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The Fountainhead [Paperback]

Ayn Rand
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Feb 2007

Her first major literary success, Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead is an exalted view of her Objectivist philosophy, portraying a visionary artist struggling against the dull, conformist dogma of his peers; a book of ambition, power, gold and love, published in Penguin Modern Classics.

Architect Howard Roark is as unyielding as the granite he blasts to build with. Defying the conventions of the world around him, he embraces a battle over two decades against a double-dealing crew of rivals who will stop at nothing to bring him down. These include, perhaps most troublesome of all, the ambitious Dominique Francon, who may just prove to be Roarke's equal. This epic story of money, power and a man's struggle to succeed on his own terms is a paean to individualism and humanity's creative potential. First published in 1943, The Fountainhead introduced millions to Rand's philosophy of Objectivism: an uncompromising defence of self-interest as the engine of progress, and a jubilant celebration of man's creative potential.

Ayn Rand (1905-1982), born Alisa Rosenbaum in St. Petersburg, Russia, emigrated to America with her family in January 1926, never to return to her native land. Her novel The Fountainhead was published in 1943 and eventually became a bestseller. Still occasionally working as a screenwriter, Rand moved to New York City in 1951 and published Atlas Shrugged in 1957. Her novels espoused what came to be called Objectivism, a philosophy that champions capitalism and the pre-eminence of the individual.

If you enjoued The Fountainhead, you might like Rand's Atlas Shrugged, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'In The Fountainhead power, greed, life's grandeur flow hot and red in thrilling descriptions'

London Review of Books

'Ayn Rand is a writer of great power... she writes brilliantly, beautifully, bitterly'

The New York Times


Frequently Bought Together

The Fountainhead + Atlas Shrugged (Penguin Modern Classics) + We the Living (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (1 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141188626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141188621
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 12.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ayn Rand's first novel, We the Living, was published in 1936, followed by Anthem. With the publication of The Fountainhead in 1943, she achieved spectacular and enduring success. Rand's unique philosophy, Objectivism, has gained a worldwide audience and maintains a lasting influence on popular thought. The fundamentals of her philosophy are set forth in such books as Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal, and The Romantic Manifesto. Ayn Rand died in 1982.

(Image reproduced courtesy of The Ayn Rand® Institute)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

'The Fountainhead' is one of the greatest books of its time. In it you will meet, head-on, the brilliant young architect Howard Roark. You will witness the beauty, desirability and dangerous ambition of Dominique Francon. You will reel, stunned, like the millions of other readers who have assured this book a place in the century's history, at the meeting, and mating of these two most powerful creatures in modern America.

'The Fountainhead' is about ambition, power, gold and love – a love so firm that it triumphed over slander, separation, jealousy, and the cruel assaults of those who sought to destroy it.

"Ayn Rand is a writer of great power… she writes brilliantly, beautifully, bitterly"
NEW YORK TIMES

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Ayn Rand was born Alissa Rosenbaum on February 2, 1905 in St. Petersburg, Russia. She left Russia and her family in January 1926, never to return. Her novel The Fountainhead was published in 1943 and eventually became a bestseller. Still occasionally working as a screenwriter, Rand moved to New York City in 1951 and published Atlas Shrugged in 1957. Her novels espoused what came to be called Objectivism, a philosophy that champions capitalism and the preeminence of the individual.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The projection of an ideal man" 24 Feb 2013
By Nicholas J. R. Dougan VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So says Ayn Rand in the forward to this edition, words written 25 years after The Fountainhead was first published in 1943. It's hard to imagine that many people read this book today without being aware of Ms Rand's philosophy of "Objectivism" and that she is the novelist of choice for so many from the libertarian strand of right-wing political and economic thinking, as exemplified, but perhaps also over-simplified, by the Tea-Party in the USA. So it was for me, certainly, although I made a conscious decision not to read any more commentary about the book before I read it so as to be able to experience it, as far as possible, simply as a novel.

So maybe you should stop reading here and read the book first?

As a story it is well constructed, albeit a little slow paced. We have a protagonist, architect Howard Roark, a heroine and love interest, Dominique Francon, and several antagonists who seem determined either to put him down or steal his ideas and energy. He perseveres, maintains his integrity, wins through, gets the girl...and the final scene depicts him silhouetted against the New York skyline and the Atlantic. Ms Rand spent much of her early writing career in Hollywood, and cinematic influences on her scene descriptions become quite obvious once you're aware of this.

It's hard not to be aware, however, that almost all of the characters are archetypes for certain ways of thinking or behaving, and in many cases that they are probably modelled on historical personalities. As a result, they do seem somewhat extreme or unlikely characters even in the context, and I found it difficult not always to be thinking about what they represented rather than who they were as people.
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114 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you read one book, make it this one. 2 Dec 2002
Format:Paperback
This book was recommended to me by a friend who described it as a life-altering work and the best book he had ever read. I greeted this with the cynicism that such emotive comments often deserve. Nevertheless, I bought the book and have bought it for many more friends since. No book (or other art form, for that matter) has influenced me, encouraged me, excited me and criticised me as much as Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead".
I find it impossible to describe precisely what I took away from the book other than an overwhelming desire to meet the protagonist, Howard Roark. I compared myself (somewhat unfavourably) to his inspirational character; a man of complete integrity (in the sense of being whole and unimpaired) and, above all, a man who remains incorruptibly faithful to himself (odd though that sounds - read the book!). I fell short in almost every respect because he is, of course, a work of fiction living in a stylised world. However, I have since found that in some small measure we can attempt to lead our lives in a manner which more closely resembles Roark's philosophy (or, rather, his way of being). I agree with another reviewer that this is not The Answer, but I believe it is some small part, without which the remainder may be unobtainable.
This book will not be universally liked. It polarises opinion because its message is not to everyone's taste. Nor is it the most beautifully crafted prose (it was the author's second language, after all). And, Ayn Rand sometimes verges on being self-consciously clever. However, if the measure of a book is how often you refer back to it, how heavily you rely on its message and how vociferously you recommend it to others, it is clearly the best book I have ever read (and the only book I have felt obliged to review online).
Just my thoughts - I hope you enjoy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking yet entertaining classic 22 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I started reading the Fountainhead because I came across the author's name and the term "Randian" a number of times during a short time. (I am from Finland, where Rand is not well known.) I was intrigued by her reputation as a die hard defender of individualism and capitalism and thought that reading her would be relevant amid all the debate over bankers' bonuses, bailouts and the future of the welfare state. I also sometimes wonder about the virtues of individualism on a personal level, which made me all the more interested in reading about Rand's characters, who symbolise individualism and its rival "ideologies." The lives and fates of the characters reveal Rand's take on the merits, implications and outcomes of the thought systems that they each embody.

The novel's hero is Howard Roark, an architect who is the archetype of individualism. Career-wise he is talented, passionate, and uncorrupted: he will not compromise his artistic vision in order to get a lucrative commission no matter how dire a financial strait he is in. He is similarly pure in all facets of life, refusing to feign friendship with anyone, or to sacrifice himself for anyone even though this often causes him much trouble and suffering. Roark's life is noble and contrasts sharply with that of his peer since college, Peter Keating, who symbolises the spinelessness that most people possess to some degree. Unlike Roark, Keating lives for everyone but himself: as an architect, he has no style of his own and craves recognition rather than self-expression. Even in his love life, the most personal thing of all, he lets the opinions of others dictate his actions.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
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Published 24 days ago by Megan Watts
3.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books ever
One of my favorite books ever. I bought this one because my old one was worn out. The quality of the bookbinding is very poor though. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lone Norgaard
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't stop reading it
I must say, I can't stop reading this book since I have got it - free delivery and it was very fast, btw.
It's made me want to fall in love! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ms. C.C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrible print
The print on this edition is so small one needs a magnifying glass to read it. a very disappointing outcome to the purchase.
Published 3 months ago by Hurtle
4.0 out of 5 stars A must-read.
Love it or loathe it, Fountainhead is one of those rare books that inspires incredible amount of discussion; I don't think I've read any other book that has sparked quite as many... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Photocritic.org
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great works
There are books and there are great books. This is a book of power, a depression era tale of rival architects that becomes a Nietzschean retelling of the Jesus myth. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr. F. I. Dudaniec
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply one of the best books ever!!!
I read this book years ago and would love to read it again, one of best ever written, superb and meaningful.
Published 6 months ago by R
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable.
The quality of the writing was outstanding and the characters were vividly drawn. I hated the villains and admired the hero. They were real people. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Joseph McGourty
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This was an amazing read. nothing like it. the book came quickly and in good condition. however the only problem was that the font was too small and it was difficult to read.
Published 6 months ago by Aoife Daly
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book superfast delivery.
The delivery was unbelievably quick, and the quality of the product was top class. The book in itself is a great read and I would definitely recommend it.
Published 7 months ago by deividas
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