Daily Archives: August 19, 2012

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The Ridiculous Rise of Ayn Rand

Interview with CBS’s Mike Wallace, 1959.

When the literary editor of The New Republic asked me to review two new books on Ayn Rand three years ago, I readily agreed. Rand, the Russian-born writer known for her take-no-prisoners defense of capitalism, was beginning to come back into vogue among conservatives, and I recalled hearing that there was a congressman from Wisconsin who was singing her praises and assigning her writings to his staff. I had had my own flirtation with Rand, when I was 18, …

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The Long, Slow, Constant, Mindful Writing Life

When I tell people unfamiliar with academe that I am a professor, they usually respond, “So you must feel a lot of pressure, with the whole publish-or-perish thing?” Rather than explain that I am a full professor, with few carrots dangling before me and no sticks prodding me, I typically say, “It’s fine. I really enjoy writing.”

And I do. The pleasure I take in writing has been a great benefit to me professionally. (I once overheard a fellow academic mutter, “She must not sleep” regarding my…

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Introducing The Conversation

Welcome to The Conversation, The Chronicle’s new online opinion feature. Building on Brainstorm and Innovations, it includes many of the regular contributors you have seen over the years and offers new ones as well. We aim for The Conversation to be a venue for regular commentary and discussion about higher education, ideas, and academic life—like Alan Wolfe’s analysis today of Ayn Rand’s intellectual merits (or lack thereof), and Imani Perry’s essay on the perils of academic writing. We hope to…