literature

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 8) with Ben Bayer and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of The Fountainhead; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.  

Discussed in this episode:  THE FOUNTAINHEAD: PART IV, CHAPTERS 11–20


This is part 1 of an 8-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 7) with Ben Bayer and Paul Taske

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of The Fountainhead; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.  

Discussed in this episode:  THE FOUNTAINHEAD: Part IV, Chapters 1–10


This is part 7 of a 9-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 6) with Ben Bayer and Paul Taske

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of The Fountainhead; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.  

Discussed in this episode:  THE FOUNTAINHEAD, Part III, Chapters 1–9


This is part 6 of a 9-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 5) with Ben Bayer and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of The Fountainhead; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.  

Discussed in this episode:  THE FOUNTAINHEAD: PART II, CHAPTERS 19–15

This is part 5 of a 9-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 4) with Ben Bayer and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of The Fountainhead; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.  

Discussed in this episode:  THE FOUNTAINHEAD: PART II, CHAPTERS 1–8

This is part 4 of a 9-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 3) with Ben Bayer and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of The Fountainhead; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today. 

Discussed in this episode:  THE FOUNTAINHEAD: PART I, CHAPTERS 9–15

This is part 3 of a 9-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 2) with Ben Bayer and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of The Fountainhead; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today. 

Discussed in this episode: THE FOUNTAINHEAD: PART I, CHAPTERS 1–8

This is part 2 of a 9-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 1) with Ben Bayer and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of “The Fountainhead”; the novel’ plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compare to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.

This is part 1 of a 9-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead”, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

Highlights from the Romantic Manifesto by Onkar Ghate, Yaron Brook

The Romantic Manifesto is a rich and philosophically penetrating book. It is, Rand states in her introduction, a “declaration of my personal objectives or motives” as an artist and “of the theoretical grounds that entitle me to these objectives and motives.” We explore some of the insights into Objectivism we get from her manifesto and some lessons to take—or not to take—from the book to increase one’s enjoyment of art and of life.

Recorded live at OCON 2019 in Cleveland, OH.

Literature and the Quest for Meaning by Lisa VanDamme

One essential condition of fulfillment and happiness is the philosophic conviction that your life belongs to you. But it is only a condition. A truly fulfilled and happy life requires a sense of meaning. How to achieve that meaning is a question for which we have few tried-and-true, culturally established answers. Thankfully, one resource we do have for answering that question, or even knowing how to go about considering it, is great art. This talk explores how classic literature can contribute to the vital quest for meaning.

Recorded live in Cleveland on June 26, 2019

What Might Be and Ought to Be: The Idealism of Objectivism by Aaron Smith

What Might Be and Ought to Be: The Idealism of Objectivism

Ayn Rand is often charged with advocating a kind of cynical amoralism; but the opposite is true. Rand was a moral idealist. In this session, we will discuss the nature and roots of that idealism, addressing such questions as: What does it mean to be an idealist? Why does Rand think that ideals are so important to have and to fight for? What is the connection between having ideals and having a self? Is idealism naïve and impractical?

This talk was recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018.

Thinking Like an Individualist by Ben Bayer

This session explores a key theme of The Fountainhead: the importance of thinking for oneself. We discuss how key speeches and passages from the book address these questions: What does it mean to think for oneself? Does it mean believing whatever one likes, never learning from or agreeing with others, judging everything on a case-by-case basis? Or does it mean using a disciplined, principled method consistent with learning from others? (May contain mild Fountainhead plot spoilers.)

Recorded live at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018

Newport Beach, California

July 3, 2018

Howard Roark and the Great Heroes of Literature by Andrew Bernstein

This talk shows that there are several attributes of literary heroism: the promotion of life-affirming values, the depth of virtue(s) manifested, the power of antagonists faced, and the hero’s degree of prowess. When we deploy such criteria and compare and contrast Howard Roark to some of literature’s other great heroes-for example, Odysseus, Cyrano, Doctor Stockmann, and Shane-where do we find he stands in the pantheon of literary heroism? This talk examines and answers this question.

“Kill by Laughter”: Humor in The Fountainhead by Robert Mayhew

“Kill by Laughter”: Humor in The Fountainhead and Its 21st-Century Relevance

The Fountainhead is the novel in which Ayn Rand’s conception of humor (good and bad) comes across most clearly. The novel begins: “Howard Roark laughed.” Yet the villain Ellsworth Toohey, presenting his recipe for achieving power, recommends that we “kill by laughter.” This lecture discusses humor in The Fountainhead and the prevalence of the bad kind of humor in today’s culture.