Item description for Martin Eden by Jack London...
Martin Eden (1909) by Jack London is a semi-autobiographical novel, the quintessential and shocking story of a struggling writer. And as such, it is a story of a remarkable human being driven to succeed against all tragic odds.
Martin Eden is a young man who rises above his working class Oakland beginnings. At first he is motivated to better himself and acquire an education to be worthy of the love of a beautiful upper class woman. But ultimately it is his intellectual curiosity, the creative drive to express beauty and understand the inner workings of others and the world around him that establish themselves foremost in his consciousness.
Drowning in poverty and editorial rejection slips, this is the portrait of the writer as a young fierce artist, lover, philosopher, and above all, a magnanimous human being. Success comes in the end, but it is bittersweet, and too late on the level of the soul. And yet, the creative spirit of Martin Eden soars.
An eye-opening, terrifying, yet inspirational must-read for all aspiring writers.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.9" Width: 5.98" Height: 1.02" Weight: 1.32 lbs.
Release Date Feb 19, 2007
Publisher Norilana Books
ISBN 1934169595 ISBN13 9781934169599
Availability 134 units. Availability accurate as of May 28, 2017 08:32.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Jack London
Novelist, journalist, and social activist Jack London (1876-1916) rose from abject poverty to international fame. The bestselling, highest-paid, and most popular author of his era, London created a substantial body of work in his short life, drawing upon his experiences as a cannery worker, sailor, railroad hobo, and prospector.
Jack London was born in 1876 and died in 1916.
Jack London has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Martin Eden?
Martin Eden: A struggling author;s rise from Edenic innocence to the tragedy of death as a jaded skeptic May 30, 2008
Say Jack London and most literate persons would ring up "Snow, Dog Stories and nature tooth and nail set in the context of gold rush Alaska of the 1890s. Ironically, Jack London was a San Francisco native in which he sets his 1909 novel "Martin Eden" which is his fictional autobiography. Martin Eden is a young, virile bright sailor who resuces a middle class man from thugs. He is invited to the man's home where he meets his sister Ruth. Martin and Ruth fall in love. Ruth and her family seek to help Martin obtain a good job but he insists on becoming a published author. Years pass and his work is rejected. Martin takes such jobs as working in a laundry and going to sea as he ekes out a living on a near starvation diet. Martin is a voracious reader of fiction, essays and novels. He is influenced by Darwinian social evolutionsim and becomes a disciple of Herbert Spencer. Martin also subscribes to the Nietzchian concept of a superman who is above the herd of ordinary people. Martin is a lonely soul who is befriended by the moribund poet Brissende an alcoholic. Both of these writers have soured on life. Martin has moved from Eden to Hell in his thinking and prospects for the future. Martin eventually becomes rich through his writings but it is too late for him to have a good life. He grows to despise Ruth and her smug suburban middle class family. He hates businessmen and philistinism and pretence in society and the literary community. He befriends a former girlfriend but his autodidadic education and fame have separated him forever from his working class pals. Martin rejects a plea for love from Ruth and sails away from the dull life of middle class respectability and conformity. The novel is bitter and brutal in its depiction of the American dream turned into a nightmarish vision of a man sickened with life. The Horatio Alger rags to riches tale is given a wry twist by Jack London. The novel failed to win applause upon its publication. Since then the novel has grown in readership and literary stature. It is a fine book but not one to peruse if you want to be cheered up! London's survival of the fittest is not a philosophy this reviewer finds appealing,
A study of youthful naivete, aspiration, and utter disillusionment..... May 1, 2008
Martin Eden is a young man who wants nothing more that to be accepted by (and to be like) the young, educated rich he sees as a struggling writer in turn-of-the (20th) century Northern California.
Martin is certain that once in the ranks of these beautiful people (who speak in casual conversation of Greek myth and French poetry), he will finally be happy...He uncomfortably accepts the rude comments from these rich snobs, resolves to rise to their level and falls in love with a woman he feels is as a goddess walking the Earth...
His true education comes swiftly:
He "makes it" as a writer, and the man once seen as an interesting ape is now the talk of the town...It's the petty shallowness of the glittering world he had admired from afar that he's utterly unprepared for.
This is a story of a person climbing the fence to the greener grass and finding it was all an illusion....and that he has nowhere else to go.
Not a pretty picture, but very well painted by Mr. London.
Inspiration for the struggling author... Apr 7, 2008
This is the American version of "Hunger" - an author striving to succeed despite background and social status. There is desolation within this text, a longing fraught with energy unbound. The pulse of desires roars here. Eden is the near-transparent mask of the young Jack London himself. Reading it, the educated reader will be reminded of the philosophies of Nietzsche, Herbert Spencer and Schopenhauer. Social Darwinism, the Will-to-Live, the Will-to-Power all resonate here.
But in the long run, the philosophies are just part and parcel of the story. "White Fang" and "Call of the Wild" are excellent books, easily accessible. London, in my mind, is the Great American Author because his writing doesn't exclude readers, young and old can enjoy him. As for this work, "Martin Eden", it is a dark horse compared to his earlier works, perhaps prophetic of Jack London's later life.
If anything, this novel is about success, its consequences, and what we sacrifice to achieve it. It also concerns the inner madness of attaining a goal, how nothing else seems important. Books will come go, but this book continually moves with me, a perennial home on my library shelf.
London highlights ridiculous "celebrity" worship Aug 2, 2007
In Martin Eden, Jack London provides the portrait of a young man who thirsts for knowledge, for self-improvement, to join the upper ranks of the intelligent and cultured within his society. We seem to be setting off in a "Jude the Obscure" direction. Martin loves a young woman from this society, and strives to make himself worthy. His chosen vehicle from his class and station to hers is self-education, and then the writing of serious and important work. Along the way, Martain has to swallow the unpleasant truth that those he believed to be so intelligent were actually entirely superficial in understanding. Pieces of London from other novels come through. London's belief in the "superman" comes through, as well as his disdain for the oligarchs, for example. What is most striking, however, is the dead-on skewering of celebrity worship. "Where were you when I needed you" might be Martin's refrain. The same people who ignored and derided him suddenly can't get enough of him. Why? He was the same person he was before. It was simply because other people told them so. They all just want a piece of the celebirty, to be associated with him somehow. While in real life London of course courted celebrity, the stupidity of this is blindingly apparent and even more important nearly a century later. London readers may miss the absence of the "Charmian" strong female counterpart in this book (unlike in the Sea Wolf or The Abysmal Brute or Mutiny on the Elsinore, for example). The "classy" love interest doesn't measure up in terms of independent intelligence or strength of will, and her last appearance is particularly troubling. Lizzie, from the lower socioeconomic classes, has the spark but is too held back by her upbringing. This is truly an important book.
A Neglected Classic Sep 17, 2006
It's surprising that London is so well known for his writings about nature while a classic like Martin Eden is practically forgotten. Here London shows that he is equally adept at setting a story in an urban landscape by chronicling a landed sailor's attempt to become a self-taught writer, no easy task for a man who has lived the rough and vulgar life of a sailor. But Martin is extremely persistent in spite of all the obstacles he faces. Everyone including his friends, family, and classy girlfriend question his ability to make such a transformation from a nobody to a somebody. It's hard to imagine anyone being as devoted as Martin is to improving himself, and it's a bit intimidating seeing how much devotion it can take to achieve your dreams. Knowing that London used his own life story as a strong inspiration for Martin Eden, you expect that Martin will someday be successful, yet the results of all his work are still unexpected. With enough reading, learning, and life experiences, do we all eventually take Martin Eden's point of view? That's a question this book still has me thinking about months later.