name for their main character, and even;nthat the two novels might express similarnthemes, it is too much to believe thatnuse of the same rhetorical device could:nalso have occurred by happenstance. At-[nlas Shrugged opens with the questionn”Who is John Gait?” and the phrase re-:n;curs throughout the book. John Gaitndoes not make an appearance until the:nlast third of the novel; he is the mystery’n’man, the unseen shaper of large events.nIn The Driver, a similar motif is employed.nHenry M. Gait is introduced asna man of mystery,- whose secret graduallynunfolds. The narrator first meetsnhim on a train, where they get into a politicalndiscussion, and then he turns upnagain:n”Who is Henry M. Gait?” I askednsuddenly, addressing the questionnto the three of them collectively. Inexpected it to produce some effect,npossibly a strange effect; yetnI was surprised at their reactionsnto the sound of the name. It wasnas if I had spilled a family taboo.nUnconsciously gestures of anxietynwent around the table. For severalnminutes no one spoke, apparentlynbecause no one could think justnwhat to say.nThe same phraseology evokes a very;nsimilar emotional reaction in the open-ingnlines of Atlas Shrugged:n”Who is John Gait?”nThe light was ebbing, and EddienWillers could not distinguishnthe bum’s face. The bum had saidnit simply, without expression. But “nfrom the sunset far at the end ofnthe street, yellow glints caught hisneyes, and the eyes looked straight nat Eddie Willers, mocking andnstill—as if the question had beennaddressed to the causeless uneasinessnwithin him.nAs in Atlas Shrugged, so in ThenDriver, where Henry Gait plays the behind-the-scenesnmanipulator of greatnevents and secretly buys up Great Mid-;;nwestern stock, gradually taking control.;nAt one point he goes out into the field,;nto research his reorganization plan.:n”Three days after he set out on this er-:nrand,” writes Garrett, “we began to receivenmessages by telegraph from ournoperating officials, traffic managers,nagents and division superintendents, tonthis effect: ‘Who is Henry M. Gait?'”;-,nBoth Gaits suffer for their greatness, butntriumph in the end. The portrait ofn;Henry Gait in The Driver is one of &:n• man who carries the whole country on;n•his shoulders. Garrett describes him as:n:'”a colossus emerging from the mist,”:”nsurely an image that conjures visions of;;nAtlas holding up the world. If Ayn Rand;ndidn’t read The Driver before writing AtlasnShrugged, then this surely makes thencase for the pseudomystical concept ofnsynchronicity.nRand’s intellectual and artistic debtnto Garet Garrett is underscored by yetnanother coincidence. For it isn’t only AtlasnShrugged that contains echoes ofnGarrett’s long-forgotten novel. In Garrett’snnovel, Henry Gait has a daughter.nVera, who bears more than a passing resemblancento Dominique Francon, icengoddess of The Fountainhead. To begmnwith, here is how Rand describes the effectnof Dominique’s laughter:nThen Keating heard her laughing,nit was a sound so gay and so coldnthat he knew it was best not to gon•I in. He knew he did not want to gonin, because he was afraid again, asnhe had been when he’d seen hern:: eyes.nThe laughter of Garrett’s Vera has thensame effect on the narrator of ThenDriver:nShe leaped to her feet, evadingnme, and laughed with her headntossed back—an icy, brilliantnlaugh that made me rigid. I couldn1 not interpret it. I do not know yetnwhat it meant. Nor do I comprehendnthe astonishing gesture thatnfollowed.nTaken by itself, this juxtapositionnproves nothing; certainly it does notnprove that these two frigid women, aloofnand exulting in their own sterile free-n;dom, are anything but sisters in spiritnThe proof comes when we read a bitnfarther along in The Driver. For the “as-n;:tonishing gesture that followed” is strikinglynsimilar to a scene in The Fountainhead,nwhere Dominique throws then•priceless statue of a Greek god down annair shaft. In The Driver, Vera Gait doesnthe same thing to a costly African sculpturenfor similarly perverse reasons. As Veranmakes this dramatic gesture, she remarksnthat “So many things turn uglynnnwhen you look at them closely,” a sen- >;ntiment that easily could have been ut- •:ntered by Dominique. The official ver-;nision of the origins of Dominique, as!:n;;given by Barbara Branden, is that the;;n::character was arrived at “by introspec-;:n;tion.” “Dominique,” said Rand, “is my-;;njself in a bad mood.” But in light of Ve- rn;:ra in The Driver, this explanation hardly i;n;seems adequate. -nSo much for the authenticity of;nRand’s claim to stand not at the end but j;nat the beginning of a tradition. The:-nDriver proves that this is untrue. Thei;nonly question is whether this was a con-;nscious He on Rand’s part. Her leading::nex-disciple, the psychologist Nathaniel;;nBranden, attributes the parallels with;;nGarrett’s work to Rand’s subconscious;;;nshe was not, he asserted to me in a brief i:ninterview, the sort of person who would;;nhave been capable of appropriating;:nnames, themes, and fictional devices Lnwithout acknowledging the source. inMy own theory is that Ayn Randi.nknew perfectly well what she was doing, [•nand did not regard it as appropriating;;nanvthing, I believe Rand never ac-i;nknowledged Garrett’s role in her intel- jnlectiial evolution for two reasons. First,;;nbecause she probably considered him to I;nbe a minor writer whom she certainly indid not intend to imitate or plagiarize,;:nbut only to improve on. For her. Gar-;;nrett’s work was a take-off point, a stim-1nulus that led her to the question un”Wouldn’t it be interesting if… ?” Sec- jnondly, at the time she read The Driver—;;nperhaps soon after she arrived in the i;nUnited States, in 1926—she was far:nmore friendly to conservatives. In her;nmind, Garrett doubtless represented the!;nbest of the conservative defenders of;’ncapitalism and individualism. It was;’nonly later, after the founding of the Ran-!ndian cult, that she began to denounce;;nconservatives with special virulence, fnThere was, then, an ideological reason;;nfor withholding the information: the ne-;ncessity, as she saw it, of distancing her-1selfnfrom the conservative movement. I:nShe failed to acknowledge her intellec- i:ntual debt because Garrett was a well-;nknown figure of the Old Right, one of;;nthe hated conservatives.nGertainly there was plenty of oppor- i;ntunity for her to acknowledge Garrett’s ]nunmistakable influence. She might::nhave done so in an article where |^nshe briefly (and rather offhandedly):nanalyzes the “slick magazine” fiction;npopular before the Second World War. •;nAUGUST 1992/49:n