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393 In the years since the publication of Russian Radical and the two studies included here in the second edition of this book—my essays “The Rand Transcript” and “The Rand Transcript, Revisited”—not a single dissenting commentary appeared on the subject of Rand’s education,1 until a 2012 published essay by Shoshana Milgram, Rand’s newest “authorized” biographer.2 In “The Education of Kira Argounova and Leo Kovalensky,” which constitutes chapter 4 of the expanded second edition of Robert Mayhew’s edited collection Essays on Ayn Rand’s “We the Living” (Mayhew 2012), Milgram (2012) focuses on the education received at Petrograd State University by two central characters in Rand’s first novel, We the Living.3 Many of the characters and events depicted in the novel were drawn from Rand’s personal experiences in the early days of Soviet communism; in the foreword to the 1959 edition of We the Living, Rand explains that the book “is as near to an autobiography as I will ever write” (We the Living, xviii). In many ways, Milgram’s essay constitutes a simple thought experiment. She proposes various hypotheses about Rand’s education as alternatives to those offered by me—and by Rand herself—and thinks through some of the consequences. In my view, the experiment is unsuccessful. It should be noted that Milgram largely confirms my findings. She points out, for instance, that the list of Rand’s university courses that I provide “correspond[s] to what can be found in the Ayn Rand Special Collections at the Ayn Rand Archives” (2012, 108n23).4 She states, Chris Matthew Sciabarra has written two articles about the transcripts, the first based on a transcript that supplied only the names of courses, and the second incorporating information from additional transcripts [both of which now appear herein in the second expanded edition of Russian Radical—CMS]. . . . He had previously written about Ayn Rand’s education in Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical . . . which contained information about [Professor Nicholas Onufrievich] Lossk[y]5 and speculations about his contact with, and impact on, the young Ayn Rand. His articles itemize the courses listed on the transcript; appendix iii a challenge to russian radical—and ayn rand (2013) 394 ayn rand his articles and book offer information about the curriculum and the faculty, and attempt to explain the discrepancies between the information in Ayn Rand’s anecdote and the facts about Lossk[y]. His work refers to important sources of information about Russian universities (including Russka filosof, which provides information about the professors, the courses, and sometimes even the times and locations of classes and of the professors’ office hours) and about . . . Lossk[y]­ (including his . . . memoirs, some of his philosophical writings, and Bibliographie des oeuvres de Nicolas Lossky, established by his sons B. and N. Lossky . . .). Sciabarra was also in contact with Lossk[y]’s family and with [Helene] Sikorski, the sister of Vladimir Nabokov and of Ayn Rand’s childhood friend, Olga. (108 n. 23) Milgram also mentions several of the professors whom I posited as possibly having been among Rand’s teachers, including N. A. Gredeskul, E. V. Tarle, Nikolai Ivanovich Kareev, and Lev Platonovich Karsavin (86). She quotes Rand as saying that many teachers “‘lectured from their own textbooks,’” and that many of them were “‘very good professors,’” but she provides no concrete evidence to confirm that Rand “attended mostly the seminars, not the lectures, and ‘took all the examinations from the textbooks ’” (89). She does confirm, however, Rand’s accurate recollection of the required number of “Soviet subjects” she was compelled to take (94–95). Milgram argues, however, that “[s]ome of [Sciabarra’s] conclusions are problematic” and that “the information needs to be checked for accuracy” (108 n. 23). Among the “problematic” conclusions that Milgram finds is my statement that the university courses that Rand attended were graded “passfail ” during the period in question.6 She admits that my 2005 essay provides an analysis of a more detailed transcript, which includes differential grades of “satisfactory” or “very satisfactory” or “studied” or “received credit for” or “fulfilled the requirements of” the examinations and/or courses Rand took (109 n. 23). But she tells us that Rand had never claimed to have graduated “with the highest honors,” and that this claim, found only in Barbara Branden’s 1986 biography, The Passion of Ayn Rand, is itself undocumented. It appears nowhere in any of the original 1960–61 biographical interviews conducted by Nathaniel Branden...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780271061214
Related ISBN
9780271062273
MARC Record
OCLC
860712160
Pages
496
Launched on MUSE
2013-11-04
Language
English
Open Access
No
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