The above quote appears in Ayn Rand's The Romantic Manifesto and demonstrates that her taste in literature was as abominable as her "sense-of-life" and her "philosophy." Rather than grapple with her sense-of-life, though, here we'd like to take on her idea that two-bit revenge fiction (Spillane's detective novels) could be somehow ranked above Tolstoy's works.
What counts as great literature, and why? How can we educate others to appreciate both literary quality and the extraordinary sense-of-life we discover in Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and even Victor Hugo (but not Rand!)? How would you compare your beloved authors to particular spaces or rooms or musical genres? Or would you use some other kind of metaphor to express their different qualities?
While the above quote reveals much more about its author than about the various authors she names, what might we say to illuminate the value and gift that our beloved authors have been to us?
Let's not distract ourselves with discussing Rand's "philosophy" - Flannery O'Connor, in a letter to her friend, playwright Maryat Lee, already said all there is to say about Rand's fiction: