While Ayn Rand’s book, Atlas Shrugged, garners a lot of attention in these times, it must be mentioned that there was another that came before – The Fountainhead.
The Fountainhead is a 1943 novel by Ayn Rand. It was Rand’s first major literary success and brought her fame and financial success. More than 6.5 million copies of the book have been sold worldwide.
The Fountainhead’s protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision. The book follows his battle to practice what the public sees as modern architecture, which he believes to be superior, despite an establishment centered on tradition-worship. How others in the novel relate to Roark demonstrates Rand’s various archetypes of human character, all of which are variants between Roark, the author’s ideal man of independent-mindedness and integrity, and what she described as the “second-handers.” The complex relationships between Roark and the various kinds of individuals who assist or hinder his progress, or both, allow the novel to be at once a romantic drama and a philosophical work. Roark is Rand’s embodiment of the human spirit, and his struggle represents the triumph of individualism over collectivism.
It was made into a movie in 1949 starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. Here’s Roark’s summation at his trial for destroying the building he designed:
Individualism vs. collectivism – that is what is on the ballot in November.
7 thoughts on “Howard Roark For President”
I remember seeing that movie in my early teens, maybe earlier. It was stirring even to my young mind.
People say that Rand’s characters exemplify selfishness – not necessarily. Rand thought that each individual has absolute ownership to the products of their own minds and should they chose to share those or sell them, then so be it, but no one should be compelled to give up that property. There are selfish people – but like Roark says, there is no collective mind, there is only the intellect of the individual.
The scene I remember best was the one where he is showing a model of a proposed building, a skyscraper, that sat atop two rows of steel columns. The chowderheads at the presentation wanted him to put structures around the base to hide the columns. I think he walked out of the meeting, I don’t recall for certain, though.
You have a better memory than I. I only recall when I saw the show that I thought Patricia Neal was all wrong for Dominique (if that’s even her name, because I really can’t remember.)
Apparently the director wanted Lauren Bacall but she dropped out before filming started – then he considered Bette Davis, Ida Lupino and Barbara Stanwyck before settling on Patricia Neal.
In my mind I saw Veronica Lake.
Hand Rand understood and accepted that everything about her philosophy points to the necessity for the Creator, she would be among the greatest philosophers in history. Yet, even in her atheism, she is still among the most influential – but mostly because she simply illustrated Locke’s work.