website statistics Jack London - Martin Eden: “But I am I. And I won't subordinate my taste to the unanimous judgment of mankind”  - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

Jack London - Martin Eden: “But I am I. And I won't subordinate my taste to the unanimous judgment of mankind” 

Availability: Ready to download

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 a 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.


Compare

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 a 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.

30 review for Jack London - Martin Eden: “But I am I. And I won't subordinate my taste to the unanimous judgment of mankind” 

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    (757 From 1001 Books) - Martin Eden, Jack London Martin Eden is a 1909 novel by American author Jack London about a young proletarian autodidact struggling to become a writer. Living in Oakland at the beginning of the 20th century, Martin Eden struggles to rise above his destitute, proletarian circumstances through an intense and passionate pursuit of self-education, hoping to achieve a place among the literary elite. His principal motivation is his love for Ruth Morse. Because Eden is a rough, u (757 From 1001 Books) - Martin Eden, Jack London Martin Eden is a 1909 novel by American author Jack London about a young proletarian autodidact struggling to become a writer. Living in Oakland at the beginning of the 20th century, Martin Eden struggles to rise above his destitute, proletarian circumstances through an intense and passionate pursuit of self-education, hoping to achieve a place among the literary elite. His principal motivation is his love for Ruth Morse. Because Eden is a rough, uneducated sailor from a working-class background and the Morses are a bourgeois family, a union between them would be impossible unless and until he reached their level of wealth and refinement. Over a period of two years, Eden promises Ruth that success will come, but just before it does, Ruth loses her patience and rejects him in a letter, saying, "if only you had settled down ... and attempted to make something of yourself". By the time Eden attains the favour of the publishers and the bourgeoisie who had shunned him, he has already developed a grudge against them and become jaded by toil and unrequited love. Instead of enjoying his success, he retreats into a quiet indifference, interrupted only to rail mentally against the genteelness of bourgeois society or to donate his new wealth to working-class friends and family. He felt that people did not value him for himself or for his work but only for his fame. The novel ends with Eden's committing suicide by drowning, which contributed to what researcher Clarice Stasz calls the "biographical myth" that Jack London's own death was a suicide. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز پنجم ماه دسامبر سال 1984 میلادی عنوان یک: مارتین ایدن، نویسنده: جک لندن؛ مترجم: ا. دوس‍ت‍دار، نشر: تهران: علمی، چاپ نخست سال 1335، چاپ دوم 1347هجری خورشیدی»، در 294ص، شابک ندارد ؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان آمریکایی - سده 20میلادی عنوان دو: مارتین ایدن، نویسنده: جک لندن؛ مترجم: محمدتقی فرامرزی، نشر: تهران: تندر، چاپ نخست 1362، چاپ دوم 1368، هجری خورشیدی؛ در 414ص.؛ شابک ندارد عنوان سه: مارتین ایدن، نویسنده: جک لندن؛ مترجم: محمدتقی فرامرزی، نشر: تهران، دنیای نو، چاپ نخست سال 1387هجری خورشیدی، چاپ دوم نامشخص، چاپ سوم سال ‬1389 هجری خورشیدی، چاپ چهارم سال 1392 هجری خورشیدی، در 494ص.، شابک 9789641720034؛ عنوان چهار: مارتین ایدن، نویسنده: جک لندن؛ مترجم: فریدون حاجتی، نشر: تهران، آرمان، چاپ نخست سال 1354هجری خورشیدی، در 218ص.، مصور.؛ شابک: ندارد عنوان پنج: مارتین ایدن، نویسنده: جک لندن؛ مترجم: فریدون حاجتی، نشر تهران، دبیر، سال 1389 هجری خورشیدی» در 128ص.، شابک 9786005955378؛ نقل از متن: «تو را به خاطر آنچه هستی، آنچه بودی و حتی به خاطر راه­هایی که پیموده­ ای دوست می­دارم»؛ پایان نقل مارتین ایدن، داستانی از زندگی ملوانی از قشر فرودست جامعه است؛ جوانی که از یازده سالگی به دنبال نان دویده، درس را فراموش کرده، به زندگی کارگری خو گرفته، ملوان شده، و نوعی از زندگی بیقید را تجربه کرده، به دریا رفته، و با پول بازگشته، چند ماه در خشکی سپری کرده، و باز سفری دیگر را آغاز کرده، البته آنگاه که پولش ته کشیده است؛ علاقه­ ی بسیار به خواندن کتاب و شعر دارد، هر کتابی را که به دست آورد، می­خواند؛ رویدادی او را با «روت»، دختر یک خانواده از اشراف، آشنا می­کند؛ «مارتین» دل در گرو عشق می­نهد، و تلاش دارد تا پایگاه اجتماعی خویش را دیگر کند؛ جهشی کند از قشر فرودست به فرادست، به همت عشق؛ در این تلاش آموزگارش «روت» است؛ اما روح سرکش «مارتین» را نگارش است، که آرام می­کند؛ می­داند که نویسندگی برای او نان نمی­شود؛ داستان زندگی ادامه می­یابد؛ کار می­کند، و می­خواند، و می­نویسد؛ به دریا باز می­گردد، رختشوی میشود، و به فروش داستانهای خویش می­پردازد؛ بخت اما با او یار نیست؛ با آنارشیستی به نام «برسیدن»، آشنا می­شود، عقایدش، و هدفش نیز تغییر می­کند؛ «برسیدن» او را نصیحت می­کند، که به دریا بازگردد، کار بدانجا می­رسد، که جدایی از «روت» را، از او می­خواهد؛ می­گوید «زنی بزرگ و بی­قید را برگزین، زنی که به زندگی لبخند می­زند، و مرگ را به سخره می­گیرد، و تا جایی که از دستش برآید به عاشقش عشق می­ورزد. چنین زنانی وجود دارند، و تو را، به اندازه­ ی هر یک از این دست پروردگانِ بزدل بورژوازی، خواهند پرستید» ص 348، «برسیدن» او را با گروهی آشنا می­کند، که بی قیدی را، به لذت بورژوا بودن فروخته­ اند؛ مارتین، دیگر همان مارتین سابق نیست، اما همچنان عاشق «روت» است، اما از هر آنچه «بندهای بورژواری» می­خوانند، نفرت دارد «از انسان­هایی که دانش­شان را به گور سپرده ­اند»، و «بدون خواندن یک نقد، یا اصل مطلب، به صرف بودن از طبقه­ ی بالاتر، خود را محق در نظردادن می­دانند»؛ در این گیرودار سخنهایش در یک جمع سوسیالیستی دردسرساز می­شود، و برای مدتی «روت» را از دست می­دهد؛ در همان روزهاست که «برسیدن» هم می­میرد؛ تنها می­ماند، اما بخت دوباره به او روی می­کند، و کتابهایش به فروش می­رسند؛ مارتین منزجر از بورژواها، خود را در آن طبقه می­بیند، دست از نوشتن برمی­دارد؛ اکنون با سئوال بزرگوارتری روبرو شده، و باید پاسخش را بیابد، از خود می­پرسد «انسان­هایی که امروز او را از خود می­دانند، در سال­های فقر و بدبختی او کجا بودند»، و ادامه ی داستان همین پرسش است؛ مارتین ایدن اثر ماندگار «جک لندن» است، شاید خودنوشتی از زندگ خودی ایشان باشد، «جک لندن» این اثر خود را خواسته یا ناخواسته، تقدیم به تمام کارگران می­کند، از دیدگاه او، آن­ها تنها کسانی هستند که «بودن برایشان معنای متفاوت از منفعت دارد، و زندگی را با لذت و در سختی می­گذرانند، ...»؛ تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 26/08/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chris Shank

    This is one of the best books I've ever read. A remarkable attempt by Jack London in dissecting a person's evolution of being as they happen upon the path of enlightenment. Martin Edin (M.E.--a hint at the author's identification with the hero?) is a roughneck sailor who is blinded and transformed by the inner and outer beauty of a woman he meets, but this is just the beginning. Looking into her eyes he caught, "glimpses of the soul, and a glimpse of his own too." His former mode of being had co This is one of the best books I've ever read. A remarkable attempt by Jack London in dissecting a person's evolution of being as they happen upon the path of enlightenment. Martin Edin (M.E.--a hint at the author's identification with the hero?) is a roughneck sailor who is blinded and transformed by the inner and outer beauty of a woman he meets, but this is just the beginning. Looking into her eyes he caught, "glimpses of the soul, and a glimpse of his own too." His former mode of being had come to an end. Throughout the story his journey is chronicled as an intellectual and moral advance that conducts him from the dark haunts of his former 'cave' of a life, and gives entrance into a world of truth and love that was too white hot in radiance for the sleepy bumps he used to call his eyes. He educates himself through a personal track of reading books (indiscriminately at first, but in time becoming more direct and intentional), and soon he soars above even his erudite peers in his apprehension of philosophy and scientific verities. "And so you arise from mud, Martin Edin,...and you cleanse your eyes in a great brightness, thrusting your shoulders among the stars...and wresting highest heritage from all the powers that be." He mounts to a dizzying height of cultural development and cerebral prowess...yet he ultimately finds himself engulfed in loneliness and emptiness. He had opened the windows of the cramped quarters of his former existence, and having completed his trek of this new world he discovered, he finds that it is hermetically sealed from all outside life and anything that could possibly make him happy again. He had found truth, but lost love...and he finally wrestles with the decision about what to do with it all. His answer will shock you.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Simona B

    "Of course it was beautiful; but there was something more than beauty in it, something more stingingly splendid which had made beauty its handmaiden." It is astounding how long it took for me to digest this book -and I say this in nothing but praise. Honestly, it's not like I'm sure the process is completed; I tend to believe the best books are the ones you never wholly digest, the ones that keep nagging at your mind for weeks, months, years, forever, too, if that is what it takes. And the best b "Of course it was beautiful; but there was something more than beauty in it, something more stingingly splendid which had made beauty its handmaiden." It is astounding how long it took for me to digest this book -and I say this in nothing but praise. Honestly, it's not like I'm sure the process is completed; I tend to believe the best books are the ones you never wholly digest, the ones that keep nagging at your mind for weeks, months, years, forever, too, if that is what it takes. And the best books are, also, the ones that, lo and behold, turn out to be but little mirrors of yourself - and more often than not, very much to your own dismay, shame, embarrassment and a tiny, timid ember of inner joy. For me, Martin Eden was both. Meet young Martin Eden: a sailor, a commoner, an illiterate, a Mr Nobody, were it not for one thing: his boundless, painful sensitivity to beauty. Martin Eden can be described as naive in many (or possibly all) respects, but not this. He may not be able to give a cultured, sophisticated definition of what art is or is thought to be, but he just knows. He would say that he just knows it in his guts, though he wouldn't be able to elaborate further than that. He uses a metaphor that I took to heart immediately, probably because I find it not only strikingly to the point, but also poignant, smeared with sadness, and that was what stuck; it goes, "Dogs asleep in the sun often whined and barked, but they were unable to tell what they saw that made them whine and bark. He had often wondered what it was. And that was all he was, a dog asleep in the sun." I think we're all, a little, like dogs asleep in the sun. Martin Eden aimed at the stars, sought to express the inexpressible, to strip humans of their own skin; but aren't we all a little like Martin Eden, like that slumbering dog, every minute of our life? I, for sure, feel like that constantly. I constantly feel like I've got tons of things to say, and never manage. And it's frustrating, so terribly frustrating. But I guess I learned to live with that, with our never-ending communicative stalling, with beating around the bush, with being close but never really there. Yes, I feel this is a good definition of what Martin Eden is: close but never really there. He is one of "the legions of toil", a "hoodlum", but he does not conform: he is too aware and awake, almost criminally so (there is a reason if his family, or part of it, almost disowns him). But even later, after he becomes a learned man, a famous writer, when he is finally allowed into the upper classes, he cannot ignore that he doesn't belong there either, as if he still hadn't got out the last bit of dirt from under his nails, or rather, as if the fact that they didn't have any, had never had any, could never, ever sit well with him. I know London didn't intend for him to be idolized, and I'm not idolizing it (obviously, or what I'm saying wouldn't have sense at all) but I see myself in him. I see myself and you and you and all, and I see myself projected in him as the minuscule Titan I am in my mind. Did London intend for this? I can't tell, but I certainly thank him for Martin Eden. "Saints in heaven -how could they be anything but fair and pure? No praise to them. But saints in slime -ah, that was the everlasting wonder! That was what made life worth while." I loved this book beyond words, and that is why I won't shame it further by attaching more of this senseless blabbering to it. It's sad and terrible and asphyxiating (in my mind it is Martin Eden; or, The Cage) and wide-ranging, and it's a masterpiece. So my request is: treat it kindly, even if it won't do the same to you. It simply doesn't know any better.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kenny

    “limited minds can recognize limitations only in others.” Jack London ~~ Martin Eden Jack London's MARTIN EDEN is one of the most fascinating novels I have ever read. It is one of those rare novels where I can identify closely with the main character. It is also one of those books where the reader is hooked from page one and entirely swept up in the the world London Creates. Set in San Francisco, this semi-autobiographical novel is the story of Martin Eden, a sailor, who pursues ambitiously, drea “limited minds can recognize limitations only in others.” Jack London ~~ Martin Eden Jack London's MARTIN EDEN is one of the most fascinating novels I have ever read. It is one of those rare novels where I can identify closely with the main character. It is also one of those books where the reader is hooked from page one and entirely swept up in the the world London Creates. Set in San Francisco, this semi-autobiographical novel is the story of Martin Eden, a sailor, who pursues ambitiously, dreams of bettering himself thru education and literary fame. With the help of the woman he falls in love with, he educates himself feverishly, reads everything he can get his hands on, and becomes a writer, hoping to gain the respectability sought by his girl. Martin Eden soon learns that fame is a cruel mistress, that may never come to him. Martin works on his writing everyday, once he feels confident, he starts writing articles, essays and stories, sending them off to magazines and newspapers all across the country. He gets rejected by most of the magazines and newspapers he sent submissions to for quite a time until that cruel mistress comes knocking at his door. Lost love turns false and Martin pledges himself back towards the sea. Class is a major theme throughout MARTIN EDEN. Martin grew up as part of the working class and went on to become a sailor. A chance encounter brings him into contact with the Morris family. He feels uncomfortable, but inspired to better himself upon meeting them. Spurred on by his love for Ruth Morse, he embarks on a program of self-education, with the aim of becoming a famous writer and winning Ruth’s hand in marriage. As his education progresses, Martin finds himself increasingly distanced from his working class background and surroundings. Eventually, when he finds that his education has far surpassed that of the class he looked up to, he finds himself more isolated than he ever felt possible. I loved that London tied the theme of class not to material wealth, but to education, & not to formal education as earned in degrees and diplomas, but to self improvement, & experience as well as critical thinking & analysis. Martin ultimately realizes this is actually a much higher education than the formal education enjoyed by the class he initially looked up to & so desperately wanted to part of. London's Prose is beautifully expressive. He was a true master of the English language. MARTIN EDEN is nearly perfect, and had left a lasting impression on me much the same as his CALL OF THE WILD did. In the end, Martin does achieve the greatness he desires, but at a tremendous personal cost. In addition to becoming an educated person, and the toast of the town, Martin is a man of honor. He makes it his life's work to lift others up from poverty and dispair, and aids his friends and family, lifting them up to a better life in a way that no one offered to him when he was down. Martin Eden is truly a great and admirable man in many ways. London is becoming one of my favorite writers. His work sticks with me in ways that most authors do not. The friendship between Martin Eden & Russ Brissenden will always stay with me. I will be pondering MARTIN EDEN for years to come.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Werner

    In my combination review of The Call of the Wild/White Fang, I made the comment (echoing a common critical axiom) that London. like some other Naturalists, was better at portraying animal characters than human ones. That judgment was based on a prior reading of five of his novels and a number of short stories. But after reading this novel, it's a judgment that has to be substantially revised; there are no animal characters at all here, and his job of characterization is outstanding. To be sure, In my combination review of The Call of the Wild/White Fang, I made the comment (echoing a common critical axiom) that London. like some other Naturalists, was better at portraying animal characters than human ones. That judgment was based on a prior reading of five of his novels and a number of short stories. But after reading this novel, it's a judgment that has to be substantially revised; there are no animal characters at all here, and his job of characterization is outstanding. To be sure, the title character has a lot of London himself in his background and personality; but they aren't clones of each other, and the other important characters are vitally real as well. This is straightforward general fiction in the Realist-Naturalist tradition, set mostly in the author's native stamping grounds of San Francisco and Oakland, just across the bay. Published in 1908 (eight years before London died), it draws heavily on his own life experiences to tell the tale of a smart, but ignorant and uncultivated young seaman from a poor family, with no particularly noted talents except brawling and drinking. But when he rescues a wealthy lawyer's son from an altercation with some waterfront toughs, this leads to an introduction to their family --and a powerful crush on the beautiful and cultivated daughter of the house, Ruth. In turn, this propels him into a determination to better himself intellectually and socially, in order to make himself worthy of her, in her eyes and his own. This program takes the form of self-education through reading, especially in the public library and, eventually, a determination to become a writer himself. (Readers who know anything at all about London's life will recognize significant similarities, except that London had no Ruth-equivalent in his own life.) What results from this determination is the substance of the novel. London was one of the greatest storytellers of his generation, and he tells an always absorbing story here. But it's a well-tailored vehicle for serious ideas. Among the areas he explores are the real meaning of love (and its difference from infatuation, etc.); the need to be true to your own deepest aspirations and sense of yourself, not what others tell you to be; and the profound social injustice of that day, with its artificial class divisions and exploitation of the poor by the rich. (And the differences between 1908 and 2017, in those respects, aren't as great as we tell ourselves they are.) His portrayal of the superficiality and hypocrisy of the literary world is scathing (and also far from dated). And he also draws a painfully accurate picture of how few human beings actually use the minds they're endowed with to really look at the world around them with curiosity, to think for themselves and think about some things more basic and important than money and the minutia of daily living; and how many are content to go through life with no more curiosity or thought than cattle, and to distrust or resent anybody else who doesn't. (Despite our dissimilarities in many other ways, I could relate to Martin profoundly on that level, and it raked up childhood memories.) The most central thematic concern here, and probably THE central concern of London's own mind, however, is the inherent conflict between early 20th-century Socialism, with its cooperative ethic and its Utopian dream of conflict-free human brotherhood, vs. the supposedly "scientifically-proven" view of life as a Darwinist evolutionary project driven by eternal struggle between the fit and the unfit, in which the order of the day is every dog for himself, to drive evolution to the next rung of the ladder by pushing the inferior to the wall. London was a committed Socialist, and also a committed Darwinist --as with many wholly self-educated people, the first ideas that fell into his relatively fallow mind were embraced uncritically and took up unshakeable root-- but he faced the contradictions between the two, and was hag-ridden by the fear that the dream of Socialist Utopia might be doomed by Nature. Unlike London, Martin rejects Socialism and embraces the Social Darwinist individualism of Spencer and Nietszche --but he argues with Socialists and has a Socialist friend, and is haunted himself by natural human sympathy for the supposedly "unfit" and "inferior" peons of the class he was born into, which includes friends and family members. While the author has a good vocabulary, the diction here is simpler than that of the first half of the 19th-century --intelligent, but not stilted; any serious reader today could read it with no problem. The occasional passing use of the term "nigger," usually in the authorial narrative voice though from Martin's viewpoint, however, is a problem; these instances could be counted on the fingers of one hand, but they're still offensive. (The Darwinism of that day, which shaped both London and his protagonist, was of course openly racist; we can see echoes of this 30 years later in the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, who couldn't afford college and also substituted self-education by reading, as well --though his racial language isn't quite as insensitive as London's.) We have to, IMO, take a "warts-and-all" view of this novel as a product of its time and place. Readers who insist on having a happy, feel-good read, too, should be warned that this isn't one; I think it's an important and in significant ways a rewarding novel, but it's not an upbeat one. But with those caveats, I think a case could be made that while this isn't London's most popular novel, it is in many ways his masterpiece.

  6. 4 out of 5

    J.K. Grice

    MARTIN EDEN remains in my top 10 books of all time. Somewhat Dickensian in scope, the character development and social commentary in this book are both amazing. However, it's also a very personal account of a man's rise from intellectual and societal poverty. Few people realize what a masterful writer London was. This is his finest work, IMO. I read this book 19 years ago, and the details still pop into my head from time-to-time. For whatever reasons, MARTIN EDEN really resonated with me. MARTIN EDEN remains in my top 10 books of all time. Somewhat Dickensian in scope, the character development and social commentary in this book are both amazing. However, it's also a very personal account of a man's rise from intellectual and societal poverty. Few people realize what a masterful writer London was. This is his finest work, IMO. I read this book 19 years ago, and the details still pop into my head from time-to-time. For whatever reasons, MARTIN EDEN really resonated with me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Okay, first I will discuss what I really did like about this book. Alright, when I first started reading it, I was very touched by the loving connection that the main character (Martin Eden) had with Ruth. It was very sweet, and at times it reminded me of my own relationship with my boyfriend, which made it endearing and all the more special to read. Jack London wrote of how Ruth would feel relieved from her studying at the university to see Martin, and how his presence rejuvenated her and gave h Okay, first I will discuss what I really did like about this book. Alright, when I first started reading it, I was very touched by the loving connection that the main character (Martin Eden) had with Ruth. It was very sweet, and at times it reminded me of my own relationship with my boyfriend, which made it endearing and all the more special to read. Jack London wrote of how Ruth would feel relieved from her studying at the university to see Martin, and how his presence rejuvenated her and gave her a better sense of being. I really really loved that. But, I was aware of the premise (Martin Eden: a guy struggling to become an accomplished and famous writer), so I quickly brushed away the idea of it being a love story, and I was totally cool with that! To be perfectly honest, though, the EARLY relationship between them was the only part of the book I was really fond of, which happened to be only like the first 100 pages. As the story progressed, Martin started to annoy me, and the plot became very redundant and, frankly, it bored me. I just..I think what Jack London lacks in this novel is the ability to make the reader (maybe I shouldn't generalize, so we'll just say me) feel any sort of connection with the characters. I did mention, however, that initially I did feel related/connected to Martin and Ruth's relationship, but later it felt very unfulfilled. It may seem like I'm just bashing this book..I promise you, it's not a bad read. It's just..well, I feel indifferent. I know what Jack London was trying to accomplish, and that's why I granted it 2 stars instead of 1. I get it. The struggling writer who works so hard and so long to achieve his dream, only to find that fame and fortune is not all it's cracked up to be. It's just...alright, I'm going to say it: it's cliche. Especially the ending. I don't know. I'm wasn't pleasantly surprised or anything; I knew it was coming. Blah. The writing is beautiful (another reason I couldn't bear to give it 1 star), and London is a genius at transfixing you with his words--but, that can only take you so far. The story was lacking, in my opinion.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sidharth Vardhan

    I'm fast becoming Jack London fan. I'm fast becoming Jack London fan.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Jack London is one of my all-time favorites as I love the themes in his stories like White Fang, Call of the Wild, and The Sea Wolf. This book, in particular, is interesting on so many levels, but the autobiographical nature is one aspect that always grabs me. What's fascinating is Martin, who is completely disillusioned by the end of the story, chooses suicide - many scholars think Jack London's death was actually suicide as well. Since the novel came first, Martin's decision foreshadows the au Jack London is one of my all-time favorites as I love the themes in his stories like White Fang, Call of the Wild, and The Sea Wolf. This book, in particular, is interesting on so many levels, but the autobiographical nature is one aspect that always grabs me. What's fascinating is Martin, who is completely disillusioned by the end of the story, chooses suicide - many scholars think Jack London's death was actually suicide as well. Since the novel came first, Martin's decision foreshadows the author's own death?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gary Inbinder

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. "In an intellectual way London accepted the conclusions of Marxism, and he imagined that the ‘contradictions’ of capitalism, the unconsumable surplus and so forth, would persist even after the capitalist class had organized themselves into a single corporate body. But temperamentally he was very different from the majority of Marxists. With his love of violence and physical strength, his belief in ‘natural aristocracy’, his animal-worship and exaltation of the primitive, he had in him what some "In an intellectual way London accepted the conclusions of Marxism, and he imagined that the ‘contradictions’ of capitalism, the unconsumable surplus and so forth, would persist even after the capitalist class had organized themselves into a single corporate body. But temperamentally he was very different from the majority of Marxists. With his love of violence and physical strength, his belief in ‘natural aristocracy’, his animal-worship and exaltation of the primitive, he had in him what some might fairly call a Fascist strain. This probably helped him to understand just how the possessing class would behave when once they were seriously menaced." George Orwell: Review of Jack London's "The Iron Heel" "Martin Eden" is very long, powerfully written, disturbing and morbidly depressing semi-autobiographical story about the rise and fall of a young writer. The novel was published in 1909, when London was thirty-three and at the height of his celebrity. He had seven years to live. London flamed out at forty, his once strong body wasted by kidney disease exacerbated by years of alcohol and drug abuse. His eponymous hero Martin Eden checks himself out in his early twenties. The Blond Beast: Martin Eden is the Angry Young Man avant la lettre; John Osborne’s Jimmy Porter on steroids. London, who like his character Eden was a voracious reader and autodidact, appears to have incorporated every idea he had gleaned from every book he had read into this novel. Here is an illustrative excerpt from a scene where Martin rails at his host, the father of the woman he presumably loves, and the other guests, all members of the bourgeoisie. Martin is angry because his host and the others have misidentified him as a socialist: “I… am not suffering from the microbe of socialism. ….it is you who are suffering from the emasculating ravages of that same microbe. As for me, I am an inveterate opponent of socialism just as I am an inveterate opponent of your own mongrel democracy that is nothing else than pseudo-socialism masquerading under a garb of words that will not stand the test of the dictionary…. “Nietzsche was right… The world belongs to the strong—to the strong who are noble as well and who do not wallow in the swine-trough of trade and exchange. The world belongs to the true nobleman, to the great blond beasts to the noncompromisers, to the ‘yes-sayers.’ And they will eat you up, you socialists—who are afraid of socialism and who think yourselves individualists. Your slave-morality of the meek and lowly will never save you…There aren’t half a dozen individualists in Oakland, but Martin Eden is one of them.” Martin’s rant is grounded in Spencer’s Social Darwinism and Nietzsche’s theory of the Übermensch. However, the lesser known yet influential Austrian philosopher Otto Weininger is of particular interest to this conversation. London/Eden refers to Weininger indirectly by use of the term “henidical process”: “By some henidical process—henidical, by the way is a favorite word of mine which nobody understands—by some henidical process you persuade yourself that you believe in the competitive system and the survival of the strong, and at the same time you indorse with might and main all sorts of measures to shear the strength from the strong.” What exactly is a “henidical process”? “Henid” is a word taken from the Greek and coined by Weininger. By definition, a henid is a vague, half-formed thought or feeling. As for the “hedidical process” here’s a relevant passage from Otto Weininger’s Sex and Character: “–since women cannot form clear and distinct judgments, due to henids, they cannot distinguish between truths and falsehoods. No standard of right and wrong exists. Therefore women are naturally, as well as necessarily, amoral. They are not even at the level of the moral sphere. If they lack the moral dimension, then they also lack the dimension of a soul. If there is no soul, then they lack the attribute of free will. No ego, no individual essence, and no character.” Here is another relevant passage from Weininger’s Sex and Character, this one aimed at Jews, capitalism and Marxism, and the “effeminate” culture of early 20th century Europe, the effeminacy referencing its “henidical”, i.e. womanish amorality: “Our age, which is not only the most Jewish, but also the most effeminate of all ages; an age in which art represents only a sudarium of its humors; the age of the most gullible anarchism, without any understanding of the State and of justice; the age of the collectivist ethics of the species; the age in which history is viewed with the most astonishing lack of seriousness; the age of capitalism and of Marxism….” And on and on. The year Martin Eden was published (1909) a young artist named Adolph Hitler was hitting the skids in Vienna. He had much in common with London’s struggling young writer. He lived in homeless shelters and a men’s dormitory, earning a meager living as a day laborer and by painting and selling watercolors of Viennese scenes. Years later, Hitler was reported to have said in reference to Weininger, “There was only one decent Jew, and he killed himself.” Otto Weininger, the misogynistic, self-hating Jewish philosopher killed himself in 1903 at age 23, the same year as the publication of Sex and Character. Swinburne’s Dolores-Adam Eve and Eden: “And then he turned and saw the girl. The phantasmagoria of his brain vanished at sight of her. She was a pale, ethereal creature, with wide, spiritual blue eyes and a wealth of golden hair. He did not know how she was dressed, except that the dress was as wonderful as she. He likened her to a pale gold flower upon a slender stem. No, she was a spirit, a divinity, a goddess…” This is Martin’s first impression of Ruth Morse. Martin is a dinner guest at the invitation of Ruth’s brother, Martin’s reward for having saved the young man from being mugged. Just prior to her entering the room, Martin was in the process of examining a collection of Swinburne’s poems. He asks Ruth about Swinburne, mispronouncing the name, Swine-burn. A discussion follows. Martin is impressed by what he has just read. He asks Ruth her opinion of the poet. She replies: “Swinburne fails, when all is said, because he is, well, indelicate. There are many of his poems that should never be read. Every line of the really great poets is filled with beautiful truth, and calls to all that is high and noble in the human. Not a line of the great poets can be spared without impoverishing the world by that much.” He doesn’t question her judgment, but he borrows the book so he can better judge for himself. Later: “He read more of Swinburne than was contained in the volume Ruth had lent him; and “Dolores” he understood thoroughly.” Does he really understand Swinburne’s poem? The poem in fact foreshadows a doomed relationship. Dolores (Notre-Dame des Sept Douleurs) is the lament of a “Mad Lover” for his “Lady of Pain” containing Swinburne’s typical themes of misogyny, sadomasochism and a preference for the pagan world to that of the Christian. The poem is also a caustic attack on the romantic idealization of the feminine as described in Martin Eden’s first impression of Ruth: “…pale, ethereal creature, with wide, spiritual blue eyes and a wealth of golden hair.” Adam/Eden has taken his first bite of the forbidden fruit, offered to him by Eve/Ruth, and it’s not sex that’s forbidden; Martin’s already had plenty of rough and tumble proletarian sex. Rather, it’s the knowledge of good and evil, and the ultimate knowledge is that we’re all made of the same clay, his obsessive, “spiritual” love for Ruth is an illusion, and that her professed love for him is false. Paradise Lost: No Return to Eden: Martin suffers for his art. He studies, he struggles to perfect his new craft, he experiences rejection, neglect and poverty. Ruth breaks off their informal engagement in an exchange of letters. He’s left with one friend, Brissenden, a literary man and committed socialist. Brissenden introduces Martin to a group of bohemian intellectuals; he understands Martin’s work and admires it, but he also sees how the work is destroying his friend. He urges Martin to give it up and go back to the sea. Brissenden is slowly dying of tuberculosis; he cuts things short by killing himself. He leaves his final philosophical poem, Ephemera, to Martin after he gets Martin’s promise not to send it to the publishers. Martin breaks his word; he sends it to a publisher and it’s accepted. What’s more, Ephemera is a great success, but Martin regrets his action when he sees how the piece is marketed and exploited. Shortly after the success of Brissenden’s work, there’s another turn of fortune; Martin’s work gains acceptance. Within a short period of time he has a best-seller; one success follows another. The publishers start clamoring for his work, now paying top dollar and generous advances. Martin pulls out his pile of rejected manuscripts and re-submits them; the cash starts rolling in and soon the radical misfit is a well-heeled celebrity. The newspapers interview him; noted critics praise him; people who once shunned him invite him to dinner, including his small businessmen brothers-in-law whom he helps financially for his sisters’ sake. A conservative judge who Martin once insulted invites him to join an elite club; he politely declines. Is Martin happy? No; he’s more miserable than he was when he was starving. People don’t care for him or his work; they care for his wealth and success. Martin Eden the man is still a nobody; he’s just a rich and celebrated nobody. He goes to a workingmen’s picnic in an attempt to reconnect with his old, working class friends. There he encounters Lizzie Connolly, a cannery worker who was rejected by Eden when he was still in love with Ruth. Lizzie still loves him and he realizes that she’s always loved him for what he is, or rather was, before the celebrity and wealth. But it’s too late; Martin’s sick, but it’s not a sickness of the body. Lizzie provides a diagnosis: “It ain’t your body. It’s your head. Something’s wrong with your think-machine. Even I can see that, an’ I ain’t nobody.” Martin avoids people; he becomes more depressed, apathetic, impotent. He’s finished with writing. One evening Ruth comes to his hotel room. She says she still loves him. “I slipped in. Nobody knows I am here. I wanted to see you. I came to tell you I have been very foolish. I came because I could no longer stay away, because my heart compelled me to come, because—because I wanted to come.” After some back and forth they both realize there’s no hope of a future together. “He knew, now, that he had not really loved her. It was an idealized Ruth he had loved, an ethereal creature of his own creating, the bright and luminous spirit of his love-poems.” He also realizes that she never really loved him; she had loved what he could become once reformed by her into an image of her father. Martin has one last hope. He’ll go to the South Seas where he was once happy and has friends. He can acquire land cheaply on an island, buy a boat and go into the copra trade. He books passage on a steamer, settles his affairs including some generous gestures to a friendly laundryman he had worked with and his kindly Portuguese landlady, and then sets off on his final voyage. It is his attempt to return to Eden; an effort to recover his lost authentic self. He travels first class; he’s the ships celebrity dining at the captain’s table. He feels as uncomfortable in these surroundings as he did on land. He remains depressed, detached, alienated. His vision of a return to Eden fades. He turns to the following lines from another Swinburne poem: From too much love of living From hope and fear set free, We thank with brief thanksgiving Whatever gods may be That no life lives for ever; That dead men rise up never; That even the weariest river Winds somewhere safe to sea. He puts down the book, walks to a porthole, opens it, climbs through and drops down into the ocean.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    Most of Jack London's books are about nature and life in the wild. This is not! It is said to be a semi-autobiographical novel. The setting is San Francisco at the turn of the 20th century. The central protagonist, Martin Eden, first a working-class seaman, is at twenty now struggling to educate himself and become a writer. He has fallen head-over-heels in love with Ruth Morse. Martin has been invited to her home by her brother because Martin had saved his life. Martin and Ruth are of completely Most of Jack London's books are about nature and life in the wild. This is not! It is said to be a semi-autobiographical novel. The setting is San Francisco at the turn of the 20th century. The central protagonist, Martin Eden, first a working-class seaman, is at twenty now struggling to educate himself and become a writer. He has fallen head-over-heels in love with Ruth Morse. Martin has been invited to her home by her brother because Martin had saved his life. Martin and Ruth are of completely different classes and backgrounds, but an attraction is there. She begins tutoring him and from there their relationship develops. The conversations between the two are cute. They made me smile. He knows nothing of proper etiquette. She is naive, albeit three, four years his senior. His strength, vitality and richness of experiences have an undeniable attraction to her. He is drawn by her knowledge and a deep-seated physical attraction. He reasons he will educate himself and will in so doing make himself worthy of her. Her parents are of course not pleased. We watch how their relationship develops and the changes that occur in each of them. The novel is more than a love story; it is a character study. It is a study of Martin’s path toward becoming an author, the development of both his writing abilities as well as his philosophical and political views. Martin is very much of an individualist, and where this leads him is what you will think about. That London was a socialist and yet Martin Eden an individualist is not incongruous if one considers how the book ends. I was caught up in the tale. One vividly feels an author’s struggle to get that first book into print and what an author must go through to become acknowledged! After success is achieved, how does one feel then? Bliss or anger? Or does one feel deceived? The writing varies from being strong and direct to wordy and overblown. This can perhaps be explained by the transformation that takes place in Martin. I do feel the story should have been tightened. Each step/event in Martin’s life conveys a message and explains why he thinks and does what he does, but each is drawn out a little bit too long. The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Andrew Garman. I think he did a truly fantastic job. First of all, it is easy to follow and read at a perfect speed. What is remarkable is Garman’s ability to capture the mood of disparate events - the excitement of intellectuals debating, a brawl or the flirtatious banter between Ruth and Martin. The tone of an educated bourgeoise, a drunk, a laundry worker in a hotel, or an immigrant woman struggling to make ends meet are all perfectly captured. I am certainly glad I read this, and I do recommend it to others. One views Jack London with very different eyes knowing that he has written this book too, so very different from all his others.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Quo

    Martin Eden is a veiled autobiographical slant on Jack London's own artistic quest. It is said that a book can be autobiographical without being an autobiography, something that is very evident with Martin Eden, a work that was followed by John Barleycorn a 2nd but very different & briefer attempt by the author to explain his philosophy of life & his own artistic quest. The novel is one that positions a poor, struggling Oakland writer from the lower realm of society, very much at odds with the up Martin Eden is a veiled autobiographical slant on Jack London's own artistic quest. It is said that a book can be autobiographical without being an autobiography, something that is very evident with Martin Eden, a work that was followed by John Barleycorn a 2nd but very different & briefer attempt by the author to explain his philosophy of life & his own artistic quest. The novel is one that positions a poor, struggling Oakland writer from the lower realm of society, very much at odds with the upper class of San Francisco, with their intersection coming as a result of Martin Eden's coming to the rescue of Arthur Morse, who had been set upon by thugs. In so doing, Martin, an itinerant seaman with no social skills & limited education is invited to a dinner party at the home of the very wealthy, socially prominent & very grateful Morse family. The erstwhile seaman immediately realizes that he is from "quite a different tribe" but while there, intimidated by the home's visible wealth & the unknown protocols involved in a formal dinner, he meets Arthur Morse's sister Ruth, a student at the Univ. of California, Berkeley & a chemistry is quickly established between the two. Martin Eden begins to read voraciously at local libraries, devouring books of all sorts, including some dealing with grammar & etiquette. Martin's world begins to change slowly & he decides to become a writer, limiting himself to 5 hours of sleep a night, while renting a typewriter & living with a downtrodden sister & a brother-in-law who despises him and later in a tiny room within the house of Maria Silva, a Portuguese immigrant who is sympathetic to Martin's dream, while herself being unable to read or write. Martin Eden remembered his decision. For the first time, he became himself, consciously & deliberately at first but soon lost in the joy of creating, in making life as he knew it appear. He selected from the vast mass of detail with an artist's touch, drawing pictures of life that glowed & burned with light & color, injecting movement so that his characters came alive with a flood of rough eloquence, enthusiasm & power. At times, he shocked with the vividness of the narrative & his terms of speech, but beauty always followed fast upon the heels of violence, and tragedy was relieved by humor, by strange twists & quirks.A kind of courtship develops between Martin & Ruth Morse, with Ruth attracted to the raw power of Martin, unlike anyone she had ever met. She tutors Mr. Eden, who in turn begins to explain his artistic quest & who in turn has his nature opened to music, "as a flower is to the sun" when Ruth plays the piano. Obviously, this is a convergence of opposites but Ruth & Martin have things previously not experienced to offer each other. Naturally, Ruth's parents object and everyone who encounters Martin would prefer he just find a regular job, even if not initially a "promising position". The would-be author works feverishly, never losing a moment, even pinning definitions to the mirror to read when shaving. He reads everything...working out the tricks that writers used in establishing a narrative, exposition, style, points of view, contrasts and of all of these he made lists for study. He dissected beauty in his crowded little bedroom laboratory, where cooking smells alternated with the outer bedlam of the Silva family; and having dissected & learned the anatomy of beauty, he was ever nearer to being able to create beauty itself.Alas, all Martin Eden earns for his literary efforts are rejection slips, being forced to pawn his winter coat, watch & only good suit, meaning that he can no longer visit the Morse home. Weak from malnutrition, Martin perseveres, eventually discovering two schools of fiction, "man as God & man as clod", with the trick being to "fling over his artistry, a masque of humanness." There are indeed times in Jack London's Martin Eden when the prose and Martin's behavior resemble a series of rants & an overbearing insensitivity to make even a minimal attempt to understand those who are different, the Morse family among them & their powerful allies, including a judge. Unfortunately, there are also uses of the "N-word" & a reference that many would consider antisemitic but which would not have been unusual in 1909, perhaps employed by the wealthy Morse family as well as a starving artistic type like Martin Eden. There is a pivotal moment in Eden's life, when at an evening gathering of unaffiliated intellectuals, anarchists & free-thinkers, he was struck by their intensity, as if "by the inside knowledge the rebels possessed, the wires & strings & hidden hands that made the puppets dance was absent, nobody having manufactured their opinions for them, with their lips strangers to platitudes." It was an uplifting, quintessential experience for young Martin Eden, who was given the opportunity to express his own views on life to those assembled. Nothing so clearly stated Jack London's credo! In time, success does occur for Martin & an initial acceptance by magazine & book publishers soon becomes a groundswell of success, sometimes accepting the very same manuscripts they had earlier rejected. All of this duplicity provokes Martin in the extreme. People who branded Eden a socialist provocateur now invite him to dinner & to be a member of their exclusive clubs.That was the paradox of it. He was the fad of the hour. When he wanted dinners, no one gave them to him and now that he was wealthy & losing his appetite, dinners were thrust upon him. But why? There was no justice in it, no merit on his part. He was no different. He was the same person who earlier had been called an idler & a bum. He only desired to be valued for himself, or for his work, which after all, was an expression of himself.Jack London does stack the deck to make his point but Martin Eden could also be seen as a kind of literary parable, suggesting that "when I was poor, hungry & headed to the pawnshop, you did not know me but now that I have ample wealth & celebrity status, you honor me." One might almost see the novel on the order of a Dickensian tale of transformation, a poor but good man rising up via his own hard work, self-induced scholarship and an avid belief in his potential. Ultimately, Martin Eden pays off all of his debts, rescues many people in need of his financial support and even declares that he was not angry with those who had earlier found him loathsome & without potential. However, he is angry with the commonness of such behavior Having grown up with the adventure tales of Jack London & having recently reread The Call of the Wild, I wasn't familiar with Martin Eden until I noticed an online Charlie Rose interview with the late Peter O'Toole, wherein when asked if there was any book that had influenced him, causing O'Toole to initially shake his head but then to suggest that there was one book that stood above all others he'd read & that was the novel Martin Eden by Jack London. This seemed to be all I needed to go in search of the book & then to read it. While not especially happy with the ending (which I won't reveal here), I enjoyed Jack London's novel of personal growth & discovery very much & recommend it highly! My version of the novel is not the one shown atop my review but is part of The Collected Works of Jack London, a 1060 page hardcover book, published by Dorset in 1991, with a very minimal introduction by Steven Kasdin. (The print is rather small & thus a novel that tallies at 480 pages in some versions is 205 pages in this one.) *The initial photo image within my review is of young Jack London in 1886 doing schoolwork at Henold's Saloon in Oakland; the 2nd image is of London at work on a manuscript on the property he acquired in California after becoming a successful author; the last image is of Henold's First & Last Chance Saloon, a wonderful old haunt in Oakland, highly recommended as a place to enjoy a wee dram at the place where Jack London apparently spent many an hour communing with the locals & left behind many brain cells.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I found this book annoying, since the main character is so obviously a "Mary Sue": an idealized stand-in for London himself. Oh, the loving descriptions about how smart he is, how capable, how rugged and manly! His broad manly shoulders literally threaten the knicknacks of the idle rich. The women all feel his "too animal-like vigor" as a physical force. Oh, please. He works hard, educates himself, and through much effort becomes an astounding success. But alas, no one is his intellectual equal, I found this book annoying, since the main character is so obviously a "Mary Sue": an idealized stand-in for London himself. Oh, the loving descriptions about how smart he is, how capable, how rugged and manly! His broad manly shoulders literally threaten the knicknacks of the idle rich. The women all feel his "too animal-like vigor" as a physical force. Oh, please. He works hard, educates himself, and through much effort becomes an astounding success. But alas, no one is his intellectual equal, society are misguided sheep, there's no point to anything. Only he understands how benighted everyone is. All his energy and can-do attitude instantly melts into depression. I could have some sympathy for finding that the top is not what you envisioned, and that you don't fit, but not, "I'm just too brilliant and enlightened for anyone to understand." I find that a seriously adolescent outlook. Perhaps this would not have bothered me so much if the last London book I read (The Iron Heel) didn't have the same manly, brilliant, thinly-disguised version of London as its main character, worshiped by the wife who is writing the memoir. At least in that book, the hero changed his society. Martin feels it's pointless. I did enjoy the portrait of life in early 19th c. San Francisco area, and Martin's struggle to improve himself, while idealized, was clearly very personal for London.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anna Chviedaruk

    Rarely do I get to spend my time with a book that's read in just one breath. Well this was the one. Brilliant. Inspiring and then tragic. This was the first book of Jack London that I've read, but, boy, am I amazed at his mastery. The plot is breathtaking, fast, contrasting, absorbent. What a character that Martin Eden! A reader is drawn to his strength, brilliance and lust for life at first, thinking that he/she knows how the story will end. Such books teach us about life, about people's souls Rarely do I get to spend my time with a book that's read in just one breath. Well this was the one. Brilliant. Inspiring and then tragic. This was the first book of Jack London that I've read, but, boy, am I amazed at his mastery. The plot is breathtaking, fast, contrasting, absorbent. What a character that Martin Eden! A reader is drawn to his strength, brilliance and lust for life at first, thinking that he/she knows how the story will end. Such books teach us about life, about people's souls and differences. That's why I love reading - you learn the lives that you'll never get to live. This book didn't have to have such ending, I know the Edens are still able to find the meaning in life. But now I know how such people feel, what mistakes they make. And oh, now I know what a man with a goal can do. But one should make sure which goal to choose.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Frank Scozzari

    Martin Eden is essentially an autobiographical piece on Jack London's early years as a struggling writer. Although fictionalized, it mirrors many of the triumphs and tragedies he encountered en route to the top of the literary world . All aspiring young writers should read this book. It reveals the sacrifice, determination, and hard work Jack London committed to his craft. Martin Eden is essentially an autobiographical piece on Jack London's early years as a struggling writer. Although fictionalized, it mirrors many of the triumphs and tragedies he encountered en route to the top of the literary world . All aspiring young writers should read this book. It reveals the sacrifice, determination, and hard work Jack London committed to his craft.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sera

    It’s been a long time since I have read Jack London who has been my first favorite writer with White Fang, The Call of the Wild, the Sea Wolf, The Game and other stories. As a kind of an autobiographical novel, Martin Eden depicts the story of a man who tries to be a writer. The abyss between him and Ruth, the woman he loves, and the society becomes bigger and bigger. It is a novel of loneliness actually and we can understand writers like Jack London, Salinger and many other writers better. The It’s been a long time since I have read Jack London who has been my first favorite writer with White Fang, The Call of the Wild, the Sea Wolf, The Game and other stories. As a kind of an autobiographical novel, Martin Eden depicts the story of a man who tries to be a writer. The abyss between him and Ruth, the woman he loves, and the society becomes bigger and bigger. It is a novel of loneliness actually and we can understand writers like Jack London, Salinger and many other writers better. The motives and reasons they isolate themselves from society are quite depressing in my opinion. His original and lively ideas are so different from his lover Ruth who has a superficial view of the world, the idea of love is also questioned between these two people who come from different parts of society. Sometimes you may think, the thoughts and wishes of Ruth seem realistic when she wants Martin to find a “proper” job, but as you continue and look closely, you see that it is just an idealization of love for Martin. In some parts of the book, Martin’s obstinacy of being a writer may make you tedious as well but as everyone seems to be so against him, his lonelines never changes even when he becomes really famous. He says and claims he hasn’t changed. As we see, his personality and opinions are the same but the attitudes of people are so different to him now… It is a neat summary of our world. You are mostly alone in your bad times but when it comes to change, when things seem to be getting better for you, when people like Martin Eden start becoming richer and more famous, suddenly you are surrounded by people. People who once turn your back on you change in such a repelling way, you get sick of people and end up being a misanthropist. The perception of success, individualism, the concept of working, being broke and being famous and a man’s struggle for everything are told in such a devastating and melancholic way, the hypocrisy of life makes the life unbearable for Martin Eden.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cemre

    I read this book pretty late, this summer,at the age of 26, upon a friend's high recommendation. I always thought it was written with a high passion about the developments of the era. There are books which are able to change your whole view of life when you read them as a teenager, this one is definitely one of them. Thank God I didn't read it back then, because you may feel a bit depressive through the novel when considering the traumatic realization of Martin Eden as he was going to death, that I read this book pretty late, this summer,at the age of 26, upon a friend's high recommendation. I always thought it was written with a high passion about the developments of the era. There are books which are able to change your whole view of life when you read them as a teenager, this one is definitely one of them. Thank God I didn't read it back then, because you may feel a bit depressive through the novel when considering the traumatic realization of Martin Eden as he was going to death, that he would do the same if he had another chance.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Maria Grazia

    MARTIN EDEN by JACK LONDON , whose real name was John Griffith London, is another of those stories that hooked me when I read them first time and it has become part of my literary roots. It’s another of those stories about an extraordinary young person I like reading with / to my students. It’s the story of a young sailor and labourer who has a great dream, to become a part of the wealthy bourgeoisie, to belong to those people who led a high-thinking life. Inspired by the college-educated societ MARTIN EDEN by JACK LONDON , whose real name was John Griffith London, is another of those stories that hooked me when I read them first time and it has become part of my literary roots. It’s another of those stories about an extraordinary young person I like reading with / to my students. It’s the story of a young sailor and labourer who has a great dream, to become a part of the wealthy bourgeoisie, to belong to those people who led a high-thinking life. Inspired by the college-educated society girl Ruth Morse he starts self – educating himself. Knowledge and writing become his obsessions. Martin becomes a writer at last and expresses in his works the views upon life he has learnt from his reading of Spencer. However, only Russ Brissenden - a leftist poet based upon George Sterling - sees the value of his work. When he seems to grasp the fulfillment of his dream, he loses Ruth, now his fiancée , who does not value anything that is not "established" and sees him as a failure because magazines will not publish his writing and because he has become notorious for being a socialist although those accusations are untrue. The story sees Martin achieve fame at last but not happiness and gratification: he doesn’t belong to the world he aspired to nor he belongs any longer to his own class either . Some elements of the novel hint at autobiography on the part of London who was also a sailor. First published as a book in 1909, Martin Eden was too early for its audience. The myth of individual success through hard work still dominated American culture. The revolutionary idea that hard work and success were self – defeating in an unlovely mechanical society was unpalatable, both to radicals and to Republicans. This meant that it was a failure at the time because it was before its time. Anyway, in the general revaluation of London’s work, Martin Eden has taken a significant place. Its force and appeal have survived the passage of time. What are the features of this story or of its protagonist which give the book such force and appeal? GO ON READING ON MY BLOG http://flyhigh-by-learnonline.blogspo...Jack London

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lana

    This book ruined my life.

  20. 4 out of 5

    John Anthony

    Magnificent! both the book and title character. Martin is a man's man and a woman's. Autobiographical. A terrific insight, therefore, into the mind and heart of Jack London, both as a successful author and as a desperately struggling would-be one. Both character and author started in the gutter and fought their way out and into a society to which neither really belonged; the world of the mediocre bourgeoisie. Yet another book about an Outsider - one with a very big soul. I read this on Kindle and Magnificent! both the book and title character. Martin is a man's man and a woman's. Autobiographical. A terrific insight, therefore, into the mind and heart of Jack London, both as a successful author and as a desperately struggling would-be one. Both character and author started in the gutter and fought their way out and into a society to which neither really belonged; the world of the mediocre bourgeoisie. Yet another book about an Outsider - one with a very big soul. I read this on Kindle and struggled with some (not always obvious) typos, otherwise this was heading for 5*. Hope to re-read with paper pages in my hands next time.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Onur

    The story starts with the first emotional bond with Mart& Ruth. One lover, Martin Eden who is ready to be change himself because of his love. So he starts it with grammar and public decency. Notwithstanding, it has something against to him like insularity, these people were indoctrinating their idea to the others. He decides to begin to writing as unprofessional and at the same time he admits his love to Ruth. Afterwards his misery and desperate life begins. Martin has strong difficulties in his The story starts with the first emotional bond with Mart& Ruth. One lover, Martin Eden who is ready to be change himself because of his love. So he starts it with grammar and public decency. Notwithstanding, it has something against to him like insularity, these people were indoctrinating their idea to the others. He decides to begin to writing as unprofessional and at the same time he admits his love to Ruth. Afterwards his misery and desperate life begins. Martin has strong difficulties in his life. In addition, He takes many reply letters regarding his essays from publishers that create disappointment quite a while but, in any case, he waits patiently until become successful. And at the end successful starts to come. He meets with Brissenden, they become good and strong friend, then he meets with debate group through Brissenden, indeed it will be significant milestone for his life. After a point he hear hurt letter from Ruth and new period begins in his life, his book Shame of Sun publishes at the end and book sets a record all over the world. In spite of that Martin start to confront his past especially bad memories, after this point his attitude of mind changes and shows symptom of depression. Coward bourgeoisie turns back with all factor and component. But it is futile. And his final journey. The story and book are so good.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gordon

    A powerful book. A dynamic working-class man discovers the world of knowledge and culture, falls in love with a girl from this new world, and realizes he has a gift for writing. Although he eventually succeeds after much self-denial one after another his new ideals prove to be disappointments. The portrayal of his dawning consciousness is dazzling. The second half of the book drags somewhat but the tragic ending - which came as more of a surprise than it should have - has the inevitability of a A powerful book. A dynamic working-class man discovers the world of knowledge and culture, falls in love with a girl from this new world, and realizes he has a gift for writing. Although he eventually succeeds after much self-denial one after another his new ideals prove to be disappointments. The portrayal of his dawning consciousness is dazzling. The second half of the book drags somewhat but the tragic ending - which came as more of a surprise than it should have - has the inevitability of a force of nature, despite the atypical (for Jack London) urban setting. For me the book is summed up by the thought that comes to Eden on the boat to Tahiti: "Well, here he was, the great man on board, in the midmost centre of it, sitting at the captain’s right hand, and yet vainly harking back to forecastle and stoke-hole in quest of the Paradise he had lost. He had found no new one, and now he could not find the old one" - a thought that, for this reader, was uncomfortably close to home.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    I finally made it all the way through this book. If you've read Jack London's Call of the Wild, this book may surprise you. I'm not sure if it's a polemic against the publishing industry and editors of literary magazines everywere. Maybe it's a criticism of the class structure and how people come to be defined by their success and not their actual work. Or maybe it's a statement that you should never cross out of your class. Still, though it was tough going at first, I did really enjoy Martin's I finally made it all the way through this book. If you've read Jack London's Call of the Wild, this book may surprise you. I'm not sure if it's a polemic against the publishing industry and editors of literary magazines everywere. Maybe it's a criticism of the class structure and how people come to be defined by their success and not their actual work. Or maybe it's a statement that you should never cross out of your class. Still, though it was tough going at first, I did really enjoy Martin's pov and the ending really moved me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Villines

    It may have happened like this. Long ago, the creatures that could accept as fact the suggestions of fear were found to outlive and out-reproduce their more scientific brethren. Hence, humans came into being with the ability to believe as fact things unproven or unexplained. We became spiritual beings. We believe in dreams and we imagine what life would be like, if only if. For any given dream, there is a journey. We set out on a quest towards a vision, but along the way, reality takes its toll. It may have happened like this. Long ago, the creatures that could accept as fact the suggestions of fear were found to outlive and out-reproduce their more scientific brethren. Hence, humans came into being with the ability to believe as fact things unproven or unexplained. We became spiritual beings. We believe in dreams and we imagine what life would be like, if only if. For any given dream, there is a journey. We set out on a quest towards a vision, but along the way, reality takes its toll. By the time we reach our goal the reality of our dream may in fact be very different from our initial vision. This is what Marti Eden is about: a dream, a journey, and the end of a quest. Martin Eden makes a statement about London's own dreams and their ultimate value as he achieved his success. According to London in some of his letters that addressed Martin Eden, the only difference in the final fates of London and Eden, was perspective. London was saved by his trust in others. Through this trust he was still able find value in the life he achieved even though it was very different from the life he envisioned. I have often considered Marti Eden to be one of London's best novels. And the reason for its strength lies in how closely the story parallels London's own life. He wrote what he knew best and because of his truly personal connection to the story, his honesty exceeds his desire to simply lead his readers through a story. The book is filled with emotions and passions that cannot be anything but his own. It is filled with life as he experienced it, and as a consequence, he documents the human conditions that surrounded him nearly a century ago. --- First Rread: January 2005

  25. 4 out of 5

    Burcu

    Reading this book was like revisiting the past. I had had a childhood attachment to London's adventure novels like the White Fang (I like the canines, you see). However, it was really when I moved to NorCal that I seriously looked into his writing. There was just too much to read at the time, after all I was trying to get an MA in Literature. So, I never got around to read Martin Eden. I've read this book with a bit of a nostalgia, thinking of the Bay Area. Oakland, Berkeley and all the cool pla Reading this book was like revisiting the past. I had had a childhood attachment to London's adventure novels like the White Fang (I like the canines, you see). However, it was really when I moved to NorCal that I seriously looked into his writing. There was just too much to read at the time, after all I was trying to get an MA in Literature. So, I never got around to read Martin Eden. I've read this book with a bit of a nostalgia, thinking of the Bay Area. Oakland, Berkeley and all the cool places, bookstores, cafes, the ocean. Nostalgia, indeed. I think that Martin Eden is better than the Iron Heel. Or I'm just getting older. Books have their times. When I read the Iron Heel back in the day, I was really in the mood of the Iron Heel. Now, when I read Martin Eden many years later, I am in the mood of Martin Eden. Let's just hope that it won't, I won't follow with John Barleycorn.

  26. 5 out of 5

    LauraT

    Probably a bit naive, schematic. But still a great book, a great novel, loved by my father. Terrific the description of the "hands", distinguishing the different social classes ... Probably a bit naive, schematic. But still a great book, a great novel, loved by my father. Terrific the description of the "hands", distinguishing the different social classes ...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Shree

    Almost autobiography of Jack London. The transformation of an uneducated fool to a profound mind. But everything comes at a cost. I re-read this novel to re-live the feelings that I have felt when I read this book in high school. I read a review of this book in a random magazine that I found somewhere. I thank the person who wrote that review. Because of you, a kid discovered that there is something close to bliss in reading a good book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Armina Salemi

    More than 3, less than four, and salutations Mister Jack London.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nana.

    One of the most powerful books I have ever read. This book should be given to the people at the age of 18-20, and if they see their reflection in Martin, this means they are on the right path; if not - they are hopeless grey zombies of the society. I feel in pain from the fact that the society managed to break the will of such a powerful individual and turn him into a cynic, absolutely apathetic to anything and unwilling to go on with the fight for happiness, which is Life! Yet, no matter how pa One of the most powerful books I have ever read. This book should be given to the people at the age of 18-20, and if they see their reflection in Martin, this means they are on the right path; if not - they are hopeless grey zombies of the society. I feel in pain from the fact that the society managed to break the will of such a powerful individual and turn him into a cynic, absolutely apathetic to anything and unwilling to go on with the fight for happiness, which is Life! Yet, no matter how painful it was to see such a termination of a seemingly striking transformation, London simply had to sacrifice Martin to make all of us question the true value of what we consider as our goal, in order to prevent us from the most bitter - disappointment. So many parallel thematics flow along with the main theme such as an insight into the relationships between man and a woman, and the significance of faith in them; emptiness of fame, position in the society and wealth; karma, and how you inevitably see the fruits of your efforts, as long as they are true; hypocritical nature of people; and most importantly - the importance of perseverance of a true, genuine self (which Martin betrayed to) because that is the only back to rely on we have at the end of the day, and its only the voice of this self that comes to our defense even while the whole universe is standing against. This book is a must-read for all target-driven people. Standing in life with this kind of people, I have had all the challenges Martin has gone through mixed in my head, while London sorted them all on the shelves, and made a huge contribution to the path towards a goal I am on at the moment.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Williams

    (Written for myself... to better remember this book and to remember Jack London as he spoke thus to me.) Sea Wolf brought me into London’s orbit. I’d read White Fang and Call of the Wild as a child(and again after rediscovering London). Martin Eden smacked me across my noggin, my heart. I’ve felt at times that this story(a semi autobiographical one) was like a mirror—albeit one that projected a thematic chunk at me. The following quotation is chilling once you’ve become exposed to Martin Eden’s en (Written for myself... to better remember this book and to remember Jack London as he spoke thus to me.) Sea Wolf brought me into London’s orbit. I’d read White Fang and Call of the Wild as a child(and again after rediscovering London). Martin Eden smacked me across my noggin, my heart. I’ve felt at times that this story(a semi autobiographical one) was like a mirror—albeit one that projected a thematic chunk at me. The following quotation is chilling once you’ve become exposed to Martin Eden’s ending. “Why didn’t you dare it before? he asked harshly. When I hadn’t a job? When I was starving? When I was just as I am now, as a man, as an artist, the same Martin Eden? That’s the question. I’ve been asking myself for many a day. My brain is the same old brain. And what is puzzling me is why they want me now. Surely they don’t want me for myself, for myself the same old self they did not want. They must want me for something else, for something that is outside of me, for something that is not I. Shall I tell you what that something is? It is for the recognition I have recieved. That recognition is not I. Then again for the money I have earned and am earnin. But money is not I. And is it for the recognition and money, that you now want me?”

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.