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The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand Pdf | 877 Pages

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 intransigent young architect, who battles against conventional standards and refuses to compromise with an architectural establishment unwilling to accept innovation.

The Fountainhead Summary

Russian-American writer Ayn Rand found her first widespread fame in the literary arena with her 1943 novel The Fountainhead. The Fountainhead tells the story of Howard Roark, a young architect who strives to stay true to his artistic visions in the modernist movement rather than conform to the traditional ways of his profession where other architects reject innovation.

In Howard Roark, Ayn Rand exemplifies the notion that individualism is to be valued over collectivism. Roark refers to those who cling to the old ways and conforming as second-handers. To him, they sacrifice their integrity and individuality by refusing to move forward independently.

Rand creates characters who represent views and ways of being that contrast with Roark’s beliefs. Roark’s old friend, Peter Keating, finds success in his professional life by keeping up with styles that are popular, but he needs Roark’s assistance when he encounters issues related to design.

Ellsworth Toohey is a socialist architecture critic guided by self-serving interests, who attempts to destroy Roark’s career while advancing his own political agenda. Also hoping to influence public opinion is Gail Wynand, a newspaper publisher who gets to know Roark but ends up betraying him.

Roark’s lover, Dominique Francon, at times helps Roark, but since she does not believe it is possible to succeed without conforming, she frequently undermines him as well. At the beginning of their relationship, there is a particularly forceful sexual encounter, which Dominique later refers to as rape.

This has led to the novel carrying a pall of controversy, as critics have sometimes used the scene to suggest that Rand had written an endorsement of rape.

The novel opens in 1922 with Howard Roark being expelled from the architecture program at the Stanton Institute of Technology. His losing his place at the school stems from his unwillingness to follow the school’s call for the use of historical conventions in designing new buildings. Roark heads to New York City and secures a position with Henry Cameron.

Cameron was at one time a well-known and respected architect, but his services are no longer in wide demand. Peter Keating, Roark’s roommate at Stanton, graduates with honors and also moves to New York. Keating obtains a job with Francon & Heyer, one of the elite firms in the city.

Keating puts himself in good standing with Guy Francon, one of the senior partners in the firm, and proceeds to find ways to eliminate those he sees as rivals. Ultimately, Keating becomes a partner. Cameron and Roark work together and develop creative projects, although they continue to have economic difficulties.

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the fountainhead
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About the Author

Alice O’Connor, better known by her pen name Ayn Rand, was a Russian-born American writer and philosopher. She is known for her fiction and for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism. Born and educated in Russia, she moved to the United States in 1926.

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