The Fountainhead

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There's a hope for every woe, and a balm for every pain, but the first joys of our heart come never back again!
Robert Gilfillan
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The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (1943)


  • "Howard Roark laughed." [Opening Part I]
  • "A house can have integrity, just like a person; and just as seldom." [Howard Roark]
  • "I don't intend to build in order to have clients; I intend to have clients in order to build." [Howard Roark]
  • "But you see, I have, let's say, sixty years to live. Most of that time will be spent working. I've chosen the work I want to do. If I find no joy in it, then I'm only condemning myself to sixty years of torture. And I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me. But the best is a matter of standards--and I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one." [Howard Roark]
  • "You know, there's a thing that stumps me. You're the coldest man I know. And I can't understand why--knowing that you're actually a fiend in your quiet sort of way--why I always feel, when I see you, that you're the most life-giving person I've ever met." [Austin Heller to Roark]
  • "How do you always manage to decide?" - "How can you let others decide for you?" [Peter Keating and Howard Roark]


  • "Mr. Roark, we’re alone here. Why don’t you tell me what you think of me? In any words you wish. No one will hear us." - "But I don’t think of you." [Ellsworth Toohey and Howard Roark]
  • "We never need to say anything to each other when we're together. This is- for the time when we won't be together. I love you, Dominique. As selfishly as the fact that I exist. As selfishly as my lungs breath air. I breathe for my own necessity, for the fuel of my body, for my survival. I've given you not my sacrifice or my pity, but my ego and my naked need. This is the only way you can wish to be loved. This is the only way I can want you to love me. If you married me now, I would become your whole existence. But I would not want you then. You would not want yourself-and so you would not love me long. To say 'I love you' one must first know how to say the 'I'. The kind of surrender I could have from you now would give me nothing but an empty hulk. If I demanded it, I'd destroy you. That's why I won't stop you. I'll let you go to your husband. I don't know how I'll live through tonight, but I will. I want you whole, as I am, as you'll remain in the battle you've chosen. A battle is never selfless. [...] You must learn not to be afraid of the world. Not to be held by it as you are now. Never to be hurt by it as you were in that courtroom. I must let you learn it. I can't help you. You must find your own way. When you have, you'll come back to me. They won't destroy me, Dominique. And they won't destroy you. You'll win, because you've chosen the hardest way of fighting for your freedom from the world. I'll wait for you. I love you. I'm saying this now for all the years we'll have to wait. I love you, Dominique." [Howard Roark]
  • "Ask anything of men. Ask them to achieve wealth, fame, love, brutality, murder, self-sacrifice. But don't ask them to achieve self-respect." [Dominique Francon]
  • "I want a good hotel, and I have certain standards of what is good, and they're my own, and you're the one who can give me what I want. And when I fight for you, I'm doing--on my side of it--just what you're doing when you design a building." [Kent Lansing to Roark]


  • "It's said that the worst thing one can do to a man is to kill his self-respect. But that's not true. Self-respect is something that can't be killed. The worst thing is to kill a man's pretense at it." [Dominique Keating]
  • "Suffering? I'm not conscious of having shown that." "You haven't. That's what I meant. No happy person can be quite so impervious to pain." [Dominique Keating and Gail Wynand]


  • "It takes two to make a very great career: The man who is great, and the man-- almost rarer-- who is great enough to see greatness and say so." [Kent Lansing]
  • "You’ll get everything society can give a man. You’ll keep all the money. You’ll take any fame or honor anyone might want to grant. You’ll accept such gratitude as the tenants might feel. And I--I’ll take what nobody can give a man, except himself. I will have built Cortlandt." - "You’re getting more than I am, Howard." [Howard Roark and Peter Keating]
  • "If you learn how to rule one single man's soul, you can get the rest of mankind. It's the soul, Peter, the soul. Not whips or swords or fire or guns. That's why the Caesars, the Attilas, the Napoleons were fools and did not last. We will. The soul, Peter, is that which can't be ruled. It must be broken. Drive a wedge in, get your fingers on it--and the man is yours." [Ellsworth Toohey]
  • "Build it as a monument to that spirit which is yours...and could have been mine." [Gail Waynand]
  • "Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision." [Howard Roark]
  • "It's good to suffer. Don't complain. Bear, bow, accept - and be grateful God has made you suffer. For this makes you better than the people who are laughing and happy. If you don't understand this, don't try to understand. Everything bad comes from the mind, because the mind asks too many questions. It is blessed to believe, not to understand. So if you didn't get passing grades, be glad of it. It means that you are better than the smart boys who think too much and too easily" [Ellsworth Toohey]
  • "This is pity," he thought, and then he lifted his head in wonder. He thought that there must be something terribly wrong with a world in which this monstrous feeling is called a virtue. [Howard Roark]
  • "And isn't that the root of every despicable action? Not selfishness, but precisely the absence of a self." [Howard Roark]
  • "I could die for you. But I couldn't, and wouldn't, live for you." [Howard Roark]
  • "Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value. What a man is and makes of himself; not what he has or hasn't done for others. There is no substitute for personal dignity. There is no standard of personal dignity except independence." [Howard Roark]
  • "Altruism is the doctrine which demands that man live for others and place others above self." [Howard Roark]