The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

66%

15 Critic Reviews

It falls short...in the apparent inability of the author (or editor) to be a ruthless surgeon.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

When The Fountainhead was first published, Ayn Rand's daringly original literary vision and her groundbreaking philosophy, Objectivism, won immediate worldwide interest and acclaim. This instant classic is the story of an intransigent young architect, his violent battle against conventional standards, and his explosive love affair with a beautiful woman who struggles to defeat him. This edition contains a special Afterword by Rand's literary executor, Leonard Peikoff which includes excerpts from Ayn Rand's own notes on the making of The Fountainhead. As fresh today as it was then, here is a novel about a hero—and about those who try to destroy him.
 

About Ayn Rand

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Ayn Rand was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 2, 1905. At age six she taught herself to read and two years later discovered her first fictional hero in a French magazine for children, thus capturing the heroic vision which sustained her throughout her life. At the age of nine she decided to make fiction writing her career. Thoroughly opposed to the mysticism and collectivism of Russian culture, she thought of herself as a European writer, especially after encountering Victor Hugo, the writer she most admired. During her high school years, she was eyewitness to both the Kerensky Revolution, which she supported, and-in 1917-the Bolshevik Revolution, which she denounced from the outset. In order to escape the fighting, her family went to the Crimea, where she finished high school. The final Communist victory brought the confiscation of her father's pharmacy and periods of near-starvation. When introduced to American history in her last year of high school, she immediately took America as her model of what a nation of free men could be. When her family returned from the Crimea, she entered the University of Petrograd to study philosophy and history. Graduating in 1924, she experienced the disintegration of free inquiry and the takeover of the university by communist thugs. Amidst the increasingly gray life, her one great pleasure was Western films and plays. Long an admirer of cinema, she entered the State Institute for Cinema Arts in 1924 to study screenwriting. In late 1925 she obtained permission to leave Soviet Russia for a visit to relatives in the United States. Although she told Soviet authorities that her visit would be short, she was determined never to return to Russia. She arrived in New York City in February 1926. She spent the next six months with her relatives in Chicago, obtained an extension to her visa, and then left for Hollywood to pursue a career as a screenwriter. On Ayn Rand's second day in Hollywood, Cecil B. DeMille saw her standing at the gate of his studio, offered her a ride to the set of his movie The King of Kings, and gave her a job, first as an extra, then as a script reader. During the next week at the studio, she met an actor, Frank O'Connor, whom she married in 1929; they were married until his death fifty years later. After struggling for several years at various nonwriting jobs, including one in the wardrobe department at the RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., she sold her first screenplay, "Red Pawn," to Universal Pictures in 1932 and 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 1934 but was rejected by numerous publishers, until The Macmillan Company in the United States and Cassells and Company in England published the book in 1936. The most autobiographical of her novels, it was based on her years under Soviet tyranny. She began writing The Fountainhead in 1935. In the character of the architect Howard Roark, she presented for the first time the kind of hero whose depiction was the chief goal of her writing: the ideal man, man as "he could be and ought to be." The Fountainhead was rejected by twelve publishers but finally accepted by the Bobbs-Merrill Company. When published in 1943, it made history by becoming a best seller through word-of-mouth two years later, and gained for its author lasting recognition as a champion of individualism. Ayn Rand returned to Hollywood in late 1943 to write the screenplay for The Fountainhead, but wartime restrictions delayed production until 1948. Working part time as a screenwriter for Hal Wallis Productions, she began her major novel, Atlas Shrugged, in 1946. In 1951 she moved back to New York City and devoted herself full time to the completion of Atlas Shrugged. Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged was her greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatized her unique philosophy in an intellectual mystery story that integrated ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics and sex. Although she considered herself primarily a fiction writer, she realized that in order to create heroic fictional characters, she had to identify the philosophic principles which make such individuals possible. Thereafter, Ayn Rand wrote and lectured on her philosophy-Objectivism, which she characterized as "a philosophy for living on earth.". She published and edited her own periodicals from 1962 to 1976, her essays providing much of the material for six books on Objectivism and its application to the culture. Ayn Rand died on March 6, 1982, in her New York City apartment. Every book by Ayn Rand published in her lifetime is still in print, and hundreds of thousands of copies are sold each year, so far totalling more than twenty million. Several new volumes have been published posthumously. Her vision of man and her philosophy for living on earth have changed the lives of thousands of readers and launched a philosophic movement with a growing impact on American culture.Leonard Peikoff is universally recognized as the pre-eminent Rand scholar writing today. He worked closely with Ayn Rand for 30 years and was designated by her as her intellectual heir and heir to her estate. He has taught philosophy at Hunter College, Long Island University, and New York University, and hosted the national radio talk show "Philosophy: Who Needs It."
 
Published April 1, 1952 by Signet. 754 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences, Romance, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Law & Philosophy. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Fountainhead
All: 15 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 5

Kirkus

Below average
on Nov 02 2011

It falls short...in the apparent inability of the author (or editor) to be a ruthless surgeon.

Read Full Review of The Fountainhead | See more reviews from Kirkus

Christian Science Monitor

Good
Reviewed by Scoop Fresnell on Oct 22 2010

"The Fountainhead" is a great read all around. The passion and desire to do what is right for you – this is what I think Ms. Rand was trying to tell the reader.

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Pajiba

Below average
Reviewed by Jim Doggie on Feb 07 2013

Repeated ramblings about second-handers and parasites occur ad nauseum...dulling the argument as the speeches go on (and on and on and on and on and on….)...the only way to make a real impact with The Fountainhead is to hit someone with the book.

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Las Vegas Review Journal

Above average
Reviewed by Daniel Johnson on Jul 27 2008

“The Fountainhead” would be a great addition to a diverse reading collection. It gives a unique perspective of architecture, life and the world.

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BookRack

Good
on May 06 2010

...The Fountainhead is an ode to the heroic in man; it is an awe-inspiring story of a man who stands by his principles and his work irrespective of the consequences.

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Dominion of New York

Good
Reviewed by Amanda Nelson on Nov 08 2011

No author will dissolve a reasonable, polite group of people into a howling pile of passionate rage quite like Ayn Rand

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CLP Teensburgh

Excellent
Reviewed by Corey W. on Sep 10 2012

...her politics...were, in my opinion, the shining summit of logic and insight in her system of philosophy.

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First Things

Below average
Reviewed by Joe Carter on Jun 08 2011

She misunderstood almost every concept she engaged with—from capitalism to freedom—and wrote nothing that had not been treated before by better thinkers.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Brittany H., on Aug 19 2014

Recently, I have embraced the criticism that comes with this book. And yet we all need books like this to open young minds and philosophies to build our foundation upon. So for all of that, this book still remains one of my all-time favorites and is a must-read for all adolescents.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Amber C. on Feb 07 2013

A person with deep convictions for what they want in life will find an abundance of inspiration in this book.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Brittany H. on Feb 07 2013

...we all need books like this to open young minds and philosophies to build our foundation upon.

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EzineArticles

Above average
Reviewed by Prasoon Kumar on Jul 26 2010

The Fountainhead is a steamy novel which was loved by people yet panned by the critics. One thing was for sure though; the story was rousing and infused life into the architecture itself.

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EzineArticles

Below average
Reviewed by Priscilla Andrea Herochik on Jan 08 2010

I've been reading Rand's books. I've completed Fountainhead and I'm halfway through Atlas Shrugged. I can't imagine any woman actually reading Fountainhead without hating it.

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Book Review Circle

Good
Reviewed by Suchandra Ganguly on Aug 19 2014

The Fountainhead is a great stimulant to the mind. It will make you contemplate about ideologies like Collectivism, Individualism, Altruism etc.

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Reading Glutton

Below average
Reviewed by Paul Mastin on Apr 29 2013

There is much to admire in Roark's steadfastly holding on to his integrity; that is the strength of the story. But in the process of displaying Roark's brilliance and indefatigable spirit, Rand looks down her nose at anyone else with whom she does not agree and who does not measure up to her standard of genius.

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Joaquin alarcia 11 Feb 2013

Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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rahul 12 Jun 2013

Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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Michael Manley 20 Aug 2013

Rated the book as 1.5 out of 5

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Joaquin alarcia 5 Sep 2013

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