First Edition of the Ayn Rand's Magnum Opus The Fountainhead; Inscribed and dated in 1949 by Her and In the Scarce First Issue Dust Jacket
Item Number: 3770
Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1943.
First edition, first issue with first edition stated on the copyright page of the author’s first major novel, as well as her first best-seller. Octavo, original red cloth. Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “To Eugene Walker- Cordially- Ayn Rand July 24, 1949.” An excellent copy with some rubbing and toning to the extremities in a near fine first issue dust jacket with some light fading to the spine and small chip to the crown fold. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Rare, especially without the usual restoration that is encountered with this dust jacket.
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).