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Martin Eden (1909)

by Jack London

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,731328,540 (4.13)53
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.
  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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» See also 53 mentions

English (24)  French (4)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
3.25 ( )
  DanielSTJ | Jul 19, 2022 |
Martin did some seafaring and cow-poking and rubbing rough against the law. Then in California, whoa, discovers he is smarter than everybody else and finds overwhelming and permanent confidence in himself. But no important people care except Martin. He studies books and, whoa, decides he could write better than anybody else. He writes and, whoa, he does write better than anybody else but nobody understands how good it is or will pay for it. No one important believes in him. Even his girlfriend finally gives up on him (facing a life of grinding poverty with him, a point London hardly considers). Martin is very sad but soldiers on in poverty against the unbelievers.

Martin burns out, quits writing and submits his stuff one last time, what the hell. Whoa, people start paying for his stuff, he gets celebrity and now the unbelievers come back. Martin is not having any of it because, by golly, he is the same man now whom no one believed in before. (See Philoctetes's reluctance to join battle at Troy in Sophocles.) Now he doesn't like anybody but a few poor folks he knows and relatives and very old friends, and he is generous to some of them. He detests the hypocrisy and decides to return to Tahiti to live but jumps overboard, not wanting to face even the hassle of getting set up there.

What was wrong with Martin? His exalted self-value poisoned his relations. He didn't respect a humanity in common with others. He couldn't sympathize with successful people less capable than himself. He thought he could do it all by himself. He couldn't function without his illusions. He couldn't overcome his bitterness.

This book can't hold a candle to Sea Wolf, and I don't understand the high ratings. Perhaps London, caricaturing himself as Martin Eden, rid himself of some self-pity. Remarkably, this novel was written after three of his most successful. London attributes the book as an attack on individualism, but it looks to be more like his own disillusion. ( )
1 vote KENNERLYDAN | Jul 11, 2021 |
Adult fiction. Like Jack's other books, this one is largely based on the authors own experiences; this one recounts his frustrations as an author trying to get published. I read this just before a visit to his farm (now a historic landmark) and because I wanted to learn more about his life (apart from the sea voyages/adventuring), I found it interesting. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Un fiume di parole, belle parole. Una storia di riscatto, di amore, di cultura, di disillusione.

Il Jack London di Zanna Bianca in questo romanzo ci stupisce e ci incanta con una biografia liberamente tratta dalla sua avventurosa vita.


Consigliato a chi si è arenato nella lettura, a chi ha preconcetti su determinati autori, a chi ama le saghe ottocentesche, a chi non può fare a meno dell'avventura. ( )
  LauraLaLunga | Feb 15, 2021 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
London, Jackprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alexiou, GeorgiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berdagué, RoserTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Calder-Marshall, ArthurEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giménez-Frontín, José LuisForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hillerich, Robert L.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magnus, ErwinÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, RichardCover artistsecondary 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.”
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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Wikipedia in English


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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Martin is in love
with a girl out of his class.
His love and writing doom him.

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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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