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A few of the gems from “The Fountainhead”
Liberty Institute, India Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Here are a few excerpts worth remembering from The Fountainhead. Do have a look and tell us your favourite quotes. We would be very happy to add them here.

Please suggest your favourite quote from The Fountainhead, and we will add it to this list.  


  1. Ayn Rand said that the goal of her writing is "the projection of an ideal man. my purpose is not the philosophical enlightenment of my readers............ My purpose, first cause and prime mover is the portrayal of Howard Roark as an end in himself. My basic test for any story is: "Would I want to meet these characters and observe these events in real life? Is this story an experience worth living through for its own sake? Is the pleasure of contemplating these characters an end in itself? ..."
  2. The theme of The Fountainhead, said Ayn Rand, is "individualism versus collectivism, not in politics, but in man's soul."
  3. Gail Waynand to Howard Roark: "Build it as a monument to that spirit which is yours ............ and could have been mine."
  4. Howard Roark to Henry Cameroon: "If at the end of my life, I'll be what you are today, here, in this office, I shall consider it an honour that I could not have deserved."
  5. Ellsworth Toohey: "Why don't you tell me what you think of me...?” Howard Roark: "But I don't think of you."
  6. Peter Keating: "How do you always manage to decide?" Howard Roark: "How can you let others decide for you?"
  7. Hopton Stoddard: "You are a profoundly religious man, Mr. Roark - in your own way. I can see that in your building." Howard Roark: "That's true." (p320)
  8. "It's sheer insanity!" Weidler moaned, "I want you. We want your building. You need the commission. Do you have to be quite so fanatical and selfless about it?"............ Roark smiled. ............ He said, "That was the most selfish thing you've ever seen a man do."
  9. Ellsworth Toohey: "Look at it. A sublime achievement, isn't it? A heroic achievement. Think of the thousands who worked to create it and of the millions who profit by it. And it is said that but for this spirit of a dozen men, here and there down the ages, but for a dozen men-less, perhaps-none of this would have been possible. And that might be true. If so, there are-again-two possible attitudes to take. We can say that these twelve were great benefactors, that we are all fed by the overflow of the magnificent wealth of their spirit, and that we are glad to accept it in gratitude and brotherhood. Or, we can say that by the splendour of their achievement which we can neither equal nor keep, these twelve have shown us what we are, that we do not want the free gifts of their grandeur, that a cave by an oozing swamp and a fire of sticks rubbed together are preferable to skyscrapers and neon lights-if the cave and the sticks are the limit of our own creative capacities. Of the two attitudes, Dominique, which would you call the truly humanitarian one? Because, you see, I'm a humanitarian."
  10. Howard Roark: "To say 'I love you,' one must know first how to say the 'I.'"
  11. Peter Keating to Howard Roark: "When I'm with you-it's always like a choice. Between you -- and the rest of the world. I don't want that kind of a choice. I don't want to be an outsider. I want to belong.
  12. 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."
  13. Dominique: "Roark, I can accept anything, except what seems to be the easiest for most people: the half-way, the almost, the just-about, the in-between."
  14. Howard Roark: "I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone's right to one minute of my life."
  15. Ellsworth Toohey: "If your first concern is for what you are or think or feel or have or haven't got-you're still a common egotist." Kate: "You mean, I must want to be unhappy?" Toohey: "No. You must stop wanting anything.
This article was published in the Liberty Institute on Wednesday, February 2, 2005.
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