The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead Novel cover The Fountainhead (1943) introduced the world to architect Howard Roark, an intransigent individualist. A man whose arrogant pride in his work is fully earned, Roark is an innovator who battles against a tradition-worshipping society—refusing to compromise his standards in work and life. Expelled from a prestigious architectural school, refused work, reduced to laboring in a granite quarry, Roark is never stopped. He has to withstand not merely professional rejection, but also the enmity of Ellsworth Toohey, beloved humanitarian and leading architectural critic; of Gail Wynand, powerful publisher; and of Dominique Francon, the beautiful columnist who loves him fervently yet is bent on destroying his career.

With The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand achieved enduring commercial, artistic, and intellectual success. Initially rejected by a dozen publishers, The Fountainhead became a bestseller within two years purely through word of mouth; today, there are over six million copies in print. The novel was also an artistic landmark for Rand; in the character of Howard Roark, she presented for the first time the uniquely Ayn Rand hero, whose depiction was the chief goal of her writing: the ideal man, man as “he could be and ought to be.” The novel’s dramatization of its original theme—in Rand’s words “individualism versus collectivism, not in politics, but in man’s soul”—earned Rand a lasting reputation as one of history’s greatest champions of individualism.

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