The rest are no concern of mine; it is not me or The Fountainhead that they will betray: it is their own souls. AYN RAND New York, May CONTENTS PART . By DR. MICHAEL S. BERLINER, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute The Fountainhead, published in , was Ayn Rand's first great success. Yet apart from the man- sought, is not to be found, and perhaps, also, is not to -- AYN RAND March 10, Part One: PETER KEATING 1.
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Many people have asked me how I feel about the fact that The Fountainhead has been in print for twenty-five years. I cannot say that I feel anything in particular. For further information on Ayn Rand and The Fountainhead, check out the CliffsNotes Resource Center. CliffsNotes provides the following icons to highlight . The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Penguin, Xiii, pages. Reviewed by David W. Gill ronaldweinland.info I am not drawn to reading novels but when I.
Petersburg to a prosperous Jewish family. When the Bolsheviks requisitioned the pharmacy owned by her father, Fronz, the Rosenbaums fled to the Crimea. Alisa returned to the city renamed Leningrad to attend the university, but in relatives who had already settled in America offered her the chance of joining them there. With money from the sale of her mother's jewelry, Alisa bought a ticket to New York. On arrival at Ellis Island, she changed into Ayn after a name of some Finnish author, probably "Aino" Rand which she said was an abbreviation of her Russian surname. She moved swiftly to Hollywood, where she learned English, worked in the RKO wardrobe department and as an extra, and wrote through the night on screenplays and novels.
She entered the State Institute for Cinema Arts in to study screenwriting, as a step to becoming a novelist. Immigration to the United States In late , Ayn Rand obtained permission to leave the Soviet Union for a visit to relatives in the United States, on the pretext of learning the American film business.
After six months with relatives in Life and Background of the Author 3 Chicago, she moved to Hollywood to pursue a career as a screenwriter. On her second day there, she had a chance meeting with her favorite American director, Cecil B. DeMille, who took her to the set of his epic film, The King of Kings, and gave her a job, first as an extra, then as a script reader. Career Highlights After struggling for several years at various non-writing jobs, including one in the wardrobe department at the RKO film studio, Rand sold her first screenplay, Red Pawn, to Universal Studios in In the same year, Rand saw her first stage play, Night of January 16th, produced in Hollywood and then on Broadway.
Her first novel, We the Living, was completed in In , Rand devoted a few weeks to write her novella, Anthem, which was soon published in England but was not published in the United States until , ten years later. Although positively reviewed, neither We the Living nor Anthem garnered high sales. Not until the publication of The Fountainhead did Ayn Rand achieve fame. Rand began writing The Fountainhead in , taking seven years to complete the book.
Although published in , The Fountainhead made history by becoming a bestseller two years later, through word-of-mouth, and it gained for its author lasting recognition as a champion of individualism. Ayn Rand returned to Hollywood in late to write the screenplay for The Fountainhead, but war-time restrictions delayed production until In , Rand moved permanently back to New York City and devoted herself fulltime to the completion of the novel Atlas Shrugged.
Despite extremely negative reviews, Atlas Shrugged quickly became a best-seller. For the remaining years of her life, Rand devoted herself to nonfiction writing, penning and editing a number of articles for her periodicals. These articles later appeared in numerous philosophic collections, including ethics The Virtue of Selfishness , politics Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal , aesthetics The Romantic Manifesto , and the theory of knowledge Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.
At the time of her death in , Rand was working on a television miniseries of Atlas Shrugged. A controversial novelist and philosopher—especially in academic circles—Ayn Rand attained widespread recognition, as indicated by a survey placing Atlas Shrugged as second only to the Bible as the most influential book among American readers. Having grown up in the totalitarian dictatorship of the Soviet Union, holding an impassioned belief in political freedom and the rights of the individual, Ayn Rand wrote The Fountainhead as a tribute to the creative freethinker.
Its hero, Howard Roark, is an innovative architect, a man whose brilliant and radically new designs are not understood and are rejected by the majority of society. Roark, like many inventors and creative thinkers of history, struggles to win acceptance for his ideas against the tradition-bound masses, who follow established norms and are fearful of change.
The book is about the conflict between those who think for themselves and those who allow others to dominate their lives. According to Ayn Rand, the goal of her writing is the presentation of an ideal man. Howard Roark is the first such figure in her novels. His independence, his commitment to his own rational thinking, and his integrity mark him as a distinctive Ayn Rand hero. Ayn Rand presents her heroes as ends in themselves, inviting her readers to simply witness and savor the sight of human greatness.
Which, incidentally, is the greatest value I could ever offer a reader. She points out that, as a benign secondary consequence, a reader witnessing the life of Howard Roark may be inspired to seek his own heroic achievements. Roark, as a freethinking individual, is opposed by sundry collectivists—some who believe that a person should conform to others, some Introduction to the Novel 7 who believe that a person should rebel against others, and some who believe that, politically, we should have a Fascist or Communist dictatorship in which the individual is utterly subordinate to the will of the people.
Regarding this aspect of the book, Rand sets her hero against various collectivist ideas that existed—and to some degree continue to exist—in the United States. The obvious example of collectivism in The Fountainhead is the political one. He holds that an individual has no value in himself but exists solely to serve his brothers. As Ayn Rand wrote the novel, in the s, collectivism was rapidly engulfing the world. First the Communists took over her native Russia, then the Fascists came to power in Italy, then Hitler and the National Socialists took political control of Germany.
On September 1, , Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, as allies, invaded Poland, plunging mankind into the most destructive war of its history. In the early s, collectivism appeared to be on the threshold of military conquest of large portions of the globe. Before the war, there was ideological support in the United States for both the Communists and the Nazis; even after the war, support among the intellectuals continued for Communism and does to this day. Ayn Rand wrote The Fountainhead, at one level, as a fervent warning to her fellow man of the unmitigated horrors of collectivism, whether of the Nazi, Fascist, or Communist variety; the evils that result in concentration camps; the extermination of millions of innocent victims; and the precipitation of world war.
Ayn Rand witnessed these horrors firsthand in Europe; she wrote The Fountainhead, in part, to prevent their recurrence in America. But The Fountainhead is not fundamentally about politics. The book warns against a more subtle manifestation of collectivism, one that underlies the political danger and makes that danger possible.
Although all human beings have minds, many people choose not to use theirs, looking instead to others for guidance. Many people prefer to be led in their personal lives by an authority figure—be it parents, teachers, clergymen, or others.
Those who prefer to be led by authority figures are conformists, refusing the responsibility of thought and self-directed motivation, taking the path of least resistance in life. The picture is frightening. Keating, in many ways an average American status seeker, desires acclaim from others. In exchange for social approval, he is willing to sacrifice any and all of his personal convictions. Ayn Rand shows that conformity, a widespread phenomenon in contemporary American society, is one of the underlying causes of collectivist dictatorship.
In The Fountainhead, Rand also shows that nonconformity, often thought to be the opposite of blind obedience, is merely a variation on the same theme. In a variety of minor characters Lois Cook, Ike the Genius, Gus Webb , all devotees of Toohey, Rand demonstrates the essence of nonconformity: an unthinking rebellion against the values and convictions of others. The nonconformist, too, places the beliefs of others first, before his own thinking; he merely reacts against them, instead of following them.
It is no accident that Ayn Rand shows these rebels as followers of Toohey, because nonconformists, placing others first, always cluster into private enclaves that inevitably demand rigid obedience to their own set of rules. Nonconformists value freethinking no more than does the herd of conformists. The nonconformist characters of the novel are fictional examples of historical movements of the early twentieth century.
They are predominantly writers and artists who rebel against grammar, coherent sentences, and representational art in the same way that the surrealists, expressionists, and Dadaists did in actual fact. This band of real-life rebels, not surprisingly, centered in Weimar, Germany, in the s. Outwardly, some opposed Hitler. But at a deeper level, their blind rebelliousness against others and their slavish conformity to their own little subgroup fostered a herd mentality similar to that of the conformists.
The nonconformists, too, were part of the culture that spawned the Nazis. The issue of conformity in the story relates to another real-life movement of the time. The Fountainhead takes place in America in the s and s. Roark and his mentor, Henry Cameron, are early designers of the modern style. Although the book is not historical fiction, and the lives of Cameron and Roark are not based on the lives of Introduction to the Novel 9 real-life individuals, their struggles parallel the battles waged by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.
In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, the architectural style that still dominated American building was Classical. American architects largely copied Greek and Roman designs or those of other historical periods such as the Renaissance. Louis Sullivan — was one of the first to build in what became known as the modern style.
Generally held to be the father of modern architecture and, in particular, of the skyscraper, Sullivan waged a long battle for his ideas against conventional standards. Cameron and Roark, in the novel, struggle against characters like the Dean of Stanton Institute, who believes that all the great ideas in architecture have been discovered already by the designers of the past, and that contemporary architects are simply to copy those ideas. Sullivan and Wright, in real life, battled against similar instances of conformity.
In her previous novels, Ayn Rand had also glorified the heroism of the freethinking human mind, although in different forms. Her first novel, We the Living, published in , tells the story of three individuals who dare to think for themselves in the Communist dictatorship of Soviet Russia.
Its heroine, Kira Arguonova, is similar to the author; she is an independently thinking young woman, fiercely opposed to the totalitarian state in which she exists. But Kira desires to be an engineer in a society in which neither her bourgeois background nor her freethinking mind is welcome.
Despite being an outstanding student, she is expelled from engineering school. The story focuses on her relationships with two men—Leo Kovalensky, the aristocrat whom she loves, and Andrei Taganov, the Communist who loves her. Leo is a brilliant young scholar, but his aristocratic family and individualistic views leave him no future in the Soviet Union.
We the Living shows the fate of freethinking men and women in a totalitarian state. Her second book, the novella, Anthem, published in , also takes place in a collectivist dictatorship—but in an unspecified future. With independent thought stifled, this society has lost all technological progress and reverted to a primitive condition.
The hero reinvents the electric light, but is condemned to death for the crime of thinking for himself. In both love and work, he thinks independently, refusing to obey, unwilling to surrender the things most precious to him. Ayn Rand shows in Anthem that all the values that make human life valuable and joyous come from the individual, not from society.
In both We the Living and Anthem, the independent heroes are pitted against a collectivist dictatorship; in both books the theme is political, emphasizing the necessity of freedom for human progress and happiness. But the theme in The Fountainhead is deeper and more complex. It is psychological and epistemological. It concerns the way in which individuals choose to use their minds—whether they think and value independently or whether they allow their lives to be dominated, in one form or another, by the beliefs of others.
The story of innovative architect Howard Roark, and his lifelong battle against a society committed to traditional forms of design, The Fountainhead glorifies the great original thinkers of history. It shows what happens when the thinkers go on strike—when the Howard Roark types, the inventors, scientists, and men of independent judgment— refuse to practice their professions in a world that expects them to comply.
Introduction to the Novel 11 The history of The Fountainhead is like an example of its own theme. It was rejected by twelve publishers. Some thought that it was too intellectual, that there was no market for such a book among a reading public that was interested only in stories of physical action.
Others rejected it because it glorified individualism and repudiated the collectivist ideals so popular among modern intellectuals. But Ayn Rand refused to alter her story or dilute her theme.
Finally, the book was read by Archibald Ogden, an editor at Bobbs-Merrill. Like an independent-minded Ayn Rand hero, Ogden loved the book and fought for it against dissenting thought in the company. Despite the opposition, Ogden staked his career on this book. It was published in and made history several years later by becoming a best-seller through word of mouth.
To this day, it sells well over a hundred thousand copies every year. A poll conducted jointly in by the Library of Congress and the Book-of-the-Month Club showed that Atlas Shrugged was the second most influential book in the lives of the respondents behind only the Bible and showed The Fountainhead among the top twenty.
Today, The Fountainhead has achieved the status of a modern classic. It is taught in college literature and philosophy courses, as well as in high school English classes.
The Fountainhead continues to be an example of its own theme: the struggle for acceptance of great new ideas in human society. But, in principle and in the long run, truth wins out.
Its theme of glorifying the independent mind not only captures the essence of the American spirit but, more fundamentally, expresses the deep human yearning for freedom.
The Fountainhead is a theme and a novel that will live forever. It chronicles the struggles of the innovative architect Howard Roark in his effort to achieve success on his own terms. After leaving Stanton, Roark goes to work for Henry Cameron, an elderly and cantankerous genius, whose ideas are far ahead of their time.
Cameron is a commercial failure, but an uncompromising man of integrity. He is one of the first to design buildings that tower over others, and the first to insist that a tall building should look tall. His hostility only increases the difficulty that a public fearful of progress has in recognizing his genius. After graduating from Stanton, Keating works for Guy Francon, the most successful and prestigious architect in the country.
Francon is a phony, who teaches Keating only about manipulating and influencing people, not about building honestly and effectively. Francon has a beautiful young daughter, Dominique, who possesses a mind of her own. Dominique writes a column devoted to design and interior decorating in The New York Banner, a daily newspaper owned by the powerful publisher, Gail Wynand.
Dominique is a passionate idealist who recognizes and reveres the human potential for greatness. But finding little of it in the world— indeed, finding everywhere the triumph of vulgar mediocrity—she Introduction to the Novel 13 becomes disillusioned. Dominique believes that true nobility has no chance to succeed in a world dominated by the mindless and the corrupt. She recognizes and loathes the unscrupulous pandering engaged in by Keating and her father—and states her convictions openly.
But Keating, smitten with the way in which her beauty and elegance impress other people, proposes marriage.
Though not adept at design, Keating knows someone who is: Howard Roark, whose love of buildings is so great that he cannot refuse any opportunity to improve one. Roark helps Keating in his design work. Roark designs a brilliant and simple plan for his building, to which Keating adds his customary ostentatious ornamentation. Keating believes his eclectic hodgepodge of conflicting styles has no chance to win; he must get the partnership now, while Francon still trusts him.
He berates Heyer, screaming at the old man to retire, causing the stroke the doctors had feared. Heyer dies, having left the charming Keating his money. Keating wins the Cosmo-Slotnick competition.
Francon makes him partner. For a long period of time, Roark cannot find employment with any architect. Eventually, he is hired by John Erik Snyte, an eclectic builder who is not wedded to any specific school of design.
Snyte is content to give the public whatever it desires. He employs specialists in various schools of design—Classical, Gothic, Renaissance—and wants Roark to be his modernist. Snyte allows his designers freedom to design in their specialties, but then combines their ideas into one finished product of clashing principles.
Roark opens his own office, but his designs are too revolutionary, and he receives very few commissions.
When Roark turns down the commission for the important Manhattan Bank Building rather than permit the adulteration of his design, he is destitute. He closes his office temporarily and goes to work in a granite quarry in Connecticut. The quarry is owned by Guy Francon. That summer, Dominique vacations at the family estate bordering the property.
Upon meeting Roark, Dominique notices immediately the taut lines of his body and the scornful look of his eyes. Though at a conscious level, Dominique believes he may be an ex-convict like others of the work gang, at some deeper level she knows better.
The way he holds himself and moves, his posture and mannerisms, his countenance and the look in his eyes all convey a proud dignity that would not stoop to the commission of crimes. She is deeply drawn to him and initiates a pursuit that results in their passionate lovemaking. But despite her profound attraction and aggressive pursuit, she is afraid of a love relationship with him. She ardently desires their sexual relationship, but almost as intensely fears it.
Roark leaves the quarry and returns to New York. Even then, he finds himself thinking of Dominique.
The construction of the Enright House brings Roark recognition and further commissions. Anthony Cord, a successful Wall Street businessman, hires him to build his first office building, a fifty-story skyscraper in the center of Manhattan. Kent Lansing, a member of the board formed to build a luxury hotel on Central Park South, wants Roark and fights for him. Eventually, he wins, and Roark signs a contract to build the Aquitania Hotel. Although construction of the Aquitania is eventually stopped due to legal wrangles, Kent Lansing vows to win control of the project and complete it.
Toohey, who seeks power over the architectural profession, attempts to end the career of this individualist who will not obey.
He influences a wealthy lackey, Hopton Stoddard, to hire Roark to build a temple. Because Roark is an atheist, Toohey coaches Stoddard regarding the best means to approach Roark to build a religious structure.
Roark— in your own way. I can see that in your buildings. He designs a masterpiece for the Stoddard Temple, as Toohey knew he would. He hires Steven Mallory to do the sculpture for the Temple. Does he have anything in common with Keating? In what ways do they both differ from Roark? Roark gains employment with Henry Cameron. Cameron, though a genius, is a commercial failure.
Why has society rejected his work? Why does Roark nevertheless revere him? What qualities do Roark and Cameron share in common? What is the fundamental difference between them and Francon and Keating? Though Keating often leaves Catherine Halsey waiting weeks for him to call, the author makes it clear that Catherine is special to him. What fate will befall Peter if he betrays his love for her?