"EXPECTING YOU TO BECOME A MIDAS MULLIGAN WITH A (SPIRITUAL) GUN ON EACH HIP": PREPUBLICATION PRESENTATION FIRST EDITION OF ATLAS SHRUGGED, INSCRIBED BY AYN RAND TO HARRY KALBERMAN, NATHANIEL BRANDEN'S BROTHER-IN-LAW AND MEMBER OF RAND'S INNER CIRCLE, WITH THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE INSCRIPTION DATE
RAND, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Random House, (1957). Thick octavo, original green cloth, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.
First edition of one of the most popular and influential novels of the last 50 years, prepublication presentation-association copy inscribed by the author to Harry Kalberman, brother-in-law of Rand's romantic partner, "To Harry—expecting you to become a Midas Mulligan with a (spiritual) gun on each hip. Ayn, August 15, 1957"—the earliest possible inscription date—in scarce original dust jacket.
"From 1943 until its publication in 1957, [Rand] worked on the book that many say is her masterpiece, Atlas Shrugged. This novel describes how a genius named John Galt grows weary of supporting a society of ungrateful parasites and one day simply shrugs and walks away. He becomes an inspiration to like-minded men and women, all of whom eventually follow his example, until society, in its agony, calls them back to responsibility and respect. Again [as with Rand's novel The Fountainhead in 1943] reviews were unsympathetic, and again people bought the book" (ANB). By 1984 more than five million copies of Atlas Shrugged had been sold, and in a 1991 Library of Congress survey Americans named it second only to the Bible as the book that had most influenced their lives. First printing, in first-issue dust jacket. Perinn A4a. This copy is inscribed to Harry Kalberman, a Merrill Lynch account executive and brother-in-law of Rand's lover, psychotherapist Nathaniel Branden. Kalberman was a member of Rand's inner circle, "the collective"—so called "because the term was so absurdly the opposite of what [they] represented." Its members gathered around Rand in response to the publication of The Fountainhead (1943), and "because of the group's questions about Atlas Shrugged… Ayn allowed them to read Atlas in manuscript… All were concerned with the application of the ideas of Atlas to their respective professions or fields" (Branden, 254). Kalberman's wife Elayne [nee Blumenthal], another member, managed subscriptions for The Ayn Rand Letter and circulation for The Objectivist Newsletter. Elayne and Harry named their daughter Kira after the heroine of Rand's We the Living. Rand's inscription here is of particular interest. It not only refers to one of the novel's characters, but bears the same date as the dedication copy (inscribed to Nathaniel Branden), a date over two months prior to publication. This copy is one of only a few with this earliest date (as few as perhaps four—in addition to the dedication copy, one copy inscribed to Barbara Branden and one to Elayne Kalberman also bear this date).
Book very nearly fine, with traces of tape residue to endpapers, light creasing to spine, minor soiling to edges. Light wear to extremities of unrestored dust jacket, with a half-inch closed tear to bottom edge of front panel. An exceptional presentation copy, most desirable with one of the earliest inscriptions of this title from Rand.