The Fountainhead as a Romantic Novel By Tore Boeckmann

In the first chapter of The Fountainhead, we learn that Howard Roark’s drawings “were sketches of buildings such as had never stood on the face of the earth.” Yet the Dean, a champion of classicism, tells Roark that “all the proper forms of expression have been discovered long ago.” The conflict between the classicist, who copies, and an artist like Howard Roark, who originates, runs through The Fountainhead and illustrates the novel’s wider theme: the conflict between the parasite and the creator. Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead is itself the work of a creator. In fact, as Tore Boeckmann shows in this lecture, the novel was written by the same basic method as its hero, Howard Roark, follows in creating his architectural designs. But the work of a creator is original. Can there be a method for creating the new? Mr. Boeckmann demonstrates that there is such a method. Identifying its nature, he shows how this method gives rise to every concrete aspect of The Fountainhead. And he shows how the method of The Fountainhead, and of Howard Roark, is essential to the romantic school of art. (This lecture is based on an essay in Robert Mayhew’s new book, Essays on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.”)

Tore Boeckmann’s mystery short stories have been published and anthologized in several languages. He edited Ayn Rand’s The Art of Fiction, and has lectured at Objectivist conferences in America and Europe . Recent publications include ” The Fountainhead as a Romantic Novel” and “What Might Be and Ought to Be: Aristotle’s Poetics and The Fountainhead” in Essays on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead,” edited by Robert Mayhew.

Tuesday December 5, 2006; Kimmel Center Room 914-Silver, New York University; 7:00pm; e-mail:; Map.

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