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The Fountainhead from Notebook to Novel: The Composition of Ayn Rand’s First Ideal Man (Part 1)

Learn about the purposeful editorial principles Ayn Rand applied while writing and revising her manuscript.

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The Fountainhead begins in 1922, when Howard Roark is twenty-two; covering eighteen years of the hero’s life, it is the longest in time span of any of Ayn Rand’s novels. The novel’s composition began on December 4, 1935, with Ayn Rand’s first notes for a book she planned to call “Second-Hand Lives.”1 She began writing on June 26, 1938; within the next two years, she completed the first of the four parts and six and one-half chapters of the second, and then stopped writing.2 On December 9, 1941, she signed a contract with Bobbs-Merrill, and she resumed writing two days later.3 On December 31, 1942, she delivered the completed manuscript.4 In consultation with Archibald Ogden, whom she considered “a miracle as an editor,”5 she made cuts and other revisions; the novel was released on April 15, 1943, and officially published on May 10, 1943.6

The current article is not a full account of Ayn Rand’s life during the composition of this novel. The publication of We the Living in the United States and Great Britain, the Broadway productions of Night of January 16th and The Unconquered, the British publication of Anthem, the writing of Ideal and Think Twice, the Wendell Willkie campaign and other political activities — not to mention the day jobs as reader for RKO, MGM, and Paramount — are subjects for another day. Nor will the scope of this article allow me to include all of her preparations for this novel, from her architectural research to her job with Ely Jacques Kahn. I do not even have room here to consider all the editorial changes — from the omission of extended sequences of events to the editing of passages of dialogue and description — that are evident in the notebooks and the surviving pages of her drafts, or even to describe the entire contents of the notebooks and the drafts. My goal in this article is to describe, with examples, the purposeful editorial principles she applied while writing and revising her manuscript (principles that cohere with her chosen theme), so that I can examine closely (yet still not exhaustively) the decisions she made, from notebook to novel, in projecting — for the first time — her ideal man, in the form of Howard Roark. Her choices — in style and in substance — indicate not only the changes she made in the characterization of Roark, but also, perhaps, some changes in herself.

The notebooks for The Fountainhead contain voluminous notes on the theme, characters, and plot, along with summaries of her research, e.g., architectural books and magazines, recommended by a librarian at the New York Public Library.7 The outlines and notes show the early stages of Ayn Rand’s preparatory work: constructing her plots, developing her characters, identifying her themes and ideas.

Her notes, to begin with, present time lines of the architectural and personal development of Peter Keating and Roark, and to their interactions with other key characters. She refers not only to the buildings and relationships we know from the finished novel, but also of events that are not in the surviving manuscript pages (much less in the novel), such as the suicides of a writer and a sculptor, Keating’s “romance” with Lois Cook and his marriage to a blonde, Roark’s fight with Gail Wynand, the suicide note Dominique gives to Wynand in response to his threats, and Roark’s refusal to help the family of a contractor who has gone bankrupt and committed suicide.

She analyzes, at length, the ideas, backgrounds, and features of Roark, Keating, and Ellsworth Toohey. She has lists of possible names for the characters. She occasionally considers characters she later decided to exclude, such as the “Communist — an inhibited, embittered weakling who believes himself an idealist and embraces Communism as the cure for the world’s ills.”8

Regarding her theme, she describes different forms of second-handedness, by contrast with the first-handedness of her hero. Her notes explain how the motives and actions of Toohey, Keating, and Wynand demonstrate their fundamental dependence on others. Initially, it appears, she did not plan for Roark to deliver a speech articulating the principle by which he lived. Her notes indicate that the speech at the final trial was to be given by a distinguished old lawyer.

Although her notes are not always a coherent record of her work — many are undated, and some are cryptic — they show, in detail, how she criticized her prose (e.g., commenting to herself that her first description of Heller was “very bad”), how she decided to make cuts (e.g., noting that Roark does not need multiple girlfriends), how she gave herself “standing orders” about style (eliminating bromides) and content (eliminating redundancy). On February 18, 1940, she criticized her work to date on the first part of the novel and set forth principles for future writing and editing.9 She continued to monitor her progress and to articulate her principles of writing.

Her notes on her reading show that she was reading purposefully, with her novel in mind: for information about architecture in general (as art and as business), about modern architecture specifically (its practitioners and its critics). She would note, for example, that a particular critical statement was good material for Toohey, or she would ask herself what aspects of a project would depend on the architect, and which on the contractor.

Although not all of the notes are dated, the dated notes make clear that she began with the theme and the main characters and events (from December 1935 to March 1937); continued with notes on architectural books by such writers as Darcy Braddell, Lewis Mumford, and Alfred C. Bossom; and, in March 1938, returned to developing the plot. She began writing on June 26, 1938 (as noted above); but later outlined (or re-outlined) the highlights of sections as she progressed. For example, she wrote the final chapter outline for the second half of Part Two on December 17, 1941; she wrote the final chapter outline for Part Four on July 2, 1942.10

The notebooks are worth examining because they are Ayn Rand’s first steps toward the novel; the hints of the intentions she ultimately rejected are provocative. Her procedures are also evidence of her artistic policies, which we can see by tracing passages from the notebooks to the manuscript to the novel. Her notes for the Enright House party (April 22, 1940) describe her subject and the means, i.e., what she wanted to show (second-handedness in the social setting) and how she wanted to show it (through representative remarks).11 In the manuscript, she presents, virtually unchanged, the “what” in the form of Roark’s thoughts; she presents the “how” in a sequence of brief exchanges. In the final text of the novel, she removed Roark’s thoughts (and, as I will discuss later on, she was frequently to cut from the manuscript similar descriptions of his thoughts) and left only the short snatches of conversations. In The Fountainhead, in other words, she dispensed with the description of what she wished to show (a description she had initially transferred straight from the notes to the draft) and relied solely on the presentation of the evidence. There are many similar examples. In the final section of my essay, a section that is speculative, I will return to the notebooks to analyze them from the standpoint of a specific change in her thinking about her hero, i.e., Nietzsche-like elements.

The manuscripts of The Fountainhead consist of a holograph draft of approximately 2,300 pages, a typed draft that is incomplete, a third draft (complete and typed), and a set of galleys.12 In multiple drafts, Ayn Rand considered and revised the selection of ideas, incidents, and words. She did not preserve all the evidence of her work; sometimes she discarded pages, noting only that, e.g., “161–163 cut.” There are virtually no lapses in textual continuity in the holograph; nonetheless, the drafts, evidently, do not include all of the discards. But although the drafts do not constitute a full record of everything Ayn Rand did in the process of composing and editing, they reveal her intense dedication, her choices, and her command of her craft. As evidence of her purposeful choices, the drafts can serve as a guide to looking more closely at the details and character of the novel, the achieved result of those choices.

'The notebooks are worth examining because they are Ayn Rand's first steps toward the novel; the hints of the intentions she ultimately rejected are provocative.' Share on X

The holograph draft contains much material that will be unfamiliar to the reader of The Fountainhead, especially in the earlier parts of the novel. Ayn Rand deliberately wrote more than she expected to use; as she explained to her editor, Archibald Ogden (who thought that the first third of the novel was much too long), she wanted to have the entire novel completed before deciding what, in view of the whole, must be included.13 Some of the omitted scenes are easily legible in the manuscript; others are present but crossed out; it is possible that some scenes have been removed without a trace. Among the discarded scenes and sequences are Roark’s romances with Vesta Dunning and Heddy Adler; several additional scenes featuring Roark’s relationship with Henry Cameron; Ralston Holcombe’s job offer to Roark; Peter Keating’s dishonest scheme against Tim Davis; Roark’s association with Larry Dwight (a fellow draftsman at the office of John Erik Snyte); Roark’s reading of the writings of Austen Heller (along with more information about Heller’s crusades and friendship with Roark); additional conversations between Roark and Steven Mallory; a long, one-sided conversation between Roark and Toohey; and a meeting Roark attends of the New League of Proletarian Art.14

She ultimately decided, she said, to omit some scenes and sequences because they contributed nothing that was not expressed better elsewhere, or because they interfered with the overall design. One example was a sequence of scenes involving Vesta Dunning, a talented, ambitious actress romantically involved with Roark, whose desire for the approval of others was a breach in her integrity. Unable to sustain her relationship with Roark or her pursuit of her art, she was to be shown, in Part Four, as ultimately miserable and defeated.

I cut her out before I finished the book. It was after I finished Part Three, which is the Gail Wynand part, that I realized that Vesta Dunning was a variant of the same problem, in relation to the theme . . . as a person of great talent who should have been great, but didn’t quite hold out . . . it would then have taken an awful lot of psychological study and details about her, which would interfere with the major action, because she would not have been integrated to Roark’s life at all. . . . Also, it would have spoiled the nature of his relationship with Dominique. The fact that Dominique was the only woman in his life stands out better without the other relationship.15

She comments that her overall purpose guided her and that she was happy to excise repetitious parts in order to achieve the purposeful succinctness of the whole.

Her focus on her theme, on her overall purpose, governed not only the larger-scale changes (e.g., the removal of characters and sequences) she made in the drafts, but also the line-editing of descriptions, conversations, and speeches. My examples are representative rather than exhaustive. From her earliest notes (December 4, 1935), she had identified the theme as the conflict between the first-handers, who use their own minds to know the world and to choose their values, and the second-handers, who “shift the center” of their lives from their own judgments and values to those of others.16 The editing process shows her attempt not only to dramatize first- and second-handedness in characterizations, but also to make the reader’s experience true to the theme. Roark is progressively revealed as first-handed not only in his attitude to his work, but also in his every act and utterance. The reader, too, is invited to be a first-hander. As Ayn Rand composes and edits the text, she concretizes characters to the point that the reader is able to grasp directly the characters’ premises and basic values. The method of the editorial revisions coheres precisely with her theme.

In her important notes to herself of February 18, 1940, she wonders if she has given away too much of Roark too soon in the beginning of the novel.17 Her revisions of the opening chapter, accordingly, show her shortening the description of Roark’s thoughts, especially the thoughts he has while standing on the cliff, before the reader has seen him in action. She also revised, extensively, the conversation between Roark and his former Dean, to stress Roark’s first-handedness; she did so in a way that encourages the reader to observe closely the action and the dialogue, and not to rely on summary. The details speak “for themselves”: everything in the substance and manner of Roark’s behavior serves to develop his characterization. And, by reducing narrative summary, Ayn Rand gives the reader little opportunity to escape the responsibility of paying attention to the facts presented.

In the draft, the Dean says: “My dear fellow, who will want to give you work now?” Roark, in the draft, replies: “I believe I know someone who will” (I, 51–52). The Dean insultingly implies, by his rhetorical question, that Roark is unemployable as an architect, and Roark, without challenging the implication that work is something to be “given” to him, responds that he is indeed employable, that he believes he knows someone who will give him work. Roark’s reply allows the Dean to dominate the conversation; by conceding that work is to be “given,” Roark, in the draft, subordinates himself both to the Dean and to the hypothetical “givers” of work.

In the final, edited text, by contrast, the Dean asks: “How do you expect to force your ideas on [clients]?” Roark replies: “I don’t propose to force or be forced. Those who want me will come to me.” (26) Roark does not accept the terms of his interlocutor. When insulted, he does not reply with a boast on the order of “I will force them to accept my ideas by . . . .” Roark instead changes the terms of the discussion, eliminates force from the discussion, and confidently states that clients who value his work will seek him out.

Other editorial changes show a similar pattern of highlighting Roark’s independent judgment and eliminating any suggestion of his dependence on other people’s judgments, on other minds. The Dean, in the draft, continues to insult Roark, saying “You are a megalomaniac,” and Roark, in the draft, responds, “I have been told that before” (I, 52), as if he has been keeping track of the opinions of other people, as if he regards their views of his nature as a potentially valuable source of reliable information.

But Roark, as a first-hander, would not consider other people as authorities on such a matter as his character.

The edited text, by contrast, has a new and revealing passage. In the final text, the Dean says:

“You know, . . . you would sound much more convincing if you spoke as if you cared whether I agreed with you or not.” “That’s true,” said Roark. “I don’t care whether you agree with me or not.” He said it so simply that it did not sound offensive, it sounded like the statement of a fact which he noticed, puzzled, for the first time. (26)

The Dean’s insult and Roark’s response are directly focused on first-versus-second-handedness. When Roark says “That’s true,” he does not mean that the Dean’s assertion is true, i.e., that he, Roark, would be more convincing if he sounded as if he cared about the Dean’s agreement. Roark does not care to sound “more convincing” to this Dean and has no interest in hearing how to achieve a goal that is not his. But Roark, instead of taking offense at the insult, and instead of trying to learn how his attitude affects other people, takes from the Dean’s statement the single feature that interests him: an observation about his own nature that his own judgment confirms. As edited and improved, Roark’s response better reflects his first-handedness.

At the end of the conversation, when the Dean — in the draft and also in the final text — tells Roark, “You are a man not to be encouraged. You are dangerous,” Roark, in the draft, responds: “That defines those to whom I am dangerous” (I, 52). The tone is uncharacteristically stiff and formal, indicative of a degree of care and attention: the draft’s Roark is delivering a diagnosis of his opponents. Roark’s response in the final, edited version of the text is different. When the Dean says, “You are dangerous,” Roark replies, briefly, directly, and dismissively: “To whom?” The first version focuses on the nature of his opponents; the second version dismisses the Dean’s comment as insignificant. The revised version of Roark’s response emphasizes the nature of Roark himself rather than the definition of his enemies: the implied grammatical subject of Roark’s sentence — “To whom [am I dangerous]?” is “I.”

The revised exchange is well integrated with another small episode earlier in the conversation. The Dean asks: “My dear fellow, who will let you [build that way]?” Roark replies: “That’s not the point. The point is, who will stop me?” (23). Roark’s response in this earlier exchange makes explicit his dismissal of the Dean’s notion that building requires permission; there as here, Roark focuses instead on his own concerns. For Roark, certain that no one can stop him, “who will stop me?” is a rhetorical question. His implicit self-confidence explains why he does not need to answer the Dean’s inquiry (“who will let you?”).

At the end of the scene, Ayn Rand’s editing sharpens the characterization and the context with simple omissions. In the draft, Roark “bowed and left the room. ‘The professor of mathematics,’ thought the Dean, looking at the closed door, ‘is crazy’” (I, 52). For the final text, Ayn Rand removed the Dean’s thoughts. To include them is not only to feature the Dean more prominently than necessary, but to repeat what is already known.

The scene has already made abundantly clear that, for the Dean, adherence to tradition overrides any attention to engineering, which is important to the math professor. From the characterization of Roark, moreover, Ayn Rand removed the inconsistent touch of a bow. Although Roark is polite to the Dean, he is not deferential; to include the bow is to emphasize respect, which Roark does not believe the Dean deserves — not for his views on architecture, and not for his character.

An additional instance of purposeful editing appears in Roark’s post-interview thoughts about the character of the Dean. In the draft: “He understood the Dean, and he had understood men such as the Dean long ago, and it had ceased to disturb him. But he still wondered, and he wondered about it often, what made those men such as they were” (I, 53). The description, in the draft, appears self-contradictory: if Roark has to wonder, often, what made men such as the Dean such as they were, how can he be said to understand them at all, much less to have understood them “long ago”? Moreover, why would a first-hander wonder, and wonder often, about other people?

The final, edited text is significantly different: “He had met many men such as the Dean; he had never understood them. He knew only that there was some important difference between his actions and theirs. It had ceased to disturb him long ago.” (27) The revised text distinguishes between what Roark grasps (that these men are essentially unlike him) and what he does not grasp (what that essential difference is). The draft, with the word “often,” undercuts Roark’s basic imperviousness to other people — “he wondered about it often.” In the final text, by contrast: “But he wondered, at times, what made them such as they were.” The “long ago” applies not to his understanding of them — because, in fact, he does not understand them even now — but to his long-standing serenity: “it had ceased to disturb him long ago.”

Within the same passage, Ayn Rand adds several sentences that, not yet present in the first draft, figure significantly in the final text: “But he always looked for a central theme in buildings and he looked for a central impulse in men. He knew the source of his actions; he could not discover theirs. . . . He had never learned the process of thinking about other people.” These new sentences may be Ayn Rand’s response to her advice to herself in the notes of February 18, 1940: “Roark looking for the ‘stamp’ on faces — should be planted earlier and separately and more importantly.”18 The sentences clarify the contrast between Roark’s nature and the nature of second-handers, and also place the paragraph’s emphasis more powerfully on Roark and not on other people.

The manuscript of the early chapters of The Fountainhead contains numerous changes — small yet significant — in expression and emphasis. Even after years of preparation, Ayn Rand spent many months writing and rewriting the opening chapters, to clarify and enhance the theme. But her editing was not limited to the beginning of the book. Similarly purposeful revisions are apparent in her editing of Roark’s speech at the Cortlandt trial. She was writing rapidly, contract in hand, to meet her publication deadline. The manuscript, nonetheless, shows her in the act of revising her text to emphasize her theme.

First-handedness is important not only in the speech itself, but in the introduction. Although Roark is speaking in public, he is not primarily concerned with his audience. Before “a hostile crowd,” Roark stands “as each man stands in the innocence of his own mind” (677). The draft also contains the following sentence: “No one ever knew that the moment preceding his speech had held the essence of human brotherhood” (IV, 568). The sentence was intended to convey that the independence represented by Roark is a prerequisite for any healthy human bond. But the sentence, as originally written, calls attention to the fact that no one ever understood the event in this way.

Ayn Rand drew a line through this sentence, probably on the spot. In editing, she removed the assertion of a conclusion not reached first-hand by the individuals present. The account in the final text reports specifically the actual thoughts of the audience, rather than the conclusion no one ever knew. Roark moves his audience to emulate, to some degree, his independent stance: he inspires each of the jurors and spectators to experience independence.

For the flash of an instant, they grasped the manner of his consciousness. Each asked himself: “do I need anyone’s approval? — does it matter? — am I tied?” And for that instant, each man was free — free enough to feel benevolence for every other man in the room. It was only a moment: the moment of silence when Roark was about to speak. (677)

The description here includes a point made in the discarded sentence, i.e., that only an independent person can be benevolent toward others. The final version is superior because it limits the reader to what the characters knew first-hand and does not rely on the narrator as an expert, uninvolved witness.

Ayn Rand’s revision of the aftermath of the speech is similarly purposeful, both in what it adds and what it omits. When the jury returns to deliver its verdict, and the prisoner is asked to rise and face the jury, Ayn Rand added, between the lines, the following sentence: “At the back of the room, Wynand got up and stood also” (I, 594). She edited the text to show that Wynand, Roark’s tragic foil, knew that he was also on trial. A first-hander in his soul, he has acted as a second-hander in the pursuit of power. When she adds a line indicating that Wynand stands, she shows that this trial concerns not only Roark’s guilt or innocence regarding a particular act, but the thematic conflict between the first-hander and the second-hander, as dramatized in the contrast between the heroic ideal and his foil. The final text of this chapter concludes with Wynand’s departure: “The first movement of Roark’s head was not to look at the city in the window, at the judge or at Dominique. He looked at Wynand. Wynand turned sharply and walked out. He was the first man to leave the courtroom” (686). Her edited version not only reports (as did the draft) that Wynand left first, but emphasizes the fact by having him rise when Roark rises, and by ending the chapter when Wynand walks out.

In the draft, by contrast, the chapter ends as follows: “The rest of the audience did not move to go. The commentators could not explain it afterwards: the audience was cheering” (IV, 595). In editing the chapter, Ayn Rand crossed out those sentences, which emphasize the crowd’s behavior and the commentators’ lack of comprehension. The revised conclusion focuses not on the crowd or the commentators, but on a single man. For Wynand, the outcome of the trial was the demonstration of the tragic futility of his self-betrayal.

Ayn Rand’s editing of the trial speech itself emphasized first-handedness by removing specific historical and political references to the world outside the novel. Ayn Rand chose to omit references to Caesar, the Crusades, the Inquisition, Robespierre, Napoleon, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler.19 In making some of these omissions, she was following the advice of Isabel Paterson, who suggested that she cut the references to contemporary politics because “the theme of your book is wider than the politics of the moment.”20 Because the theme of The Fountainhead is “individualism and collectivism, not in politics, but in man’s soul,”21 the theme is wider than not only the politics of the moment, but also politics itself. Ayn Rand cut not only Stalin, but also Robespierre. By removing from Roark’s speech the political references, therefore, Ayn Rand was editing her book to be more focused on its theme.

She also chose to omit several other specific historical references. The manuscript supplies names for the heroes described in the paragraph beginning “Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision” and ending “They fought, they suffered — and they paid. But they won” (678). In both draft and text, Roark refers to creators and to their achievements (the airplane, the power loom, anesthesia, etc.). But the manuscript had listed additional such heroes.

Ayn Rand originally intended to take the reader farther away from the events of the novel itself. On a hard-to-read page, with many cross-outs, Ayn Rand originally had Roark provide a list of creators and an inventory of their suffering:

Socrates, poisoned by order of the democracy of Athens. Jesus Christ against the majority of (indecipherable) crucified. Joan D’Arc, who was burned at the stake. Galileo, made to renounce his soul. Spinoza, excommunicated. Luther, hounded. Victor Hugo, exiled for twenty years. Richard Wagner, writing musical comedies for a living, denounced by the musicians of his time, hissed, opposed, pronounced unmusical. Tchaikovsky, struggling through years of loneliness without recognition. Nietzsche, dying in an insane asylum, friendless and unheard. Ibsen [indecipherable] his own country. Dostoevsky, facing an execution squad and pardoned to a Siberian prison. The list is endless. (IV, 570)

Ayn Rand edited out the endless list. Suffering, to begin with, is less important, in this speech, than achievement; for this reason, Ayn Rand also removed the sentence stating that the “history of mankind[’s] benefactors is the history of martyrs.” Although Roark does not minimize the price paid by the creators, he would not wish to claim their pain as a value. To describe their specific suffering without also acclaiming their specific achievements would not suit his purpose; to explain, at his trial, the contributions made by Socrates, Galileo, Hugo, and the others would turn the speech into a history lesson. To make his point at his trial, Roark does not need such a list. To grasp his point, the reader does not need such a list. Roark himself is Ayn Rand’s dramatic example of the struggle and achievement of the first-hander, the individual of unborrowed vision.

Roark is not merely one in a long line of creators. The others, to be sure, are analogous to Roark in some respects; their lives, however, are not heroic in all respects. By removing the references, Ayn Rand leads the reader to focus not on such flawed individuals as Luther or Wagner, but on the character of Roark, who exemplifies first-handedness more purely and powerfully than any of the actual historical figures.

In two instances, Ayn Rand’s omission of references within Roark’s trial speech appears to stem from a policy, evident in other contexts within the novel, of curtailing allusions to religion and to Nietzsche, two forms of pseudo-first-handedness. The final text of the speech contains the following sentence: “Men have come close to the truth, but it was destroyed each time . . .” (683). When Ayn Rand composed this passage, she initially made Roark much more explicit about what “coming close” might mean.

Christ proclaimed the untouchable integrity of Man’s spirit, stating[?] the first rights of the Ego. He placed the salvation of one’s own soul above all other concerns. But men distorted it into altruism. Nietzsche, who loved Man, fought against altruism — and destroyed his own case by preaching the Will to Power, a second-hander’s pursuit. (IV, 588a)

In her “Introduction to the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition” of The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand discusses both religion and Nietzsche. She explains that, when she had Roark speak of “the highest religious abstraction,” she meant not “religion as such,” but “man’s code of good and evil, with the emotional connotations of height, uplift, nobility, reverence, grandeur, which pertain to the realm of man’s values, but which religion has arrogated to itself” (viii). She did not, of course, intend the phrase “the highest religious abstraction” as an endorsement of religion, but she did not explain, within the novel, her purpose in using the phrase. In the introduction, she takes the opportunity of clarifying her position instead of leaving it “to implications.” Ayn Rand also quotes a passage from Section 287 of Part 9 (“What Is Noble”) of Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil:

It is not the works, but the belief which is here decisive and determines the order of rank — to employ once more an old religious formula with a new and deeper meaning — it is some fundamental certainty which a noble soul has about itself, something which is not to be sought, is not to be found, and perhaps, also, is not to be lost. — The noble soul has reverence for itself. —22

She states that Nietzsche, in spite of his mysticism and irrationalism, “as a poet, . . . projects at times (not consistently) a magnificent feeling for man’s greatness. . . .” Although Ayn Rand removed the quotation, which she had placed at the head of her manuscript, from the published book, she loved the exalted sense of life it expresses. “With this opportunity to explain it, I am glad to bring it back” (x).

Ayn Rand recognized that religious language can have the noble emotional connotations of “man’s dedication to a moral ideal”(ix) and that Nietzsche’s language “sums up the emotional consequences for which The Fountainhead provides the rational, philosophical base” (x). It is not surprising that her drafts for The Fountainhead included references, implicit and explicit, to religion and to Nietzsche. But Ayn Rand was fundamentally opposed to religion and to Nietzsche’s philosophy, and did not wish to endorse either of them. In editing The Fountainhead, therefore, Ayn Rand reduced or removed references to both.

First-handedness, the novel’s moral ideal, is associated through language with religion’s ideal, or God. The night after Wynand betrays Roark is one example. Realizing that he has continually betrayed his own soul, Wynand walks through the city and — in both the draft and the final text — speaks the words of confession: “Mea culpa — mea culpa — mea maxima culpa” (662).23 The drafts, however, had a long additional passage in which the human creative act is described in divine terms. Wynand says:

I had the only sacred attribute among the endowments of man. The touch of God. The quality of Roark’s nature, which he recognized in me as I recognized it in him. The faculty of being a source and a beginning. Whatever the goal, I had the means of creation. Whatever the achievement, I was one of those who can achieve. I built the Banner. I fought for it, and there was fire in the fight, and courage, and gallantry. I loved the Banner. Because I had made it. May God now damn me for it. That was the sin for which there is no forgiveness. That I took genius and placed it in the service of the unspeakable. (IV, 521)

The final text, which drops the references to the “touch of God” and the unforgivable “sin,” loses nothing. The episode ends, poignantly, with the words: “I was not born to be a second-hander.” The term “second-hander” is specific to the novel; Wynand has learned from Roark the concept and the term.

The manuscript version, moreover, had an additional paragraph, a quotation from the Bible: Matthew 12:31–32:

All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

The quotation contrasts blasphemy against the Son of man, which is forgivable, with blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which is not. Wynand has betrayed not only Roark, his friend, at this moment, but his own soul, his spirit, throughout his life. Roark’s forgiveness, then, even though it is freely offered, is not sufficient, and Wynand does not accept it because it does not solve his problem.

The Biblical quotation adds nothing but a distracting association with religion. Removing the paragraph gives Wynand, not the Bible, the last word — as he pronounces his spiritual death sentence. In editing the manuscript, Ayn Rand removes many such religious references, including Mallory’s thought that “In the beginning was the Word” (IV, 15) and Roark’s proclamation, in his speech to the jury, of loyalty to his “faith,” “whose purpose, in the words of my own religious catechism, is: to praise man and glorify him forever” (IV, 593). The Roark we know does not make a point of invoking religion, even if he accepts Hopton Stoddard’s statement (ghostwritten by Ellsworth Toohey) that Roark is a religious man in his own way (319).

She pursued a similar policy in removing not only the passage from Nietzsche that had stood at the head of her manuscript, but all explicit references to Nietzsche. Not only had Ayn Rand selected a Nietzsche quotation for the novel as a whole, she had also selected one for each of the novel’s four sections.24 The epigraph for “Peter Keating” was excerpted from Section 261 of Beyond Good and Evil.

Vanity is one of the things which are perhaps most difficult for the noble man to understand: he will be tempted to deny it, where another kind of man thinks he sees it self-evidently. The problem for him is to represent to his mind beings who seek to arouse a good opinion of themselves which they do not possess — and consequently also do not “deserve” — and who yet believe in this good opinion afterwards.25

Nietzsche’s passage suggests the first-hander’s difficulty in understanding the second-hander.

The epigraph to “Ellsworth Toohey” was drawn from Part II of Thus Spake Zarathustra (“The Tarantulas”): “Ye preachers of equality, the tyrant-frenzy of impotence crieth thus in you for ‘equality’; your most secret tyrant-longings disguise themselves thus in virtue-words!”26 Nietzsche’s sentences (and those that immediately follow) suggest that professional egalitarians are motivated by envy and power-lust.

The epigraph to “Gail Wynand” is taken from Part I of Thus Spake Zarathustra (“The Tree on the Hill”): “But by my love and hope I conjure thee: cast not away the hero in thy soul: Maintain holy thy highest hope!”27 Gail Wynand, not born to be a second-hander, has cast away the hero in his soul.28 The paragraphs preceding the sentence Ayn Rand quoted are also pertinent here:

Ah! I have known noble ones who lost their highest hope. And then they disparaged all high hopes.

Then lived they shamelessly in temporary pleasures, and beyond the day had hardly an aim.

“Spirit is also voluptuousness,” — said they. Then broke the wings of their spirit; and now it creepeth about, and defileth where it gnaweth.

Once they thought of becoming heroes; but sensualists are they now. A trouble and a terror is the hero to them.

The epigraph to “Howard Roark” is excerpted from Section 12 of the essay “‘Good and Evil,’ ‘Good and Bad,’” in On the Genealogy of Morals.

But from time to time do ye grant me — one glimpse, grant me but one glimpse only, of something perfect, fully realized, happy, mighty, triumphant, of something that still gives cause for fear! A glimpse of man that justifies the existence of man, a glimpse of an incarnate human happiness that realizes and redeems, for the sake of which one may hold fast to the belief in man!29

The victory of Howard Roark is indeed a “glimpse of man that justifies the existence of man.”

One can see the appeal of Nietzsche’s poetry and the significance of the passages Ayn Rand selected. But she could hardly quote the passages without naming him, and to do so might have been taken as an endorsement. To feature another writer prominently in her own art, moreover, is to place herself, as a writer, in his shadow. She decided to do otherwise.

Ayn Rand also removed an explicit reference to Nietzsche within the text of the novel. Speaking with Steven Mallory after the Stoddard Temple trial, Roark, in the draft, starts by quoting from Part I (“Voluntary Death”) of Thus Spake Zarathustra. “That your dying may not be a reproach to man and the earth, my friend: that do I solicit for the honey of your soul.”30 Roark continues:

Your dying — or your suffering. Oh, can’t you understand it? To love the earth . . . so much that your sense of the world cannot include suffering as a basic factor. To suffer, if necessary, but never completely, never losing the vision, never letting your suffering deny it, so that you never become a solid screaming pain and twist the world into a mere bandage. To keep that sense of the world within you alive because that is what man’s life was meant to be, and is. That, Steve, is the way I want to suffer and the way I want to die some day. (II, 563)

Nietzsche says that one must die in a spirit befitting the glory of life; Roark says that neither suffering nor death can be allowed to destroy one’s love for life. Although Roark’s attitude regarding pain is an important element of Roark’s character, this particular quotation, with its emphasis on death, is not the best match for his spirit.

After the revisions, what was left in the text of Nietzsche’s language? First, Ayn Rand included an indirect allusion in Ellsworth Toohey’s column on the Stoddard Temple: “It is not our function — paraphrasing a philosopher whom we do not like — to be a fly swatter, but when a fly acquires delusions of grandeur, the best of us must stoop to do a little job of extermination” (338). The philosopher he does not like is Nietzsche; the passage he paraphrases appears in Part I of Thus Spake Zarathustra (“The Flies of the Marketplace”).31

This subtle allusion was acceptable in the context of the novel. The endorsement issue, to begin with, does not arise. That Toohey dislikes Nietzsche does not necessarily mean that Ayn Rand admires him. It is entirely characteristic of Toohey, moreover, to minimize the significance of philosophy by treating it as a matter of likes and dislikes. And the passage itself is an ironic choice for Toohey, who is himself the fly with delusions of grandeur, a creature whom Roark and Wynand deem unworthy of swatting.

Toohey alludes again to Nietzsche by printing in the Banner a photograph of Roark “at the opening of the Enright House, the photograph of a man’s face in a moment of exaltation,” with the caption: “Are you happy, Mr. Superman?” (342). Toohey’s offensive rhetorical question implies that Nietzsche’s “Overman,” his image of the noble hero, is ludicrous to contemplate (as for him, perhaps, it was ludicrous to attempt to achieve it).

The final allusion to Nietzsche appears in Roark’s letter to Wynand after Wynand’s act of self-betrayal. Roark writes: “What you think you’ve lost can neither be lost nor found” (664). Ayn Rand here has Roark come close to quoting the passage she had originally placed at the head of her manuscript: “some fundamental certainty which a noble soul has about itself, something which is not to be sought, is not to be found, and, perhaps, also is not to be lost.” She removed the quotation, but retained the echo.

One more echo is found within her introduction to the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of The Fountainhead, the very place where she took the opportunity to clarify her position regarding Nietzsche. She wrote: “This is one of the cardinal reasons of The Fountainhead’s lasting appeal: it is a confirmation of the spirit of youth, proclaiming man’s glory, showing how much is possible.” The expression “how much is possible” had earlier been featured in the thoughts of Kira Argounova in We the Living. Kira had thought about the “streets of a big city where so much is possible”; she had sent Leo off to the south to be cured of his illness, saying “I love you. So much is still possible!” When she died, she “smiled, her last smile, to so much that had been possible.”32 This sentiment, as we shall see, is proclaimed, repeatedly, in Thus Spake Zarathustra: “How many things are still possible!”33

Two additional special sorts of omissions are evident in Ayn Rand’s editing of the characterization of Roark: she limited, severely, his thoughts and comments about his relationship with Dominique, and she removed many passages tracing his progress toward discovering the principle of first-handedness.

First, the romance with Dominique, which, in Ayn Rand’s view, was the “ideal romance,” and which, at first, she intended to narrate, in large part, from the viewpoint of her ideal man. In the final text of the novel, the relationship is presented overwhelmingly (though not exclusively) from Dominique’s point of view. In the first draft, Roark has more much to say and to think about their romance as seen in their first meeting. The novel describes Dominique’s thoughts about her first sight of Roark. And what does Roark think? The novel is silent on that point — except for what one can infer from Dominique’s observations and from Roark’s subsequent behavior. In the first draft, by contrast:

Roark looked at her. His first glance at her had been a perception not of sight, but of touch; it was the consciousness not of a visual presence, but of a slap in the face. He grasped nothing save a challenge like an explosion, like a scream. Then he saw it was a woman standing on the rocks above, a woman with an invisible stamp, his own stamp, upon a white face that presented to him the final, the complete reality of what he had sought, of what he had found but a hint of in others. That face was freedom — a freedom proud enough to warrant enchainment [?]; it was strength — sure enough of itself to deserve to be fought; it was will — great enough for the honor of being broken. He stood very still looking at her as at a mirror, to reflect his power, and knew that he wanted to break this woman. But he did not state what form the act of breaking her was to assume, because he knew it, because there was but one way to it, and more — because she knew, because she was held by that knowledge. [crossed out:He felt his tongue press against his teeth, shut tight together. His fingers closed about the handle of the drill as if about her wrist; had it been her wrist, the bones would have broken.]

Were they to speak of it for the rest of their lives, they could have added nothing; everything was said as they looked silently at each other. There were many things in that glance, but above all there was a pledge, cold and quiet in its finality, like an ultimatum declaring a war. (II, 15–15a)

In the draft, when Dominique sees Roark enter her home, she whispers: “What do you want?” He answers: “You know what I want” (II, 65). In the final text, they say nothing; at this dramatic moment, they understand each other without words, and the novel stresses that silent understanding. Ayn Rand originally planned to echo this exchange later in the novel. After learning that the man from the quarry is the architect of the Enright House, Dominique goes to Roark’s apartment. He asks: “What do you want?” She replies: “You know what I want” (272). Although removing the exchange from the first scene resulted in removing the piquant contrast with the second scene, Ayn Rand decided to do so anyway, to avoid interfering with the drama of the wordless romantic encounter.

She shortened, too, the identification of Dominique’s emotions during that first encounter: “She fought because she could not bear the pleasure. She fought because she hated herself for that pleasure. She fought him because she wanted him too much” (II, 68). In editing this passage, Ayn Rand removed the over-explicit description of Dominique’s consciousness. Roark, of course, understands without words everything Dominique does not say.

The two of them have always understood each other without words. “They could always speak like this to each other, continuing a conversation they had not begun” (344). “They stood silently before each other for a moment, and she thought that the most beautiful words were those which were not needed” (374). “We never need to say anything to each other when we’re together” (376).

In the draft, Dominique admits, later on, that she knew he could read her soul: “I lied when I fought against you. I wanted it then — I wanted what you did to me — you knew it” (II, 240). In the final text, Ayn Rand makes clear Dominique’s willing embrace of Roark not only through the entire context of the Connecticut episode, but also through a phrase added for the final text: “the kind of rapture she had wanted” (217). No part of “she had wanted” is hard to understand; that some readers have missed the point does not mean Ayn Rand did not make it.

Here is a similarly over-explicit passage. At a time when Roark is trying to build his career and Dominique is trying to destroy it, they spend evenings together at a country inn. The nights are mentioned in the final text (310), but without any of the following dialogue, which appears in the first draft. Dominique asks:

“You’re very busy at the office these days, aren’t you?”


“I wonder why you take time to think of me or to come here with me.”

He answered: “Don’t you know that designing a building is overcoming a terrible resistance? I don’t mean from clients and people. I mean, in the act of designing itself. It’s facing a raw chaos where anything is possible and making it take on a single possibility, yours, making it take your rules, your shape, your meaning. It’s an act of conquest. Every good building, like any living thing, has the coherence of a single, organized purpose. The giving of a purpose is the giving of life. Look at any organism. And it’s the great, dead, formless, purposeless mass of the undifferentiated that fights the thing being torn out of it and the man who tears it out. Haven’t you ever laughed at the damn fools who think of an artist as gentle — and give him birds, flowers or clouds for a symbol? The artist has only one symbol — the sword. All art is an act of conquest. Every single thing worth doing is an act of conquest. Being alive is an act of conquest.” He smiled and leaned closer to her. “Well, do you think I’m being inconsistent when I come here? A man who loves his work can’t seek rest in its opposite or in forgetting it completely. That would be the most exhausting kind of torture possible. He can seek pleasure only in another form of the same struggle. In another resistance. In another conquest.”

He threw the blanket off her naked body, but he did not touch her; he sat looking at her. Then he added: “Do you want it said clearer? I like to come here because I know what you went through before you came here. That you fought against coming because you wanted it too much. That you lie here, wishing me not to touch you — because you want it too much. That every time I kiss you, it’s an act of violation — but that you welcome the violation, and the agony, and the struggle, because you want all of it as I want it, because you want nothing except as I want it. Because I . . .”

But he did not say the word. His mouth was on hers. She whispered only: “Yes, Roark . . . . Yes. . . .” (II, 351–53)

Why did Ayn Rand edit out these and similar passages (including, for example, his waiting for her, in Part Two, to come to his apartment after she has learned who he is, or his explaining to her, in Part Three, why he does not want her to spend the night with him in Ohio)? Because, I believe, she considered this sort of explanation highly inappropriate for Roark’s style as we see it and him for most of the novel. For him to speak at length — as he does, finally, with Wynand on the yacht, or as he does at his second trial — is what we have been waiting for, and the waiting, perhaps, is itself a point. The explanations offered in the unpublished passages are, in essentials, consistent with Roark’s characterization, but the act of explaining at length (to himself or to anyone else) is not. In Ayn Rand’s esthetic, moreover, the artist’s job is to develop character through action — and a good description of action does not require separate commentary. Concretizing the human ideal, projecting the ideal man, means showing him in action — not telling about him or letting him tell about himself. In editing The Fountainhead, she acted on the premise that certain insights should be inferred by the reader, rather than supplied by the writer.

This point — that Ayn Rand’s esthetic encourages active reading — is relevant to my second group of passages, all of which concern some degree of uncertainty or lack of clarity on Roark’s part, whether explicit (not knowing the explanation for what other people are, what he is, and what the difference is) or implicit (believing that he should act differently, or experiencing some degree of hesitation, or actually approaching some degree of second-handedness). Some of these passages delineate Roark’s thinking as he wonders about the principle behind the Dean, and the eureka moment when he reaches an answer.

Consider the following scene, in which Roark looks at his name on the door of his first office:

He stood in the hall for a long time, looking at that inscription. Then he thought suddenly that his eyes were not looking at it, but that he was trying to give his eyes the glances of other people who would pass down the hall and read it. He felt astonished and ashamed without reason. He went in, and slammed his door; he picked up a T-square from his desk and flung it down again carelessly, noisily, as if throwing an anchor. (I, 441)

It is difficult to imagine the Roark we know as being “ashamed without reason,” or as second-handed in any way.

Here is an example of Roark telling himself that he ought to worry more than he does about the world of other people, the commissions he is not receiving:

Those things happening to him, in those offices of strangers, were only details, unsubstantial incidents in the path of a substance they could not reach or touch. Nothing was happening to him, it was happening only in that secondary reality, in that sub-reality called himself-among-other-men. And he had no time to think of that too much: no time and no room in those boundaries within him, which were too full. He shrugged and went on, thinking that he should experience more anxiety about it, telling himself dutifully that he was anxious, that he was afraid, wondering why he could not feel it, not as a close, driving pain, not as a wrench upon his senses, the senses that remained stubbornly untouched, open, serene. (I, 342)

Compare this passage with the equivalent in the novel (101–2). It is difficult to imagine Roark wondering why he does not feel more afraid or anxious than he does.

There are a large number of passages in which Roark considers, but does not resolve, the issue of the difference between himself and others. Here, for example, is a longer version of the conversation with Austen Heller that appears in the text (159–60). In the first draft, Roark says, among other things:

I’d beg, if I could. Only I can’t. I don’t know how. I’m not unwilling. I’m merely a cripple, in some respect. . . . There’s something missing in me. I know it, I’ve always known it. But I don’t know what it is. Something I have, that stops me, or something I’ve never had and should? I don’t know. And I guess I’m calloused. I know that thing about myself and I wonder about it sometimes, but I can’t make myself worry, and perhaps I should. (I, 526)

He goes on to talk, as he does in the final text, about the principle behind his “kind of people.” He considers the matter, but does so, at this point, without the continual worrying.

Here are Roark’s thoughts, in the first draft, about the commissions he refuses (e.g., the request for an English Tudor cottage):

It seemed to him that each time he refused a commission, he was not losing one client: he was losing many. . . [In] corners unknown to him, some man with a building to be erected would pause for a moment of consideration before his name and would be stopped by a friend, some friend who had never seen Roark and who would say: “Roark? Oh no, not Roark! I hear he’s impossible to get along with!” He knew this was happening, he wondered about it, but it did not disturb him, even though he told himself that it should. . . . (I, 574–75)

In the final text, he is aware of the rumors, but does not tell himself that he should be disturbed (174–75).

In the first draft of the Enright House party, Roark is described as “willing to learn anything, even this”:

Then Roark was introduced to many people and many people spoke to him. He listened, he looked about him, without resentment, in helpless bewilderment. He had decided not to be bored, he had decided to understand, [crossed out: Heller and Keating were right,] he had to learn and he was willing to learn anything, even this, if this was what people wanted of him, if this was what he had to give while they would give him buildings and let him build as he pleased, in exchange for seeing him in a drawing-room. . . . (II, 210)

They did not seek to see him; they sought to be seen by him. . . . It was an immense concern with one’s brothers, leading to the hatred of one’s brothers.

Roark saw this without understanding. He thought helplessly: that’s what it is, but why? Why? He found no answer, and no one could have given him an answer; none could see the answer, because no one saw even the fact itself. Why, thought Roark. (II, 213–14)

You can see the pattern: Roark asks a question, the asking suggests the answer, he does not reach the answer, he moves on. Among the similar passages is a crossed-out remark he makes to Wynand, in the first draft, in which he says, “There’s something involved that I’ve never been able to state. And I’ve always wanted to. Perhaps I will, some day” (IV, 102; 548 in the novel).

For Roark, in the first draft, there is a eureka moment on Wynand’s yacht (IV, 300–305 in the first draft; 603–4 in the novel). “Roark was looking at that which he had worked to discover all his life.” The moment comes when Wynand is talking about altruism and altruists, and he names Stalin and Hitler. Roark says: “There’s another name for altruism,” and then he says: “Oh God, Gail! . . . God help you!” Also on the page, we see that he says — as he does in the final text — “Yes, Gail,” with what Wynand hears as “a reluctance that sounds almost like sadness.” He continues: “It’s just something I thought . . . I’ve been thinking of this for a long time. And particularly all these days when you’ve made me lie on deck and loaf.” When Wynand asks him what he’s been thinking about, Roark says: “Something I’ve known all my life, but couldn’t understand. This is the first time I was able to stop and bring it all into order. Now I have. Now I know. The principle behind the Dean who fired me from Stanton.” The final text of the novel includes the scene in which Ayn Rand originally planned to include this eureka moment. Roark indeed refers, during the yacht trip, to grasping the principle behind the Dean. But the moment is not presented as a dramatic, emphatic event. We need to infer its equivalent.

The first draft presents the eureka moment as Roark’s discovery of the principle, as if he had not grasped it until that instant. The final version, to be sure, makes clear that Roark at one time did not grasp the principle explicitly, and that going on vacation has allowed him to reflect and to grasp it — but the drama of the moment is in Roark’s thoughts about what will happen to Wynand. Ayn Rand removes from the final text the implication that we have witnessed the moment in which Roark grasps the principle — as she has removed several passages in which he grapples with the principle.

Although the passages that I have grouped together are not the same in all respects, all of them, esthetically, emphasize something in Roark that Ayn Rand deemed nonessential: the moments when Roark was not entirely Roark, or the moments when, from the standpoint of an explicit grasp of a principle, Roark was not yet Roark.

Why did Ayn Rand remove instances in which Roark was less than himself? Because, as she envisioned her ideal man, he was always essentially himself, never less than himself — that is what being an ideal man means — and she decided to focus the characterization on essentials. And why did she remove instances of Roark’s thinking about the issue of second-handedness? Because his explicit thoughts on this matter were not central to the novel.

Roark as a character is what he is, essentially, always. As Steven Mallory says, Roark is immortal, and “one can imagine him existing forever” (452). Granted, he is not infallible. He admits to the mistakes of staying too long in school, of “seeing hope where [he] shouldn’t” with Vesta (in the first draft), of helping Peter Keating. But The Fountainhead is a plot story — unlike, for example, Anthem, which was much more about the process of discovery. The plot involves him in conflict with the world, not with himself. I le is at peace with himself. He is not deeply concerned about the people he does not understand.

The reader, by contrast, is likely to need to learn — not by narration, but through following the plot — the nature of first-handedness and second-handedness, and the consequences of choosing one rather than the other. For the novel to portray the ideal man in the act of discovery would not necessarily be a bad thing — depending on a novel’s theme — but in this case it would do for the reader what the reader should be doing independently.

And so, although Ayn Rand uses the principle behind the Dean as a point of reference, she does not portray her ideal man in the act of grasping that principle. At the Dean’s office, Roark has a question in his mind. When he speaks on the yacht’s deck with Wynand, he has an answer, and, indeed, he says — in the novel — that he has arrived at an answer to a long-standing question. That he is changeless in his fundamentals is more important than that he undergoes some change in his understanding. The explicit grasp of a morality that has always been his implicit morality cannot figure in this novel as a climax, and hence Ayn Rand chose not to feature Roark’s progress toward that explicit grasp as a major network of events in the novel. She chose instead — in the climax and throughout the novel — to show Roark in active conflict. She resolves that conflict in the Cortlandt trial and offers, as a summation and an epilogue, the final image of her ideal man, in triumphant action, as seen through the eyes of the woman he loves — and has won — who is rising to join him.

Continue to Part 2 here.

Reprinted from the English Language edition of Essays on Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead,” edited by Robert Mayhew and originally published by Lexington Books, an imprint of The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc., Lanham, MD, USA. Copyright © by the author. Published in the English language by arrangement with Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, reprinting, or on any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.

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  1. Fountainhead notebooks, Ayn Rand Archives. These notebooks, originally in loose-leaf binders, contain dated and undated notes from 1935 through 1942. Unless otherwise indicated, all of my references to the Fountainhead notebooks will be drawn from these unpublished, archival materials. I will also draw on additional unpublished, archival materials, identified by name — e.g., Ayn Rand’s first philosophical notebook (1934), and “Outlines for The Fountainhead” and “Synopses for The Fountainhead,” which were not included in the Fountainhead notebooks. All of these materials are in the Ayn Rand Archives. Thanks to Michael Berliner and Jeff Britting for cataloging these materials and providing indispensable guidance in my work with the papers. Some of the material from the Fountainhead notebooks, the “Outlines for The Fountainhead,” and “Synopses for The Fountainhead­­” has been published in David Harriman, ed., Journals of Ayn Rand (New York: Dutton, 1997).
  2. She typically dated the first page of each chapter and often also the final page. The manuscripts are contained in eight boxes at the Madison Building of the Library of Congress, where I examined them. The manuscript of each of the four parts of the novel is separately paginated. Unless otherwise indicated, I will refer — by part and page number — to the pages of the holograph, i.e., the first draft. In the Ayn Rand Archives, there are additional loose pages, both holograph and typed, that appear to be contemporaneous with the drafts.
  3. Letter from Ayn Rand to Channing Pollock, 10 December 1941, Ayn Rand Archives.
  4. Letter from Archibald Ogden to Ayn Rand, n.d., Ayn Rand Archives.
  5. Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (New York: Dutton, 1995), 67.
  6. Biographical interviews (Ayn Rand Archives).
  7. On March 18, 1936, Jennie M. Flexner, Readers’ Advisor at the New York Public Library, prepared an annotated list of more than a dozen books. Fountainhead notebooks, Ayn Rand Archives.
  8. Fountainhead notebooks, Ayn Rand Archives.
  9. “Outlines of The Fountainhead,” Ayn Rand Archives.
  10. “Outlines of The Fountainhead,” Ayn Rand Archives.
  11. “Outlines of The Fountainhead,” Ayn Rand Archives.
  12. Some of the material in the present article about the manuscript is a revised version of “Artist at Work: Ayn Rand’s Drafts for The Fountainhead,” The Intellectual Activist, vol. 15, no. 8 (August 2001), 9–20, and no. 9 (September 2001), 23–30. The two-part article also contains additional information about the manuscripts and some different examples of Ayn Rand’s editing of The Fountainhead.
  13. Biographical interviews (Ayn Rand Archives).
  14. Some of the “extra” scenes, mostly drawn from the first two parts of the novel, have been published in Leonard Peikoff, ed., The Early Ayn Rand: A Selection from Her Unpublished Fiction (New York: New American Library, 2005). Ayn Rand’s notes to herself of February 18, 1940, account for several of the omissions in the early part of the novel. See my “Artist at Work,” The Intellectual Activist, vol. 15, no. 9 (September 2001), 27–29, for the long conversation between Roark and Toohey, which was excised from Part Four.
  15. Biographical interviews (Ayn Rand Archives).
  16. Fountainhead notebooks, Ayn Rand Archives.
  17. “Outlines of The Fountainhead,” Ayn Rand Archives.
  18. “Outlines of The Fountainhead,” Ayn Rand Archives.
  19. See IV, 587. She similarly omitted contemporary political references in her revision of Toohey’s speech to Keating. Compare the novel, 639, with the draft, IV, 415–19.
  20. Ayn Rand, The Art of Fiction: A Guide for Writers and Readers, ed. Tore Boeckmann (NY: Plume, 2000), 163.
  21. “Theme of ‘Second-Hand Lives,’” in “Synopses of The Fountainhead,” Ayn Rand Archives.
  22. She marked this passage in her copy of Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, translated by Helen Zimmern (New York: Modern Library, 1917), 226.
  23. In the first draft, this scene appears at IV, 513–24. Ayn Rand alluded to the English translation of “mea maxima culpa” in “Through Your Most Grievous Fault,” her column about the death of Marilyn Monroe (Los Angeles Times, 19 August 1962); reprinted in Peter Schwartz, ed., The Ayn Rand Column, revised second edition (New Milford, CT: Second Renaissance Books, 1998), 30–32.
  24. The epigraphs for Parts 1, 2, and 4 were preserved with the notebooks. The epigraphs for the novel as a whole and for Part 3 were preserved with the manuscript.
  25. Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 204–5.
  26. Ayn Rand marked this passage in her copy of Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, translated by Thomas Common (New York: Modern Library, 1917), 112.
  27. Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, 60.
  28. The phrase “the hero in your soul” appears, without explicit reference to Nietzsche, in the fourth-from-last paragraph of Galt’s Speech: “Do not let the hero in your soul perish,” in Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, Thirty-fifth Anniversary Edition (New York: New American Library, 1992), 983.
  29. Ayn Rand cited the edition translated by Horace B. Samuel (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1921). I have not been able to examine a hard copy of this book. For context and a different translation, see On the Genealogy of Morals, translated by Walter Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale (New York: Vintage, 1967), 44.
  30. Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, 87.
  31. Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, 69. Ayn Rand, in her last article for The Ayn Rand Letter (“A Final Survey,” vol. IV, no. 2 [November–December, 1975], 2), quotes the same passage in reference to herself: “The state of today’s culture is so low that I do not care to spend my time watching and discussing it. I am haunted by a quotation from Nietzsche: ‘It is not my function to be a fly swatter.’”
  32. Ayn Rand, We the Living, Sixtieth Anniversary Edition (New York: New American Library, 1996), 25, 235, 464.
  33. Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, 295.
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Shoshana Milgram

Shoshana Milgram, PhD and associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, specializes in narrative fiction and film. Her scholarship includes introductions to Victor Hugo’s novels, a study of Ayn Rand’s life up to 1957, and articles on Dostoevsky, George Eliot, Nabokov, and others.

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