First written in 1937, ANTHEM was published in England, but was refused in publication in America, for reason which the reader might discover by reading it for himself. In 1946, it appeared as a pamphlet, issued by Pamphleteers, Inc., of Los Angeles. This is its first American publication in regular book form.
ANTHEM is one of the most beautiful prose poems ever written. Ruth Alexander, the great Libertarian lecturer and columnist, has said in her column that ANTHEM is "tender and terrific - the greatest novel I have ever read, and I have covered the literary water front in seven languages. You will think - you will weep - you will be inspired to new determination not to let the creeping evil of collectivism happen here." It is written with such power and sincerity and beauty that every thinking American should read it.
ANTHEM tells the story of a man who rediscovers the individualism and his own "I" - in a world of absolute collectivization, a world where sightless, joyless, selfless men exist for the sake of serving the State; where their work, their food and their mating are prescribed to them by order of the Collective's rulers in the name of society's welfare - a world which has lost all the achievements of science and civilization, when it lost their root, the independent mind, and has reverted to primitive savagery - a world where language contains no singular pronouns, where the "We" has replaced the "I," and where men are put to death for the crime of discovering and speaking the "unspeakable word."
The story tells of one man who rebelled, of his struggle and his victory. Assigned to the life work of street sweeper by the rulers who resented his brilliant, questioning, unsubmissive mind - he becomes a scientist, secretly, risking his life for the sake of his quest for knowledge. In the midst of collective stagnation, where men toil at manual labor by the light of candles - he discovers electricity. In the midst of eugenic planning and State-controlled Palaces of Mating - he discovers a personal love and a woman of his own choice. In the midst of brutal morality which proclaims that man is only a sacrificial animal to the needs of others - he discovers that man's greatest moral duty is the pursuit of his own happiness. He endures danger, denunciation, imprisonment, torture - but he breaks the chains of the Collective, he escapes with the woman he loves, to start a new life in an uncharted wilderness, and he reaches the day when he is able to predict that "my home will! become the capital of a world where each man will be free to exist for his own sake."
ANTHEM presents not merely a frightening projection of existing trends, but, more importantly, a positive answer to those trends and a weapon against them, a key to the world's moral crisis and to a new morality of individualism - a morality which, if accepted today, will save us from a future such as the one presented in this story....Continua
It's a magic book . Ryn told us something about the "future" in the old days that we have to use our imagine to think about a communist society, how the Gov't would demolish individual ...it's terrible
I guess I just love dystopian novels. This one really got me hooked from the incipit: "It is a sin to write this" - it just forces you to go on with the reading. The whole setting, the mode of writing, the unconventional first-person plural narration, the astonishing set of rules that govern a distant future Earth just bring you into another point of view, into another dark, blind society where everything is for the sake of the Brother, of the We, with no possible chance for the self to find his or her own way in life, their destiny already given to them at the turning of 15 years old. I don't want to spoil this amazing novel by telling you all the dynamics of the dystopian society created by Ayn Rand, so I'll just leave you with these hints. Don't you already want to read it?!...Continua
A very powerful story about the need for individualism. It's been a long time since I read it, but it's one of those stories that stays with you. It's a fast, easy read - and one that I will most likely read again someday.