This book is based on a challenging belief in the importance of selfishness, on the provocative idea that man's ego is the fountainhead of human progress. It is the story of Howard Roark, Architect - a man whose sole aim in life was to build, and to build not in the tradition of the past but only in the tradition of Howard Roark. He knew he was right with the same certainty that he knew he had two hands with which to create. No one could convince him otherwise. In fact, it did not bother him that people tried to. No opinion except his own either disturbed or influenced him. Perhaps that is why he was hated - because he needed no one, depended on no one, wanted no one, and to people who live on the borrowed vision of others such a man is a challenge and a danger.
Peter Keating, one of the youngest and most successful architects in New York, depended on Roark, but also feared him. Keating was charming, beloved of men and of women; but he lived only in the reflection of others. He built for his clients in order to live; Roark lived only in order to build for himself. Peter Keating sensed his own mediocrity without recognizing it. He did not know why wanted Roark to fail.
Ellsworth Toohey, champion of the downtrodden, was one of the few people who understood Roark and was smart enough to know why he wanted Roark destroyed. Ellsworth Toohey's characterization in The Fountainhead is an achieved picture of the inherent viciousness in apparently benign humanitarianism.
Dominique Franchon understood Roark and loved him, but she too tried once to destroy him.
Gail Wynand, powerful head of the New York Banner which stood for everything that Dominique abominated and for which she wrote a daily column, also understood and loved Roark, yet in the end was forced to turn against him.
Ayn Rand's bestseller tells the story of a staunchly individualist architect (based on Frank Lloyd Wright) who combats the collectivist (i.e., mediocre) impulses of his fellow Americans. The book is both a compulsively readable, steamy novel and an articulation of Rand's views.
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- December 1, 2004
- December 1, 2004
- Ayn Rand