We the Living (Presentation Copy)
New York: Random House, 1959. Second edition. First printing of this edition. Original blue publisher's cloth with title to spine. Near Fine in like dust jacket. Some toning to extremities. In unclipped jacket that is mildly toned and soiled on the edges, with slight wear at the spine ends. Inscribed by Rand to her lover Nathaniel Branden for Christmas: "To Nathan from the girl of 'purposefulness, contempt for the inconsequential, and ferocious innocence.' Ayn. December 24, 1958."
What began with a fan letter transformed into a decades-long affair for Nathaniel Branden and Ayn Rand. In Branden, Rand saw a kind of philosophical soul mate -- an individual who believed in Objectivism and was committed to educating others about it. The couple's affair, which was well-known to both of their spouses though hidden from the general public, was indeed modeled on the philosophy. For Rand and Branden, they considered it the perfect exercise of non-conformity and self-satisfaction. For his role in her personal and professional development, Rand even included Branden's name in the dedication of her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged.
Ayn Rand's first novel, set in Soviet Russia a decade after her own escape from its borders to America. "The immigrant Rand was startled by the failure of American intellectuals and politicians to uphold the American ideals of individualism and freedom, and she was horrified by widespread acceptance, even sympathy, that greeted the rise of communism, socialism, and fascism in Europe. Rand resolved to expose the 'noble ideal' of collectivism through the story of three young people whose lives are sacrificed by an all-powerful state...The first printing of 3,000 copies sold out, but the book went out of print due to a publisher's error. An edition revised by Rand would not be released until 1959, following the success of Atlas Shrugged" (Rand Institute).
Christie's lot 184 (sale 8343). Provenance: From the private collection of Jay T. Snider Near Fine in Near Fine dust jacket. (Item #2755)