First Things has a list of notes that Ayn Rand made in the margins of her copy of C.S. Lewis’ fantastic The Abolition of Man. Needless to say, they’re not pretty:
Ayn Rand was no fan of C.S. Lewis. She called the famous apologist an “abysmal bastard,” a “monstrosity,” a “cheap, awful, miserable, touchy, social-metaphysical mediocrity,” a “pickpocket of concepts,” and a “God-damn, beaten mystic.” (I suspect Lewis would have particularly relished the last of these.)
These insults and more can be found in her marginal notes on a copy of Lewis’ Abolition of Man, as printed in Ayn Rand’s Marginalia: Her critical comments on the writings of over 20 authors, edited by Robert Mayhew.
Most of us have probably scrawled a hostile insult or two on books by authors we don’t like. But Rand’s notes, which First Things goes on to list, have to be some of the most vitriolic ever recorded in the history of paginated margins. Each one screams with a visceral hatred of authority, and particularly religious authority. It’s a timely reminder that, while Rand had some good ideas, her overall thought is extremely hostile to traditional conservatism.
The next time you reach for Atlas Shrugged, pick up Lewis’ That Hideous Strength instead.
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