Friday, October 11, 2013

the last book I ever read (Frank Lloyd Wright: A Life by Ada Louise Huxtable, excerpt thirteen)

from Frank Lloyd Wright (Penguin Lives) by Ada Louise Huxtable:

Comic relief was provided by Ayn Rand, a writer who had emigrated from the Soviet Union and had plans to write a novel about an architect, inspired by articles she had read by and about Wright. The book she subsequently published, The Fountainhead, was a wildly successful best seller and then a movie starring Gary Cooper; the architect-hero, Howard Roark, commonly believed to be modeled on Frank Lloyd Wright, has made generations of young women swoon. Roark is portrayed as a brilliantly creative, fiery genius, embattled by the establishment, who defiantly blows up his consummate work of art, a skyscraper, rather than see his talent and integrity compromised. Wright never felt any real affinity with the fictional Roark and at first rejected any identification with the character—except for the talent and integrity part. He said that Rand failed to understand him and that she never got it right. When asked if he was the model for Roark, he replied, “I deny the paternity and refuse to marry the mother.” Only after the book and its hero became sensationally popular did he allow that perhaps he could identify with the impossibly arrogant and idealistic Roark. As Meryle Secrest perceived, Rand was pretty far off the mark—Wright would never have blown up one of his own buildings.

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