Every utopian text draws, if only a little, from Sir Thomas More’s classic original. Utopia, published in the 16th century at the bloom of English Humanism, criticizes the existing social, political, and religious order in Europe from the viewpoint of an imaginary perfect society based on reason.
Anthem, Ayn Rand’s 1938 novella, served as a basis for her further publications. A parable of Objectivist philosophy, it presents the ideology and the basic plot of Atlas Shrugged in a nutshell.
In her first critically acclaimed novel, The Fountainhead, Rand’s hero Howard Roark explores and celebrates the morality of individualism and egoism in the world of architecture. The novel, published in 1943, ensured Rand’s principle of Objectivism a cult following.
We the Living was Rand’s semi-autobiographical first novel, published in 1936. Begun only four years after her arrival in the United States, it is Rand’s fulfillment of a promise given to the friends she left behind that she would tell the world about Russia’s slow death. Kira, the young woman in the story and Rand’s alter ego, struggles for love and survival under the communist regime.
The Virtue of Selfishness, Rand’s 1964 non-fictional publication consisting of several of her theoretical essays, spells out her philosophical principles from selfishness and ethics to purpose and morality, as described in her novels.
Another writer who dared to make a business entrepreneur his fictional hero in the 1950s was Cameron Hawley. His 1952 novel, Executive Suite, tells the story of a man’s struggle to maintain a major company after the CEO’s sudden death.