“Freedom (n.): To ask nothing": First British Edition of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead; Signed by Her

  • The Fountainhead.

The Fountainhead.

$9,800.00

Item Number: 63003

London: Cassell, 1947.

First British edition of Rands’s breakthrough work and her first major literary success. Octavo, original cloth. Signed by Ayn Rand on the half-title page. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket with some light rubbing and wear. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Rare and desirable signed.

Although Rand was a previously published novelist and had a successful Broadway play, she faced difficulty in finding a publisher she thought right for The Fountainhead. She let Macmillian Publishing go when they rejected her demand for better publicity (Branden, 1986), and when her agent criticized the novel, she fired him and handled submissions herself (Burns, 2009). After sifting through eleven more publishers, Rand finally released The Fountainhead with Bobbs-Merrill Company in 1943. The reception was instant, and The Fountainhead became a bestseller in two years. The protagonist, Howard Roark, whose character was thought to be inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, is a young architect fighting against convention. Cited by numerous architects as an inspiration, Ayn Rand said the theme of the book was "individualism versus collectivism, not within politics but within a man's soul." Rand chose architecture as the analogy of her heady themes because of the context of the ascent of modern architecture. It provided an appropriate mode to make relevant her beliefs that the individual is of supreme value, the "fountainhead" of creativity, and that selfishness, properly understood as ethical egoism, is a virtue. Some critics consider The Fountainhead to be Rand's best novel (Merill, 1991). Indeed, philosopher Mark Kingwell described it as "Rand's best work" (Kingwell, 2006). In 1949 it was adapted to film, produced by Henry Blanke, directed by King Vidor, starring Gary Cooper, Patricia Neal, Raymond Massey, Robert Douglas, and Kent Smith.

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