Monday, August 30, 2010

The discovery and defense of the new

Current book: The Fountainhead
Pages read: 433 - 525

Keating finds himself unhappy with Dominique as his wife because she plays the perfect model wife but never expresses an opinion. After a while, Wynand, the amoral newspaper magnate, marries Dominique, securing Keating's assent with a huge architectural contract. Keating is pretty much destroyed by the fact that he realizes that he's achieved all his goals and dreams and is still miserable.

Wynand loves Dominique because of the fact that she won't bow to the illnesses of society, but, though she comes to respect him more and more, she doesn't love him back. He's still in charge of the papers that give Toohey and his ilk their voices, after all. Toohey's making plans to take over Wynand's major paper, as well, which Dominique sees through and warns Wynand about. He doesn't listen. We haven't heard much from Roark; he's building small-scale stuff out in the country.

This bit is mostly about Dominique continuing to punish herself by trying to quash her self-love and make herself as miserable and unworthy as everyone else. It's not working. That's really all. Not a great deal of development here. Rand is emphasizing the uselessness and even malice of critics, though, by pointing to them as leeches that not only never create, but poison those on whom they feed by choosing the most conformist and jingoistic works to celebrate as art. While that's sometimes true, it misses the fact that sometimes critics are the champions of the new and experimental. There is room for the critic as paragon of integrity, too - but, of course, that would defeat Rand's point.

I should finish in a couple of days and be able to provide a more comprehensive assessment.

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