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Martin Eden by Jack London
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Martin Eden (1909)

by Jack London

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English (13)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  Lithuanian (1)  All languages (18)
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Given that Martin Eden is the most autobiographical work Jack London ever wrote (this, according to Andrew Sinclair, who wrote the Intro), we have to believe that the author actually lived most of what he writes. If so, the work should be mandatory reading for anyone contemplating a writing career at the cost of a day-job.

If any of us should still believe that ‘the road less traveled’ is a glorious one, this work will cure him or her of that illusion. But for an occasional fluke (which aspiring writers and the publishing world alike all feed upon), the writer’s life – if Jack London’s is a fair example, and I believe it is – is one of poverty and debilitation – if not downright humiliation. Oh, and did I mention hunger?

But no matter. Go and feast on the ideal if you insist. Just know that the ideal contains damned few calories.

At one point, Martin Eden (the eponymous principal character of this novel) actually does achieve fame and fortune. Is this, then, a kind of ‘Cinderella story?’ Without giving away the actual conclusion of London’s novel, I’ll allow you a glimpse via some of his principal character’s ruminations: “And always was Martin’s maddening and unuttered demand: Why didn’t you feed me then? It was work performed. “The Ring of Bells” and “The Peri and the Pearl” (two of the fictional writer’s short stories) are not changed one iota. They were just as artistic, just as worthwhile, then as now. But you are not feeding me for their sake, nor for the sake of anything else I have written. You’re feeding me because it is the style of feeding just now, because the whole mob is crazy with the idea of feeding Martin Eden” (p. 450).

Antiquated if not downright flawed though it and he may be, I suspect that Martin Eden (the novel) and Martin Eden (the novel’s protagonist) are – just as is London’s superb short story, “To Build a Fire” – memories to last a lifetime. In this age of rampant self-publication and an unbridled quest after the glory of artistic recognition – but in which so few are willing to do the work London obviously did to achieve recognition for his work – this novel should stand as both Bible and roadmap. Or as Dante once wrote over the gates of Hell, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

RRB
Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A.
07/17/14

( )
  RussellBittner | Dec 12, 2014 |
hi
  cryptoJack | Sep 3, 2014 |
I was so excited for him the whole time. Why did it have to end that way? I am so disappointed. ( )
  TanyaTomato | May 5, 2014 |
Available as a free audiobook from https://librivox.org/ ( )
  captbirdseye | Feb 20, 2014 |
Martin Eden é um livro que quebra estereótipos. As pessoas dá tanto valor à educação formal, aos títulos, às imagens exteriores de educação e cultura. Esse livro não é somente sobre um autodidata que descobre a falsidade de tudo isso, ele é escrito por um. Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously - Chesterton.
O final é um dos suicídios mais interessantes da literatura. London pretendia mostrar seu herói como um individualista, que teve que morrer não por sua falta de fé em deus, mas por sua falta de fé nos homens. Já foge dos estereótipos, mas ainda não é tão interessante.
O interessante é que os tempos mudaram, o socialismo real caiu (London mesmo tinha grande fé no socialismo), e hoje a falta de fé nos homens de Martin Eden atinge muita gente, que passou a considerar seu suicídio como um ato heróico de recusa a um mundo que jamais será como deveria ser, um mundo sem esperança.
Obras-Primas permitem muitas interpretações, mesmo se contrárias à intenção do autor: London afirmava que nenhum leitor descobriu sua crítica ao individualismo. É por isso que esse livro deve ser relido. ( )
  JuliaBoechat | Mar 30, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (43 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack Londonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Berdagué, RoserTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giménez-Frontín, José LuisForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hillerich, Robert L.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The one opened the door with a latch-key and went in, followed by a young fellow who awkwardly removed his cap. He wore rough clothes that smacked of the sea, and he was manifestly out of place in the spacious hall in which he found himself. He did not know what to do with his cap, and was stuffing it into his coat pocket when the other took it from him. The act was done quietly and naturally, and the awkward young fellow appreciated it. “He understands,” was his thought. “He’ll see me through all right.”

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140187723, Paperback)

The semiautobiographical "Martin Eden" is the most vital and original character Jack London ever created. Set in San Francisco, this is the story of Martin Eden, an impoverished seaman who pursues, obsessively and aggressively, dreams of education and literary fame. London, dissatisfied with the rewards of his own success, intended Martin Eden as an attack on individualism and a criticism of ambition; however, much of its status as a classic has been conferred by admirers of its ambitious protagonist. Andrew Sinclair's wide-ranging introduction discusses the conflict between London's support of socialism and his powerful self-will. Sinclair also explores the parallels and divergences between the life of Martin Eden and that of his creator, focusing on London's mental depressions and how they affected his depiction of Eden.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:06:26 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

London tells the story of Martin Eden, a young sailor who, through self-education and determination, rises out of poverty to passionately pursue a dream of literary and intellectual achievement. But soon he discovers a life of success is not what he hoped it would be.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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