are housed in the Library of Congress, where I examined them. In the first draft, which will be my major focus, each chapter is paginated separately. Because the chapter divisions in the drafts are not always the same as those in the novel, I will identify quotations from the first draft by the numbers of the box, folder, and page. The Atlas Shrugged notes, along with some isolated pages from the manuscript, are housed in the Ayn Rand Archives. All references to these notes are drawn from the original texts in the Ayn Rand Archives; I will also indicate the pages in David Harriman, ed., Journals of Ayn Rand (New York: Dutton, 1995) in which the notes are published in part.
  4. Atlas Shrugged notes, June 29, 1946; Journals of Ayn Rand, 512.
  5. Atlas Shrugged undated notes, “Main Problems” [From rewrite of chapter VI], concerning the Dagny–Francisco romance, partially reprinted in Journals of Ayn Rand, 561.
  6. Atlas Shrugged notes, June 27, 1946; Journals of Ayn Rand, 505.
  7. Eddie Willers says: “Do you know what’s strange about your face? You look as if you’ve never known pain or fear or guilt” (652). Dagny awakens in Atlantis to see “a face that bore no mark of pain or fear or guilt” (701).
  8. It is difficult to date with certainty Ayn Rand’s decision to describe a romantic relationship between Dagny and Francisco. Her notes of 1945 and 1946, which make no mention of such a relationship, list Francisco as one of the strikers, not as the “second lead.” In the first-draft manuscript (Box 5, folder 5, 271–74, in a chapter begun on March 1, 1947) and in the final text of that chapter, “The Top and the Bottom” (53), we initially learn that Dagny knows him as an industrialist who appears to have wasted his ability. The absence, at that point, of any reference to a romance obviously does not mean that there was no such relationship; we know that, in the completed novel, there was. But the subsequent first-draft references to Francisco appear to exclude (or, at any rate, to conceal) a romance. In the first draft of the same chapter (Box 5, folder 5, 297–98, corresponding to 57), James Taggart refers to Dagny’s “hero worship” of Francisco (a judgment and an emotion he does not and did not share), but does not hint at any suspicions of what Francisco and Dagny “did” together. And, as I have noted in the text of this article, the first description of Dagny’s reading of the newspaper story about Francisco (in a chapter begun on March 31, 1947) shows no indication of a romantic past; Francisco is simply another wasted value, like the rusted piece of machinery (Box 5, folder 6, 337–41). In the first draft of this passage, moreover, Ayn Rand wrote that Dagny had not seen Francisco for “three or four years”—as if Dagny might not remember exactly when she saw him for the last time. I assume, therefore, that Ayn Rand, in March and April of 1947, had not yet intended to give Francisco and Dagny a romantic past. The chapter in which she ultimately did so (Box 5, folder 7, 447–645) is undated; it is paginated relatively continuously with the preceding chapter and the following chapter, which she began writing on July 4, 1947. I assume that it was written in between the end of April and July 4. After writing this chapter, she wrote notes (also undated) for an extensive rewrite, developing in greater detail the episodes dealing with the childhood and adolescent summers of Dagny and Francisco.
  9. Biographical interviews (Ayn Rand Archives).
  10. Biographical interviews (Ayn Rand Archives). The manuscripts housed in the Library of Congress have two drafts of the chapter containing the Money Speech.
  11. Atlas Shrugged notes, August 27, 1950; Journals of Ayn Rand, 626–27.
  12. This section has, in the draft, indications of missing pages. Page 611 is only half a page, and page 616 begins: 611–15 cut. Ayn Rand wrote more passages in this vein, and removed them from the draft, as later she removed the literal lie from these as well.
  13. Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (New York: Signet, 1993), 232.
  14. Another example of an editorial change in Francisco’s masquerade is the omission, in the final version of the chapter “The Climax of the d’Anconias” of an episode, reported in the newspapers, that appears only in the draft. Dagny “read the story of the great ball in Paris and of the Countess who attempted to commit suicide; he was to escort the Countess to the ball, and he arrived at her residence as promised, but it was her maid that he took with him to the party; the maid was much the prettier of the two” (Box 5, folder 7, 578; cf. 115 in the text). Francisco, courteous under all circumstances, would not have committed this sort of rude act, even for the sake of outrageousness. The masquerade can go only so far.
  15. Ayn Rand, The Romantic Manifesto: A Philosophy of Literature (New York: Signet, 1975), 110.
  16. The Fountainhead, 663.
  17. In the notes, Galt tells Dagny that the fishwife (the writer) is in love with him, and that the outside world regards unrequited love with scorn:

    men hold love to be a supreme virtue, yet a woman who loves a man without answer is supposed to be ridiculous, she is supposed to hide her feeling as some sort of disgrace or shame, in order to protect her “pride”; or else she makes a claim and a burden upon the man out of her unrequited feeling and pursues him, half as a beggar, half as a sheriff. But here, love is what it actually is by its nature: a recognition of values and the greatest tribute one human being can give another, gratefully to be accepted, whether one returns it or not. (Atlas Shrugged notes, January 4, 1952; Journals of Ayn Rand, 636.)

  18. Biographical interviews (Ayn Rand Archives).
  19. Ayn Rand commented that she did not know the source of the name (Biographical interviews, Ayn Rand Archives). She also noted that she owed to Frank O’Connor several of Francisco’s lines, including “Brother, you asked for it!” Ayn Rand therefore asked him to write the line (with the full name: Francisco Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastian d’Anconia) in the manuscript (Box 10, folder 9, 142).
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Shoshana Milgram

Shoshana Milgram, PhD and associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, specializes in narrative fiction and film. Her scholarship includes introductions to Victor Hugo’s novels, a study of Ayn Rand’s life up to 1957, and articles on Dostoevsky, George Eliot, Nabokov, and others.