- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Move over, “Atlas Shrugged.”

What its publisher is billing as a “lost novel” by writer and libertarian-objectivist icon Ayn Rand is coming to bookstores next year.

“Ideal,” a novella originally penned in 1934, is due to be published by Penguin Random House in July 2015. It would be the first new fiction from Rand’s pen to be published since 1957.

Rand, a prolific Russian-American writer of fiction and nonfiction, whose novels such as “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead” have earned her legions of fans, is known as the creator of the philosophy of Objectivism. Rand’s ideology has influenced politicians long after her death in 1982, especially libertarians and some conservatives.

Many have cited her works as important in forming them, including Rep. Paul Ryan, Sen. Rand Paul, and most recently Dave Brat, the Republican nominee for a congressional seat who beat incumbent House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor in last week’s Virginia GOP primary.

For Objectivists and fans of Rand’s work, “Ideal” is tantamount to finding a lost Shakespeare play or a previously unseen Picasso.

Unlike her more famous works, “Ideal” was only widely known among scholars who study Ms. Rand and her writing, because the author never completely finished the work and it remained unpublished in her lifetime.

“She was not satisfied with it,” Jeff Britting, curator of the Ayn Rand Archives at the Ayn Rand Institute, said. “It appears as though the novelette was unfinished business for her.”

“Ideal” follows the story of Kay Gonda, a fictional, popular 1930s actress who spends a day and a half visiting six of her most loyal fans, testing to see who among them measures up to her values. “It’s really about what a person at the top of their artistic game needs and wants in their experience of ideals and their experience of art,” Mr. Britting said.

Rand wrote the novella while she was living in Los Angeles. She continued to edit it as she moved to New York City, where her literary agent persuaded her to turn it into a play, he said.

In addition to the novella, the play script for “Ideal” will be included in the new volume. As a play, “Ideal” was never produced in Rand’s lifetime and only twice since — in Los Angeles in 1989 and in New York City in 2010.

Mr. Britting said Rand’s career became consumed by her more popular works of fiction, such as “Atlas Shrugged,” but that “she always hoped ‘Ideal’ the play would be produced in her lifetime.”

After she finished the play, the novella was left largely ignored.

“It was never really lost. It was just overshadowed,” Mr. Britting said.

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