September 02, 2009

Who was John Galt? Zinovy Rosenbaum, the Father of Ayn Rand.

Who was John Galt? John Galt is the fictional representation of Zinovy Zacharovich Rosenbaum (born in Breslitovsk, Russia on November 18, 1869), the father of Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum, who later became known as Ayn Rand.

Rand was born Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum in 1905, into a middle-class family living in Saint Petersburg, Russia. She was the eldest of the three daughters (Alisa, Natasha, and Nora) of Zinovy Zacharovich (Z.Z.) Rosenbaum and Anna Borisovna Rosenbaum, largely non-observant Jews. Her father was a chemist and a successful pharmaceutical entrepreneur.

In 1917, Rand was twelve at the time of the Russian revolution. Opposed to the Tsar, Rand's sympathies were with Alexander Kerensky. Rand's family life was disrupted by the rise of the Bolshevik party. Her father's pharmacy was confiscated by the Soviets, and the family temporarily fled to the Crimea. At sixteen, Rand returned with her family to Saint Petersburg.

She enrolled at the University of Petrograd, where she studied in the department of social pedagogy, majoring in history. Her formal study of philosophy amounted to only a few courses, and her study of key figures was limited to excerpts and summaries.

As a "non-proletarian," Rand was "purged" from the university shortly before completing. However, bowing to pressure from foreign intellectuals, the communists relented and allowed many of the expelled students to complete their work and graduate, which Rand did in 1924. She subsequently studied for a year at the State Technicum for Screen Arts.

Ayn Rand's essential life story is about the mobs who took away her father's business and subjected her family to unexpected hardships. In her fiction, her villians are the mob, and her heroes are substitute father figures, who were smart enough and brave enough to beat the unruly crowds at their own game. There are no children in her novels, since they were extraneous to the key story of her and her father.

John Galt is Ayn Rand's literary portrait of the father she wished she had.

Who was John Galt? He was Zinovy Rosenbaum, the father of Alisa Rosenbaum.


Troy Fallin said...

Very interesting as I am an admirer of Ayn Rand.
My main fault is that I don't understand her well enough. L.T. Fallin

Ward44 said...

Amateur psychology. "John Galt" no doubt had the heroic elements of what she saw in her father, but her fictional hero was still an abstraction of all that she considered heroic in man; from her father through all men in history. Too easy an answer...

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