Shoshana Milgram Knapp, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
In 1936, the Russian-American novelist Ayn Rand received a fan letter from a successful British novelist, Lady Ethel Boileau. Boileau had just read Ayn Rand’s _We the Living,_ and wrote: “it has made a very special appeal to me not only for the quality as a picture of human life and character but because of the leitmotiv which underlies the story. I could never believe in Soviet Russia because it took away from men all that makes life of value and significance—freedom and the gift of personal choice.” Ayn Rand then read a novel by her new friend, _Clansmen_, which had just been published in the U.S. She was impressed: “Your book makes me believe that Scotland is a country of strong individuals. . . I must mention that I got a somewhat fiendish delight out of your presentation of London `parlor-pinks.’ I actually gloated over the brilliant questions which `Alan’ asks `Imogen—questions which are so much to the point and which no Communist can ever answer.” The friendship continued for years. A newspaper description of Boileau‘s visit to New York in 1938 reports on a lunch with President and Mrs. Roosevelt at Hyde Park, dinner with Mrs. Chester Arthur, and a cocktail party given by Ayn Rand at Town Hall. The two had much in common in their political views and in the seriousness and passion of their literary ambitions.
No extended abstract or paper available
Presented in Session 224. American Individualist Women Writers and the Question of Europe