Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Unpublished Atlas Shrugged Scene

It was on the evening before his departure, that they sat alone together, in a hidden corner, by the edge of the water. A rocky hill rose in a bend at the river ahead. There were long, thin strips of fire in the sky beyond the black rock--and red sparks floating lazily on the water.

Francisco pointed ahead and asked, "Dagny, if you walked around the turn of that rock, what would you expect to find there?"

Dagny said, "Something exciting and wonderful."

He chuckled, nodding, and said, "So do I. So does everybody else. That is what people always expect to find around every corner they turn. And they're always disappointed. But you and I won't be. We know something they've never discovered. When we turn a corner, there will always be something exciting and wonderful there: we will be there."

Dagny laughed, lying stretched on the soft, pine needles of the shore. She had no desire to turn any corner right now.

He said, "We'll never go seeking anything. We'll make it. Just remember that that's the difference between us and everybody else."

He sat, half-stretched, propped up on his elbows. She put her head in the crook of his arm and lay looking peacefully up at the sky. She felt what she had never felt before: contented and lazy. She felt that only here, only with him and under his protection, was it proper for her to let herself feel such a strange thing as rest.

--a young Francisco d'Anconia and Dagny Taggart, in a written but unpublished scene from Atlas Shrugged.


  1. Ah, good question.

    I was going to save that for the next post but I'll go ahead and say this is from a lecture called "The Spirit of Francisco" by Shoshana Milgram.

    Thanks to ARI, the lecture is available for free online.

    This coming Thursday I'll post another excerpt from the lecture--one where Milgram looks at different characters in Atlas from this "around the corner" perspective.

  2. Thank you, Daniel, for pointing this out. I just listened to Shoshana's lecture and it was thrilling and fascinating.

    And her comment at the very end, about her speculation of who the character of Francisco was named after and who there was in Atlantis for him at the end... wow.

    Thanks. I don't know that I would have stumbled upon this lecture without your link and transcription of the above scene.

  3. Glad you found it thrilling--and am happy you took the time to say so! I enjoyed the comment about who Francisco is likely to end up with in Atlantis also.

    By the way, though there's some repetition, there is a free lecture by Milgram at the site linked to which talks about the writing and re-writing of Atlas. Worth a listen.

    If only there were some quality lectures like this available online for Victor Hugo's The Man Who Laughs!