Louis Sullivan was a giant. Howard Roark’s ideas about his work in The Fountainhead are Louis Sullivan’s ideas. While he has had a profound influence on my life, many of my friends have found his ideas inaccessible, partly because of his poetic flair, partly because of his unusual terminology and partly because his pre First World War world and sensibility are alien to them.
I am going to paraphrase some of his thoughts as I reread his masterpiece “Kindergarten Chats” (originally written in 1901 and edited in 1918), in the hope that it might make his work more accessible to others. Currently, I have no capacity to equal the beauty of his language, or the life transforming power of his work–you will need to read the “Lieber Meister” in original for that. I will simply select and freely reword his formulations as I understand them, chapter by chapter.
As I begin, I do not know how productive this endeavor will be, or whether I will be able or willing to carry it through the whole 175 pages of the book. Please do let me know if you find this attempt useful and if so why. And if you are familiar with Sullivan, please do share your thoughts.