The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead

Book - 1968
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The Fountainhead is an unprecedented phenomenon in modern literature. Arguably the century's most challenging novel of ideas, The Fountainhead is the story of a gifted young architect, his violent battle with conventional standards, and his explosive love affair with the beautiful woman who struggles to defeat him. In his fight for success, he first discovers, then rejects, the seductive power of fame and money, finding that in the end, creative genius must triumph. His battle against mediocrity gives a gripping new dimension to the concept of evil. The Fountainhead is at once dramatic, poetic, and demanding. A statement of principles for its author, the novel champions the cause of individualism and remains one of the towering books on the contemporary intellectual scene.
Publisher: Indianapolis : Bobbs-Merrill, [1968]
ISBN: 9780452286375
Call Number: RAND
Characteristics: 704 p. ; 18 cm
Subjects: Architects -- Fiction.
Individualism -- Fiction.
Architects -- United States -- Psychology -- Fiction.
Man-woman relationships -- United States -- Fiction.
Psychological fiction.
Didactic fiction.


From the critics

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Sep 27, 2020

I read this decades ago while pregnant and reclusive. This time I ordered it because I couldn't remember what it was about. I probably tossed it in the 70's too —or only finished because I had nothing else and the internet hadn't been invented). It was a tribute to the lowest form of humanity from every aspect. I chucked it as soon as all the characters had been established and found not one was worth my time. People who admire this type of thinking vote for Trump.

One of the ten best books I've ever read, and I have not read much fiction in my life. It is the beginning of the "art of selfishness."

You've heard of Aristotle, Socrates, Plato? MORONS! Ayn Rand is the greatest philosopher ever! This book has changed my life! Before I read it, I was a pitiful, cowardly specimen, barely human. Now I have learned to demand my rights as an Objectivist Übermensch. Not only that, I now in fact look like Gary Cooper, and my girlfriend, who read it as well, looks like Patricia Neal. Also, I have invented a new kind of steam engine which is taking the railroad industry by storm! As soon as my paramilitary guard, the Brown Shorts, is fully organized, I will run for president on the Objectivist ticket, and I owe it all to Ayn Rand!

Note added in press: Another commenter says, "One of the ten best books I've ever read, and I have not read much fiction in my life." Is this what you call damning with faint praise? Has the commenter read as many as ten works of fiction?

Oct 30, 2019

I love this book. The first time I read it, I had to read the first few chapters in a bookstore, as my copy was missing those pages. I'm not as much in line with the ideals as I used to be, but I still love the story. It's weird to hate Roark so much, then realize you actually kinda like him in the end. That's probably what I love about it the most. All the characters are kind of terrible, and the protagonist is like the least of all the evils. It's just such a weirdly terrible semi-accurate description of the invisible side of society when everyone is awful. It's wonderful.

Jul 22, 2019

I love this book. Rand does a marvelous job of explaining her philosophy in narrative form.

Jun 28, 2019

if you have the choice to read the massive ATLAS SHRUGGED ( i mean you have a gun pointed at you), or this, choose this one. Such a choice does not preclude you from reading any of her profound non fiction, mind you./ in the comments below, i noticed several points made, which seem antithetical to themselves: one writer says that the work extols "the cult of selfishness"; another writes that, although he didn't enjoy her work, she writes about the fight against conformity. Does this one mean she doesn't write it, well?

Jun 16, 2019

if I really can't find anything else to read? Ugh, despise it.

Oct 07, 2017

According to author, Ayn Rand (quote) "Selfishness is a virtue."

While reading The Fountainhead - Make it a point of keeping Rand's philosophy about selfishness firmly in mind. It'll certainly help you to understand more clearly WTF? she's ranting and raving about in this preposterous story about an architect's struggle not to conform and cave-in to a mob mentality.

Feb 16, 2016

A very interesting read. You can ignore Rand's philosophy and just focus on her amazing insights into society and the individual.

The story is riveting - one man at odds with society and rampant conformism.

Dec 31, 2015

My favorite book

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Jul 09, 2016

mikeehan thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

EuSei Nov 21, 2013

EuSei thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Oct 30, 2012

nabilone thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

rwh77 Jun 04, 2012

rwh77 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 15 and 17

rwh77 Jun 04, 2012

rwh77 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 15 and 17

Apr 28, 2010

JPearce thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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mariednguyen Sep 27, 2013

The Fountainhead's protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision. The book follows his battle to practice what the public sees as modern architecture, which he believes to be superior, despite an establishment centered on tradition-worship. How others in the novel relate to Roark demonstrates Rand's various archetypes of human character, all of which are variants between Roark, the author's ideal man of independent-mindedness and integrity, and what she described as the "second-handers". The complex relationships between Roark and the various kinds of individuals who assist or hinder his progress, or both, allow the novel to be at once a romantic drama and a philosophical work. Roark is Rand's embodiment of what she believes should be the human spirit, and his struggle reflects Rand's personal belief that individualism should trump collectivism.


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Mar 18, 2012

"But I don't think of you [Ellsworth Toohey]." -Howard Roark


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