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Martin Eden (The Works of Jack London) by…
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Martin Eden (The Works of Jack London) (original 1909; edition 1915)

by Jack London

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1,279258,958 (4.09)49
Member:mashiox
Title:Martin Eden (The Works of Jack London)
Authors:Jack London
Info:The Review of Reviews (1915), Edition: Reprint, Hardcover, 412 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

Martin Eden by Jack London (1909)

  1. 00
    1933 Was A Bad Year by John Fante (Babou_wk)
    Babou_wk: Un jeune prolétaire tombe amoureux d'une jeune fille bourgeoise.
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English (20)  French (3)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (25)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Written in 1909, it really is a fascinating book. There are some parts that are kind of boring and seemingly irrelevant, and there are a lot of fancy, old-fashioned words that I had to use my Kindles ability to look up the meanings, but overall I found it interesting and compelling. ( )
  coffyman | Jun 3, 2018 |
As much as I liked London's more famous White Fang and The Call of the Wild, this novel is even better. It is quite different in subject from most of his work so those approaching it thinking to read an adventure tale might be disappointed.

Martin Eden is a young working man who, inspired by love for an upper middle-class girl, discovers he has the intellect, talent and sensibility to be an author. Eden struggles to better himself & to get published (many believe this character is semi-autobiographical at the very least, though there are some important differences between London & Eden's philosophical outlooks).

London's characterizations in this novel are marvellous - not just Martin & Ruth but also relatively minor characters such as Martin's brother-in-law Higganbotham, a temporary colleague in laundry work Joe & Martin's landlady Maria are so well drawn. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jan 17, 2018 |
If Martin Eden is indeed autobiographical, it demonstrates the extraordinarily perceptive intellect and much-tortured soul of Jack London. The book is riveting. At first, somewhat banal in its celebration of the typical hard man, then academic in its treatment of the philosophers of its time, then ending in a way that Hemingway would have been proud. London's own story of intellect and physical rigour are captured in the work. While White Fang and Call of the Wild may have been his more popular works, and I found The Assassination Bureau fascinating, here London is at his best. Much like George Bernard Shaw's Back to Methuselah, which Shaw considered to be his masterpiece, I cannot help but think that this was London's masterpiece, although the purchasing public may not have agreed. ( )
  madepercy | Nov 7, 2017 |
The struggle to achieve success and then disillusionment with the accomplishment of a young writer. The character of Eden is inhuman in many ways with the work ethic etc. I assume this was intentional to demonstrate the inhuman struggles of writers. ( )
  brakketh | Jan 25, 2017 |
A working sailor, fresh from a sea voyage, young Martin Eden comes to the rescue of a stranger in a barroom brawl. Fisticuffs is one of Martin's developed talents, and the hard work of a sailor has left him particularly well fit to practice it. The stranger is Arthur Morse, a son of one of San Francisco's prominent families. Martin is invited to dinner to meet the grateful family. This is the event that charts an entirely new course for his life.
Finding himself in an "upper class" home, Martin drinks in the beauty of it, with real oil paintings on the walls and shelves of books. And then he meets Arthur's sister, Ruth, with her "wide, spiritual blue eyes, and a wealth of golden hair." It is love at first sight and he is determined to raise himself to her level, win her love and make her his wife. Ruth is intrigued with this rough young man and decides she will undertake his gentrification as a personal project.

After another tour of sea duty, Martin finds a tailor and buys a good bespoke black suit and applies himself fiercely to his education, working his way through piles of books from the free library. In much less time than it would take for him to complete his grammar school education and enter high school, Martin's long hours of study yield the result he had hoped for. He finds himself the intellectual equal of Ruth's fine friends—indeed the superior of all except one university professor. He looks about himself and wonders what these ninnies have done with their fine educations.

I found this later effort of Jack London slow going at the outset, but stuck with it until I became involved in the narrative and began to look forward to progressing through the story. There was quite definitely a surprise ending. I won't discuss that here, in the event that you know as little about the book as I did when I undertook to read it. But I puzzled about why London had chosen his ending. And so I researched his life story and read book reviews. Not surprisingly, London's stated goal in writing the book was not one that scholars have accepted. Once turned loose on the world, a work of art inherits whatever meaning its consumers assign, and London's work is no exception.

Intended message aside, Martin Eden is autobiographical, and even prophetic. London did educate himself, did spend years as the starving artist, writing and stacking up an enormous stack of rejection slips, and did quite suddenly become an extraordinarily successful and popular writer, the most financially rewarded author in the history of publishing up to that time. And like Martin Eden, fame, social acceptance, and immense wealth did not bring the life he had imagined.

I would not rate Martin Eden in my top ten fiction list—or even in my top 100. I've not given up on London, though. I have just begun reading his famous dog novels and a collection of his short stories. London himself thought Martin Eden was his finest work, though many fans of his adventure stories are disappointed. Perhaps the philosophical discourse he so loved is just not their cup of tea. (May 2015) ( )
  bookcrazed | May 18, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (42 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack Londonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Berdagué, RoserTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giménez-Frontín, José LuisForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hillerich, Robert L.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sinclair, AndrewIntroductionsecondary 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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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
«… Ed ecco qui il nodo del maledetto paradosso. Ogni porta che guidi al successo letterario è vigilata da questi cani da guardia, da questi falliti. I redattori, i vice-redattori, i redattori aggiunti, almeno la maggior parte di essi, in quasi tutti i casi, sono uomini che hanno cercato di scrivere, ma hanno fatto fiasco. E tuttavia essi, i meno adatti di quanti vivano sotto la volta celeste, sono le persone che decidono che cosa verrà stampato, che cosa verrà cestinato, essi cha hanno dato prova di non essere originali, che hanno dimostrato di essere privi del fuoco divino, proprio loro trinciano giudizi sull'originalità e sul genio. E dopo di loro vengono quelli che scrivono le recensioni, altrettanti falliti. Non dirmi che anche loro non hanno sognato sogni, che non hanno cercato di scrivere delle poesie o dei romanzi, perché ci si sono provati, e sono miseramente falliti. Ti assicuro che la recensione abituale è più disgustosa di un cucchiaio di olio di fegato di merluzzo. Ma tu già conosci la mia opinione sulle recensioni e sulla cosiddetta critica. Ci sono dei grandi critici, ma sono rari come le meteore. …»
«… La mia natura esige resalismo, mentre la borghesia odia il realismo. La borghesia è vigliacca e ha paura della vita, e ogni tuo sforzo mirava a rendere vigliacco anche me. Mi avresti reso schiavo dei pregiudizi. Avresti voluto comprimermi per farmi entrare nella tua meschina piccionaia, dove tutti i valori della vita sono irreali, falsi, volgari. … La volgarità – una robusta volgarità, lo ammetto – è la base di ogni raffinatezza e cultura borghese. Come ho già detto, tu volevi rendermi schiavo dei pregiudizi, trasformarmi in uno della tua classe, con gli ideali della tua classe, le norme, le prevenzioni della tua classe …».
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Haiku summary
Martin is in love
with a girl out of his class.
His love and writing doom him.

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:44 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Jack London's classic tale of a struggling young writer has been a favourite, particularly with authors, for over a century. The titular Martin Eden seeks to win the hand of a young bourgeois woman in marriage by becoming a successful writer. His struggle to succeed give this book an uplifting edge, but the story remains a deeply tragic one.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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Urban Romantics

2 editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 190917596X, 1909175382

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