Go Back
The Fountainhead
Author: Ayn Rand

Publisher: Signet Books
ISBN: 0-451-19115-3
Pages: 704
Add to Booklist
Bookmark and Share
'The Fountainhead' by Ayn Rand represents the struggle of the human spirit to triumph in its fight against collectivism. Regarded as her breakthrough novel, the book that soon came to be regarded as a masterpiece was rejected by 12 publishers, before finally seeing the light of the day. Read the book to find out what made it such a huge success and why it has remained a top-of-the-mind literary effort even after all these years.

When Ayn Rand started to write The Fountainhead, she wanted to steer clear of making any overt political statement. But as she began to spell out the story of the proudly individualistic Howard Roark, an architect who struggles to survive in a world ruled by traditions, she realized that there was no escaping the political or philosophical undertones. In spite of that, The Fountainhead still continues to be seen as a novel that describes one man's fight against the system.

The characters in the novel are memorable. The protagonist is Howard Roark, an architect who believes that only an individual's vision can produce genuine art. He decries committees and councils as he feels that their interference could result in mediocrity being passed off as art. The upright Roark is often quoted as the embodiment of the ideal man. Another main character in the novel is Peter Keating, Roark's rival who is motivated more by material considerations rather than creative ones. Ayn Rand's heroine Dominique Francon is a strong woman who. during the course of the book, learns to live life on her own terms. She gives in to her passion and emerges stronger and more creative because of it.

The novel goes on to answer the final question - will Roark survive his war against the system, or will he be forced to come to terms with it?

The Fountainhead got off to a moderate start. Reviews were mixed and initial sales were depressing. But the book picked up on the strength of word-of-mouth reviews and it has sold over 6 million copies and been translated into several languages. Two years after it was published, it entered the New York Times bestseller list.

In 1945, Ayn Rand worked on a condensed and illustrated version of the novel. It was syndicated in several newspapers. A film based on the book, starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal was produced by Warner Brothers in 1949.
Other books by the same author