Blogs > Liberty and Power > Isabel Paterson Rides Again

Sep 9, 2005 6:31 pm


Isabel Paterson Rides Again



[cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]

I'm excited to learn that Isabel Paterson's 1933 novel Never Ask the End has recently been republished.

Paterson is one of the crucial figures in 20th-century libertarianism (see her fascinating political treatise God of the Machine, Stephen Cox's excellent bio The Woman and the Dynamo, and various informational articles here, here, here, here, and here), but there’s nothing especially libertarian about this novel. While libertarian themes sometimes surface in her novels, Paterson wasn’t a"political novelist"; although she was Ayn Rand's chief mentor, her novels have more in common with, say, To the Lighthouse than with Atlas Shrugged.

What's important is that Paterson was a good novelist, one whose work deserves to be rescued from obscurity. Never Ask the End, the gracious and haunting semi-autobiographical story of the entangled fates of three American expatriates in interwar Europe, is one of her best. (How does it end? Never ask.)

Here's hoping that more Paterson reprintings will follow!

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