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Easter

Roger Enright has taken Dominique Francon to the site of his house under construction, a house designed by Howard Roark.

She looked at the steel cages of future projections, at the insolent angles, at the incredible complexity of this shape coming to life as a simple, logical whole, a naked skeleton with planes of air to form the walls, a naked skeleton on a cold winter day, with a sense of birth and promise, like a tree with a first touch of green.

“Oh, Roger!”

He looked at her and saw the kind of face one should expect to see in church at Easter.

. . .

“Good morning,” said a low, hard voice beside them.

(305, first edition)
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Hello Stephen. I'm Daniel from Spain. The thing that more impact on me from the novel is the courage of Howard to fight for liberty in creative production like the cause of all benefits for oneself first, and for the others after. In oposition to Ellsworth Toohey and others. This kind of malevolence I always find in Spain. Causes unhappiness and the ruin of a country. I'm so tired to find this situations in work. You have not liberty to think and to work in Spain, and if you dare to express the truth, can you be sure that you pay for it. I invite you to see a British documentary of BBC in you tube entitled "When the moors ruled Europe". Talks about the muslim inheritance in Spain. You can obtain many answers: is a great documentary. By the way, in youtube my user is also ENLIGHTENMENTING. I hope you like it.

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  • 1 year later...

Dang it! I just now saw this post from Daniel, over a year later.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Of related interest:

The One Hundred Books Facebook Users Love

The Atlantic – 9/8/14

Rand’s books did not make the top 100. If you click on the graph, you will see there is noted correlation of mentions of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, which is to be expected. Other noted correlations of The Fountainhead in the graph are: Kane and Abel, The Godfather, Shantaram, and Midnight’s Children. So perhaps fiction readers here would also value those four books.

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As a "test run" for Objectivism--which, at the time the paragpraph cited above was first written, was not unlike "a tree with a first touch of green"--I have always cosidered Rand's test run to be better than the real thing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just noticed this thread, when glancing through the list of forums on the main Forums screen.

It seems the perfect place to post some material I came across yesterday when I was looking for documentation pertaining to Rand's original title for The Fountainhead - viz., Second-hand Lives.

Repeating the brief statement I quoted in the thread "Why is modern art so bad?" (post #211 there):

The Passion of Ayn Rand

pg. 175

From the inception of the theme in her mind, she had called the novel Second-hand Lives; that had remained its working title until the end. But when Archie Ogden pointed out that it stressed the negative, that it made it appear the novel was essentially focused on Peter Keating, Ayn agreed at once and chose The Fountainhead instead.

Not finding that passage on my first search in Barbara's biography, I turned to The Journals of Ayn Rand to see if those mention why Rand changed the title. Maybe they do, but I haven't yet found a reference to the reason for the change, only to the fact of the change.

The Journals section on The Fountainhead extends from pg. 77 to pg. 240.

The first of Rand's Journal entries, dated December 4, 1935, is headed "Second-Hand Lives."

The editor explains in a prefatory note:

Journals

pg. 77

AR's working title for The Fountainhead was Second-Hand Lives. She kept most of her notes for the novel in three ring-bound notebooks. The present chapter offers the complete contents of her first notebook, which begins with a discussion of the theme and then gives character descriptions of Howard Roark, Peter Keating and Ellsworth Toohey.

To avoid confusion, I have used the names of the characters as they appear in the novel. In these early notes, Ellsworth Monkton Toohey was Everett Monkton Flent, Peter Keating was Peter Wilson, and John Eric Snyte was Worthington Snyte. AR changed the names about two years after her first notes.

Other material to follow.

Ellen

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Ellen,

Richard Ralston writes in his contribution to the collection Essays on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead:

Rand had little difficulty over editorial issues with Ogden or others at Bobbs-Merrill during the next year [completing the book]. She had planned to publish the book with the title Second Hand Lives, when Ogden pointed out that the title implied that the book featured Keating and the villains rather than Howard Roark. So she immediately knew that she had to have a title describing Roark. (69)

Ralston gives an endnote at that point:

“See Ayn Rand, The Art of Nonfiction: A Guide for Readers and Writers, ed. Robert Mayhew (New York: Plume 2001), 168–69.”

I don’t have that one.

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Hello Stephen. I'm Daniel from Spain. The thing that more impact on me from the novel is the courage of Howard to fight for liberty in creative production like the cause of all benefits for oneself first, and for the others after. In oposition to Ellsworth Toohey and others. This kind of malevolence I always find in Spain. Causes unhappiness and the ruin of a country. I'm so tired to find this situations in work. You have not liberty to think and to work in Spain, and if you dare to express the truth, can you be sure that you pay for it. I invite you to see a British documentary of BBC in you tube entitled "When the moors ruled Europe". Talks about the muslim inheritance in Spain. You can obtain many answers: is a great documentary. By the way, in youtube my user is also ENLIGHTENMENTING. I hope you like it.

Ever since al Andalus (Andalucia) fell, it has been downhill in Spain.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Thanks, Stephen, re #6.

Ralston gives an endnote at that point:

“See Ayn Rand, The Art of Nonfiction: A Guide for Readers and Writers, ed. Robert Mayhew (New York: Plume 2001), 168–69.”

I don’t have that one.

Neither do I.

Ellen

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"my first serious novel"

Barbara tells the story of The Fountainhead's inception so eloquently, I want to type in several sections from her text. In this section, Rand speaks of her "first serious novel."

The Passion of Ayn Rand

by Barbara Branden

1986 Doubleday hardcover

pp. 131-132

It was time. The concept of "the ideal man," its seeds planted early in Ayn's childhood, developed and refined over the years, had grown to fruition in her mind as she developed through her twenties. It was, as it always had been, as it always would be, the focus of her literary and philosophical interests; it was the radiant center of her soul.

Now, she was ready. Now, that radiant center demanded expression, demanded an entrance into life, like a child struggling to be born. Ayn endured its birth pangs, severe and passionate as a martyr to a noble cause.

The man-child struggling to be born was Howard Roark. His universe was The Fountainhead.

[....]

During the years of writing We the Living, she had known she was not ready, in philosophical knowledge or literary experience, to attempt a full portrait of her concept of the ideal man. The ideal is only suggested in what Kira sees in Leo, that potential he might have realized if he had lived in a free country. "We the Living," she once said, "was only an exercise, it was not fully my novel yet. My first serious novel had to present my type of man." When We the Living was completed, she knew she now could write her "serious" novel, a novel that would present her philosophy and would be written fully in the literary style that had been struggling slowly and painfully into life. She had learned enough about her new country confidently to place the novel's action in America. She was, at the age of thirty, fully an adult, prepared to handle adult characters.

She knew what the theme of her new novel was to be; while still writing We the Living, she had worked on it in what she called "small glances" - that is, it was not a systematic activity, but something her mind went to whenever she was momentarily free of other responsibilities.

Ellen

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"Miss Peter Keating" - 1

For the story of the young woman who gave Rand the inspiration for Peter Keating, I'll use the version from Anne Heller's biography instead of from Barbara Branden's. Heller provided more information than Barbara did, including the young woman's name.

Regarding the woman's name, Barbara says in a footnote:

Passion, pg. 133

By chance, Ayn met the woman who had given her the key to The Fountainhead after the book was published. She had married, and had given up her career. She had read The Fountainhead, and she spoke of how proud she was of Ayn's success. "She was basking in my reflected glory," Ayn said, "and talking of how we had lived in the same apartment house and been struggling young girls together. I was dying to tell her how much she contributed to the book - that she was Miss Peter Keating. But I couldn't do it. It would have been pointless cruelty." I agree with Ayn, and that is why the woman's name is not included in this description.

Heller gives the name, and she writes in an endnote:

pg. 458

[ellipsis in original]

In 1996, when Scott McConnell of ARI found and interviewed Marcella Bannert (by then married and named Rabwin), the woman had no recollection of this exchange with AR. As for her attitude toward AR in the 1930s, she was as unimpressed with AR as AR was contemptuous of her. Bannert said, "She [AR] was rough. She was masculine.... She was the worst-dressed woman I have ever known in my life. She had a terrible figure in the first place. She went around with no makeup on" (100 Voices, Marcella [bannert] Rabwin, pp. 42-43).

Hmm. I wonder if the name The Banner might have been suggested by Bannert.

Hmm, again. I just noticed that there's a discrepancy in spelling. Heller says "Bannert." 100 Voices says "Bannett."

Next, Rand's story of asking Bannert [?] what she wanted in life:

Ayn Rand and the World She Made

by Anne C. Heller

2009, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday

pp. 131-132

[some paragraph breaks added]

[...] Roark did not provide the first germ of the idea for The Fountainhead. His glossy, callow schoolmate and opposite number, Peter Keating, did. Rand liked to tell the story of how she conceived of Peter Keating, who gave the novel its original title, Second-Hand Lives. In 1931 or 1932, while she was still living on North Gower Street and clerking in the wardrobe department of RKO, she became fascinated by her next-door neighbor, Marcella Bannert, the young woman who had helped her to place RedPawn at Universal Pictures.

Marcella was an executive assistant to David O. Selznick, at that time RKO's chief of production, and she was ambitious. Every day, the Russian émigré observed the American go-getter, admiring her obvious drive but disliking almost everything else about her, including her choice of career and the impression she gave of being a Hollywood climber. One day, to pin down the differences between them, she asked the young woman to explain what she wanted to achieve in life.

Marcella had a ready answer. If nobody had an automobile, she would not want an automobile. If some people had an automobile and others didn't, she would want an automobile. If some people had two and others had only one or none, she would want two automobiles, and so on. And she would want people to know that she had more than they did.

Next, Marcella (née Bannett [?]) Rabwin's self-report on her goals.

100 Voices

2010, New American Library

Interview dates: April 25 and July 24, 1996

The prefatory identification says that "Marcella Rabwin died in 1998."

Scott McConnell was the interviewer.

pp. 43-44

While you were living on Gower, did Ayn Rand question you, on the philosophical level, of what you wanted out of life? What your goal was?

No. I think she knew very well what my goal was though. I didn't see her again until I had moved into an elegant house in Beverly Hills with a fairly high standard of living, and she never questioned me, because I was so busy questioning her, I guess.

What was your life goal then?

I had attained it. I wanted to be a wife and mother. I had four children. I wanted to work until I wanted children and I did exactly that. I left Hollywood in '42 and had a family.

You were very successful in Hollywood. What was your goal there?

I got what I was after. I wanted to be an assistant to an important producer and I was.

Why did you want to be his assistant?

I think it was the one thing I thought I might be able to do. I knew I couldn't be a writer. Couldn't be an actress. I took a test and it was awful. So I knew that was about the only field I wanted to be in, production.

Did you have any strong conviction at the time about work or other things? What were you like as a person?

I was very conscientious.

Ellen

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"Miss Peter Keating" - 2

A further excerpt from the 100 Voices interview with Marcella (née Bannett [?]) Rabwin. This part pertains to Rand's gratitude for Bannert/Bannett's help, and to the latter's reaction to The Fountainhead.

It looks from this as if Rand's meeting Bannert/Bannett subsequent to The Fountainhead's publication wasn't "by chance" (see the post above), but instead was the result of Rand's contacting her.

100 Voices

2010, New American Library

Interview dates: April 25 and July 24, 1996

The prefatory identification says that "Marcella Rabwin died in 1998."

Scott McConnell was the interviewer.

pp. 45-47

In a letter that [Rand] wrote to you in 1936, she seemed very grateful to you for helping her.

Oh, she was.

How did she express her gratitude?

She thanked me. She wasn't a woman of [a] great many words at that time. She talked like an immigrant. She had only been in this country for awhile. [A footnote states "She had been in the United States since February 1926."]

In what way did she talk like an immigrant?

Sort of tentative. She wasn't thoroughly familiar with the language yet. And yet, I thought she had a pretty good command. She was a nice girl.

We were discussing how you helped her with selling her stories and that she seemed very grateful for that.

I don't know. She certainly didn't forget me, though she certainly didn't care for me. I mean she didn't love and adore me. I was a very elevated person to her. She was not the kind of woman who looked up to people or looked down on people. She may have looked down, but she didn't look up to me, and she didn't forget me.

I was important in her life. I felt as though she was my protégé. I started her in the writing business.

Do you still have that or other letters?

I had one letter that was sooo marvelous. It was a long letter.

Was that a handwritten one?

Yes. I kept it and I kept it and I kept it and one day I was cleaning out my files. I was going to move and I was throwing everything away and I sold the letter. It broke my heart. I don't know why I did it, because by then she was very, very celebrated.

Based on material in our archives, Miss Rand was very grateful to you for giving her that break in her writing career.

You know that makes me feel good. She never told me how grateful she was, but she indicated her gratitude when she accepted the dinner invitation.

Tell me about that, the last time you saw Ayn Rand.

She and Frank came for dinner at my house in Beverly Hills about ten years after I had first met her and that's when we had the argument. When she called me, it was a startling surprise.

Why?

Because I hadn't heard from her in the interim. I had no idea she was going to be such a celebrity. She was a little Russian girl living next door to me.

Had she changed since you last met her?

Not one bit. We were sitting in our den. The fireplace was going and she was standing up leaning on the mantle over the fireplace and just chatting. I wanted to know what was going on with them

I told her that I liked The Fountainhead and she asked what I thought about the philosophy, the theories in the novel. I said that I didn't know there was any philosophy in it, and she said, then how can you say that you liked it. I said, because I loved the story. It was fascinating. She got mad and she left, and I never heard from her after that. It was her philosophy that she was so proud of.

Did you disagree with some of her philosophy?

Oh yes, I did. I just disagreed with the fact that philosophy was the most important element. She stood there leaning on the mantelpiece giving me the evil eye. She really disliked me when I said it. She was very proud.

I disagreed with her whole philosophy of life. I don't think one lives one's life for oneself alone. Her philosophy was that you must be happy in your own self; you must do what you want to do when you want to do it. I just felt that it was so abysmal. It was more than selfish - it was really supremely selfish.

Do you remember much about Ayn Rand's politics?

No. Maybe one of the reasons we weren't friends was because we were so different in political outlook. I am a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. I really don't believe in the system she proposed for economics.

Did you see the movie of The Fountainhead?

Yes. I loved it. The picture was a visualization of the book. It was a good picture.

Do you remember any of the characters in The Fountainhead that you especially loved or hated?

I loved Dominique and I loved Roark.

What did you love about Roark?

Roark was a strong, fine, young, gallant architect. He was just a beautifully pictured man. I just thought he was wonderful.

Did you think he was like Ayn Rand?

Dominique was like Ayn Rand.

In what way?

In her strength.

What did you think of Peter Keating?

Who?

The other architect who got to the top early by using people?

Yes. Yes. Yes. I don't remember him as well. He was sort of a villain, I guess, to me.

Ellen

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Not a Peter Keating. Keating was smarter. I think this lady's pure lack of smarts pissed off Ayn. The story that she based Keating on this woman sounds quite legit, however.

I saw that letter on sale on eBay last year.

--Brant

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Re this from Heller's endnote about Marcella Bannett (I'll assume that the 100 Voices spelling of the name is correct):

pg. 458

[....] As for her attitude toward AR in the 1930s, she was as unimpressed with AR as AR was contemptuous of her. Bannert said, "She [AR] was rough. She was masculine.... She was the worst-dressed woman I have ever known in my life. She had a terrible figure in the first place. She went around with no makeup on" (100 Voices, Marcella [bannert] Rabwin, pp. 42-43).

Bannett's comments about Rand's personality and attire were in response to direct questions by McConnell.

Heller makes no note of Bannett's spontaneously proffering that Rand "was extraordinarily brilliant," "a very up and at 'em sort of person," "burning with ambition, just burning," "a zealous worker, and at home she would sit there and write all night."

Also of interest, although this pertains to We the Living.

Bannett's mother, Elena Epps, was the one who had the apartment next door to the O'Connors. Bannett was living then with her mother.

Bannett said that she didn't see Rand often, but her mother did. The mother "thought [Rand] was brilliant" and "was crazy about her [...] maybe because my mother came from Russia and because Ayn had a peculiar personality, but she used to talk to my mother all the time and tell her how ambitious she was." (100 Voices, pg. 40)

100 Voices, pg. 444

Can you remember any strong convictions or opinions that Ayn Rand had?

She hated Russia. She loathed the communist system. She was dying to expose it. She thought she did in We the Living.

She would talk about her hatred of the communists?

Oh yes. Oh yes.

What kind of things did she say?

I don't remember. All she did was give the impression that she loathed, absolutely despised Russia. She was so happy to get out and she didn't like the system. That's all she would say. She just wanted out of Russia, and she got out. She told me this: she was going to write We the Living as an exposé of what Russia was really like. It was so horrible.

Ellen

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I once dated a Russian immigrant over 30 years ago--once. What struck me was how her personality and basic way of speaking was so like Ayn Rand's. (Her accent was somewhat lighter.) I would most characterize it as "definitness." She told me the leaders of the Soviet Union had been "scared" of Richard Nixon.

--Brant

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There are a number of features I find interesting in the story of Marcella Bannett, later Rabwin, the woman who gave Rand the nuclear idea for The Fiuntainhead(originally Second-Hand Lives[ (I'm using ARI's spelling; Heller gave the name as Bannert):

1) At the time when Scott McConnell interviewed her in 1996, she apparently had no recollection of the conversation which Rand found a "revelation."

2) She doesn't seem to have seen anything of herself in Peter Keating and only dimly remembered the character when asked what she thought of him.

3) She told Rand "about ten years later" that she'd "loved the story" of The Fountainhead but "didn't know there was any philosophy in it," and this remark angered Rand enough Rand left the Rabwin home, where she'd been invited for dinner.

4) Bannett was of significant help to Rand in talking an agent friend of hers into managing to sell the movie rights to one of Rand's stories (Red Pawn, according to other sources besides the 100 Voices interview; Bannett remembered the sale as being the movie rights to two stories).

5) Rand remained grateful for this help. She sent Bannett a letter of thanks in 1936 and apparently at least one other letter, a long one which Bannett described as "sooo marvelous."

6) Rand initiated contact with Bannett (Mrs. Rabwin by then), I suppose when Rand returned to Hollywood to do the screenplay for The Fountainhead.

7) Bannett thought that "Dominique was like Ayn Rand n her strength."

Ellen

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Re: Rand's figure. She loved her pastries & chocolate plus I don't recall reading she was a fitness buff (to put it mildly).

She was in to heavy workouts for the brain though, through her exhaustive reading, writing & deep thought.

What I don't understand was why she didn't have some dental work done to fix her teeth. Surely she had money after AS was published.

Perhaps she didn't think that was important...her visual impact on others...her choice.

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What I don't understand was why she didn't have some dental work done to fix her teeth. Surely she had money after AS was published.

Perhaps she didn't think that was important...her visual impact on others...her choice.

Different era in regard to dentistry. The modern emphasis on "the perfect smile" is made possible by much-improved dental techniques and safety. Rand's teeth were pretty regular, and I thought that her smile was attractive. I don't remember noticing gaps in her lower teeth when seeing her in person.

Ellen

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What I don't understand was why she didn't have some dental work done to fix her teeth. Surely she had money after AS was published.

Perhaps she didn't think that was important...her visual impact on others...her choice.

Different era in regard to dentistry. The modern emphasis on "the perfect smile" is made possible by much-improved dental techniques and safety. Rand's teeth were pretty regular, and I thought that her smile was attractive. I don't remember noticing gaps in her lower teeth when seeing her in person.

Ellen

First time I've ever seen someone comment on Rand's teeth. Sounds like a subject for a new thread. Michael, can you spin this off?

--Brant

those old black and white videos--we really don't know what we're looking at*; she could easily had some minor cosmetic work later on if there was any problem; usually it's mis-alined teeth; I had extensive orthodontal work in the late 50s by the world's pre-eminent orthodontist Charles Tweed here in Tucson so such really isn't so old hat; consider what was available to actors in Hollywood--must have been

*might be some slightly out of place teeth were casting shadows on next door teeth because of studio lights' placement magnifying slight gaps

suggestion: ignore what you think are Ayn Rand's teeth objectively rendered; it's only your subjectivity kicking in

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First time I've ever seen someone comment on Rand's teeth. Sounds like a subject for a new thread. Michael, can you spin this off?

Brant,

This has actually been discussed before here on OL.

I think Barbara mentioned that Rand had teeth work done after that interview, but I don't remember if she wrote that or told it to me.

To speculate, I believe, like most great creators, Rand let her personal looks go during the final intense part of her creation. It took some time to snap out of that. Also, this interview was right around the time of her massive depression.

I certainly don't see her getting by in Hollywood with that kind of hole in her bottom teeth, so it probably developed over time.

Michael

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I hope you know I was being facetious.

Brant,

You mean you weren't talking philosophy?

:)

There's nothing wrong with wanting Rand to look OK. That was my intention when I discussed this with Barbara way back when.

But you might be onto something.

How about a Rand trivia thread?

That might work. Want to set one up?

Michael

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I told her that I liked The Fountainhead and she asked what I thought about the philosophy, the theories in the novel. I said that I didn't know there was any philosophy in it, and she said, then how can you say that you liked it. I said, because I loved the story. It was fascinating. She got mad and she left, and I never heard from her after that. It was her philosophy that she was so proud of.

Did you disagree with some of her philosophy?

Oh yes, I did. I just disagreed with the fact that philosophy was the most important element. She stood there leaning on the mantelpiece giving me the evil eye. She really disliked me when I said it. She was very proud.

Is that what Howard Roark would do? Would he get so upset about what someone else thought that he'd give them the stink eye, leave the event in a huff, and never contact the offender again? It sounds like the behavior of someone to whom others' opinions are very important.

J

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No, Michael. I've no interest as such in Rand trivia. That which appears is spontaneous or to flesh out an historical figure, usually from my direct experience. I know I have a natural gift for a certain type of humor, frequently self-deprecating, but I'm bottom line completely serious about everything. I will not contribute to the idea I'm less than that. When I'm funny or mention something slight though to the point I'm just more than that. Take it as it comes. I'm too lazy for it anyway.

--Brant

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