Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Fountainhead: Introduction
The Fountainhead: Plot Summary
The Fountainhead: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Fountainhead: Themes
The Fountainhead: Quotes
The Fountainhead: Characters
The Fountainhead: Symbols
The Fountainhead: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Ayn Rand
Historical Context of The Fountainhead
Other Books Related to The Fountainhead
- Full Title: The Fountainhead
- When Written: 1935 -1942
- Where Written: Hollywood, California
- When Published: 1943
- Literary Period: Late Modernist
- Genre: Philosophical fiction
- Setting: The East Coast, primarily New York, in the 1920s and 1930s
- Climax: Howard Roark blows up a building he designed because its design was changed without his approval, and defends his actions in court.
- Antagonist: Ellsworth Toohey
- Point of View: Third-person omniscient
Extra Credit for The Fountainhead
Unfazed by Rejection. The Fountainhead was rejected 12 times by publishers for being “too intellectual” before finally getting accepted by the Bobbs-Merrill group. Rand—much like Roark when his architectural designs are rejected—didn’t give up on her vision for the book, even firing her agent when he asked her to make changes to the draft.
Real-life Inspiration. Rand was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright while writing the character of Howard Roark, especially while describing his design aesthetics. She tried to meet Wright while writing The Fountainhead, but was unable to. Later, when the novel was turned into a movie, the studio approached Wright to have him do Roark’s sketches for the houses in the movie, but talks fell through because Wright quoted a very high price that the studio was not willing to spend.