9781501313110

How Bad Writing Destroyed the World Ayn Rand and the Literary Origins of the Financial Crisis

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781501313110

  • ISBN10:

    1501313118

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 10/6/2016
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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Summary

Literature can be used to disseminate ideas with devastating real-life consequences. In How Bad Writing Destroyed the World, Adam Weiner spans decades and continents to reveal the surprising connections between the 2008-2009 financial crisis and a relatively unknown nineteenth-century Russian author.

A congressional investigation placed the blame for the financial crisis on Alan Greenspan and his deregulatory policies-his attempts, in essence, to put Ayn Rand's Objectivism into practice. Though developed most famously in Rand's Atlas Shrugged, Objectivism sprouted from the Rational Egoism of Nikolai Chernyshevsky's What Is to be Done? (1863), an enormously influential Russian novel decried by the likes of Fyodor Dostoevsky and Vladimir Nabokov for its destructive radical ethics. In tracing the origins of Greenspan's ruinous ideology, How Bad Writing Destroyed the World combines literary and intellectual history to uncover the danger of hawking “the virtues of selfishness,” even in fiction.

Author Biography

Adam Weiner is Associate Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature at Wellesley College, USA. He is the author of By Authors Possessed: The Demonic Novel in Russia (2000).

Table of Contents

Introduction: On the Dubious Virtue of Selfishness
Chapter One: Radical Dostoevsky
Chapter Two: The Most Atrocious Work of Russian Literature
Chapter Three: Dostoevsky Reborn
Chapter Four: Life Imitating Art
Chapter Five: The Book of Great Anger
Chapter Six: The End of Nechaev
Chapter Seven: Chernyshevsky in the Revolution
Chapter Eight: A Literary Exorcism Attempted
Chapter Nine: In the Graveyard of Bad Ideas
Conclusion: Leaving Utopia
Bibliography
Index

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