Anthem

Legacy

Adaptations

Following the release of Anthem in the United States, Rand explored opportunities for having it adapted to other media. She had discussions about potential film, opera, and ballet adaptations, but these projects were never realized.[14] In 1950, a radio adaptation was done for The Freedom Story, a weekly radio program produced by Spiritual Mobilization, a Christian libertarian group.[15]

In 2011, Anthem was adapted into a graphic novel by Charles Santino, with artwork by Joe Staton.[16]

The book was adapted into a stage play in 2013 by Jeff Britting, the department manager of the Ayn Rand Archives at the Ayn Rand Institute. First performed in Denver, it opened Off-Broadway in September 2013 at the Jerome Robbins Theater. The New York Times review stated, "For a play that celebrates the individual, Anthem sure doesn’t trust its audience. Instead of illustrating ideas, this sporadically interesting show too often delivers exposition, desperate to overexplain rather than risk a moment of misunderstanding."[17]

The novella inspired a spoof rock musical, premiering Off-Broadway at the Lynn Redgrave Theatre in May 2014. The cast included Randy Jones of The Village People, Jason Gotay, Jenna Leigh Green, Remy Zaken, and Ashley Kate Adams.[18] The review in The New York Times criticized the acting of the leads, but called the show "exuberant" and better than a straight adaptation.[19]

Influence

The work has inspired many musical pieces, including full-length albums. According to Enzo Stuarti, Pat Boone composed the music and his friend Frank Lovejoy wrote the lyrics of the song "Prelude", featured in the album Stuarti Arrives at Carnegie Hall. The song begins with a line right out of Anthem. In another point of the song it reads: "...I guard my treasures: my thought, my will, my land, and my freedom. And the greatest of these is freedom." In Anthem, it reads: "...I guard my treasures: my thought, my will, my land, my freedom. And the greatest of these is freedom." A memo to Rand dated May 4, 1964, mentions the unauthorized adaptation, but there is no indication that she took any legal action.[20]

Robert Silverberg's 1971 novel A Time of Changes also depicts a society where I is a forbidden word and where the protagonist rebels against this prohibition. In a 2009 preface to a reprint edition of his novel, Silverberg said he had read Anthem in 1953, but had long forgotten it when he wrote A Time of Changes. He was surprised to see the similarities when he rediscovered Rand's story, but said overall the two books are very different.[21]

Anthem is also credited by Neil Peart for influencing Rush's "2112" with strong parallels to the plot, structure, and theme of Anthem. Peart has said that although he had read Anthem, he was not consciously thinking of the story when he wrote the song; however when the similarities were pointed out, he realized that there must have been some unconscious influence, and gave credit to "the genius of Ayn Rand" in the liner notes. The band also released a song called "Anthem", and their Canadian record label (co-founded by Rush manager Ray Danniels) is Anthem Records.

Reviewer James Bowls noted a similarity between the opening scene of "Anthem", where the protagonist sits alone in a tunnel and writes down his feeling of rebellion against the collectivist society into which he was born, and Ursula K. Le Guin's short story "The Author of the Acacia Seeds" in which a literate, individualist ant similarly sits alone in a disused side tunnel and writes on acacia seeds a manifesto of outright rebellion against its anthill society (literally such in this case): "The similarity is striking, even though Le Guin's brand of Libertarianism is very distant from Rand's."[22]


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