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!Read E-pub ⛅ The Fountainhead Ë The Revolutionary Literary Vision That Sowed The Seeds Of Objectivism, Ayn Rand S Groundbreaking Philosophy, And Brought Her Immediate Worldwide AcclaimThis Modern Classic Is The Story Of Intransigent Young Architect Howard Roark, Whose Integrity Was As Unyielding As Graniteof Dominique Francon, The Exquisitely Beautiful Woman Who Loved Roark Passionately, But Married His Worst Enemyand Of The Fanatic Denunciation Unleashed By An Enraged Society Against A Great Creator As Fresh Today As It Was Then, Rand S Provocative Novel Presents One Of The Most Challenging Ideas In All Of Fiction That Man S Ego Is The Fountainhead Of Human Progress A Writer Of Great Power She Has A Subtle And Ingenious Mind And The Capacity Of Writing Brilliantly, Beautifully, BitterlyThis Is The Only Novel Of Ideas Written By An American Woman That I Can Recall The New York Times The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand The Fountainhead is a 1943 novel by Russian American author Ayn Rand, her first major literary success The novel s protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who designs modernist buildings and refuses to compromise with an architectural establishment unwilling to accept innovation Roark embodies what Rand believed to be the ideal man, and his struggle reflects Rand s belief that individualism is superior to collectivism 2001 1379 1063 20 Would you like to hear the only joke I ve ever written Q How many Objectivists does it take to screw in a lightbulb A Pause, then disdainfully Uhone And thus it is that so many of us have such a complicated relationship with the work of Ayn Rand unabashed admirers at the age of 19, unabashedly horrified by 25, after hanging out with some actual Objectivists and witnessing what a holes they actually are, and also realizing that Rand and her cronies were one of the guiltiest parties when it came to the 1950s Red Scare here in America Here in Rand s first massive manifesto slash novel, we meet the theoretically ultimate Objectivist architect Howard Roarke, who is so just completely sure of what he should be doing with his constructions, he won t even participate in his industry at all unless his client gives him complete and utter control over the final project which is why Howard Roarke barely ever completes any projects over the course of his life, which according to Rand is because of the vast unwashed masses of the insipid keeping the obvious genius down Righteous, Ayn, righteous Ultimately it s easy to see in novels like this one why Rand is so perfect for late teenagers, but why she elicits eye rolls by one s mid twenties because Objectivism is all about BEING RIGHT, and DROPPING OUT IF OTHERS CAN T UNDERSTAND THAT, and LET EM ALL GO TO HELL AS FAR AS I M CONCERNED, without ever taking into account the unending amount of compromise and cooperation and sometimes sheer altruism that actually makes the world work Recommended, but with a caveat that you read it before you re old enough to know better. This book is the equivalent of a drunk, eloquent asshole talking to you all night at a bar You know you should just leave and you could never explain later why you didn t, but you just sit there listening to the guy ramble on It s all bullshit, and his arguments defending, say, his low key but all consuming misogyny aren t that good and don t even really make sense, but just for a second you find yourself thinking, Huh, the man might have a point before you catch yourself and realize that no, he is just an asshole You feel dirty and bad afterwards, realizing how close you came to the abyss, but there was that one second where, for some reason, his selfish, arrogant stances, which have hardened into granite truth for him, bluntly force you into a momentary empathy with his ideas ironically, the one thing he will never, no matter how many shots of Jameson you buy him, give you The only real difference between the drunk at the bar and The Fountainhead is that the drunk probably wouldn t go so far as claiming, when relating an account of rape, that the woman wanted it, even craved it Ayn Rand goes there while remaining perfectly true to her Objectivism bullshit At least the drunk might buy you a drink Ayn Rand would probably object to it on philosophical grounds. I had not really paid much attention to Ayn Rand, darling of the conservatives very surprisingly, actually until I began reading her biography When I asked around to see who had actually read any of her work, I found only a few, but lots of opinions about Rand herself Often those comments ascribed beliefs to Rand that were at opposite poles of the spectrum, from conservative to radical, individualist to Nazi fascist Obviously another case of what I call the De Toqueville syndrome, where everyone pretends to have read a famous book and to know what the author stood for, but has no firsthand reading knowledge Her biography revealed a complex and very interesting individual, so it was time to dig into her works personally The Fountainhead tells the story of Howard Roark, an architect Thrown out of Stanton School of Architecture for his refusal to adhere to the standards of the past the dean views Roark as a rebel who opposes all the rules of architecture and his society s view of art that is representation of what has been revered in the past and for turning in assignments that represented a complete break from the past The conversation with the dean, who tried to persuade Roark to come back into the fold, represents the central theme of the book, the conflict between those who are realitycentered against those who define their lives through the eyes of other people Roark seeks employment with Cameron, an architect whose designs tried to incorporate using the advantages of new materials, e.g., a skyscraper should look tall, not just like a twenty story brick building trying to look like a renaissance house Cameron began to design buildings the way he wanted rather than how his clients demanded His business dwindled to nothing, but he was sought out by Roark Following Cameron s retirement, Roark seeks employment as a draftsman in a large architectural firm, where he gets a break by sketching a house that breaks with tradition completely but is just what the client wants Roark is a brilliant but struggling iconoclast, while his rival and former classmate Peter Keating rises to the top of his profession by using obsequiousness, manipulation, and deception His primary concern is how he is perceived by others He designs by copying from the past, never thinking independently Both men are in love with Dominique Falcon, a brilliant, passionate woman, who falls in love with Roark, admires his genius, but who is convinced his genius has no chance in a corrupt world The villain of the book is Ellsworth Toohey, an architectural critic of note, who denounces Roark for his failure to adhere to the accepted standards of the day Toohey believes that the individual must sacrifice his independence to the will of others, i.e society or the group Toohey is employed by Gail Wynand, a publisher whose paper caters to the lowest common denominator to gain power He comes to admire Roark and must then decide whether he will continue to pander to popular taste or live according to his higher standards Rand and her novels have been vilified by the left wing as reactionary and praised by conservatives as brilliant and influential Frankly, I cannot understand how conservatives can be so enad of this work that celebrates independence and the rejection of tradition and normal morality She celebrated atheism, a kind of free love, very strong women, and a rejection of parental values and social norms She abhorred the subordination of reason to faith, of surrendering one s own thinking to the beliefs of others She despised the religious believer who without questioning adopts the religious beliefs of his parents, conforming without thinking Morality becomes something practical and relative For example, Roark dynamites a government building project that has been altered, so he can gain access to the courts since the government cannot be sued Roark really doesn t care what other people think He has such strong personal will that he will just do what he thinks is right He also pals around with one of the construction workers who admires him because he is the only architect that understands construction, and, indeed, Roark makes the point that he loves engineering and building That sounds like sixties liberalism than what I hear conservatives espouse Rand is clearly a romantic who believed that man can live up to an ideal, and reason can help them achieve the independence and the happiness that depends on that independence What infuriates liberals, as far as I can gather, was her unfailing adherence to capitalism I suppose conservatives latched on to her vigorous rejection of collectivism, no doubt related to her childhood experiences under Communism This is not to say Rand celebrates nonconformity for its own sake That is simply another form of conformity because it s living one s life in reaction to the standards of others The conformist must learn the beliefs of others to adhere to them the nonconformist must learn the standards so as to avoid adhering to them Both groups are psychological dependents Rand celebrates the independent thinker, the individualist who lives on his own terms The individualist creates his own standards and adheres to them regardless of what others do or think He has a commitment to reason and facts Roark represents the great innovator struggling against a profoundly conservative society against the traditionalist who says, It was never done this way, so it can t be good The climax of the book is Roark s speech to the court when he is on trial I wish to come here and say that I am a man who does not exist for others The world is perishing from an orgy of self sacrificing He represents a complete rejection of altruism, the doctrine which demands that man live for others and place others above self It s truly a shame when books and authors get labeled as conservative or liberal, communist or democrat and then judged on the basis of the label Read the book make up your own mind