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Martin Eden by Jack London (ebook)

 

Description

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Martin Eden (1909) is a novel by American author Jack London, about a

struggling young writer. This book is a favorite among writers, who

relate to Martin Eden's speculation that when he mailed off a

manuscript, 'there was no huma editor at the other end, but a mere

cunning arrangement of cogs that changed the manuscript from one

envelope to another and stuck on the stamps, ' returning it

automatically with a rejection slip.

While some readers believe there is some resemblance between them, an

important difference between Jack London and Martin Eden is that

Martin Eden rejects socialism (attacking it as 'slave morality'), and

relies on a Nietzschean individualism. In a note to Upton Sinclair,

Jack London wrote, "One of my motifs, in this book, was an attack on

individualism (in the person of the hero). I must have bungled, for

not a single reviewer has discovered it."

Plot summary

Living in Oakland at the dawn of the 20th century, Martin Eden

struggles to rise far above his destitute circumstances through an

intense and passionate pursuit of self-education in order to achieve a

coveted place among the literary elite. The main driving force behind

Martin Eden's efforts is his love for Ruth Morse. Because Eden is a

sailor from a working class background, and the Morses are a bourgeois

family, a union between them would be impossible until he reaches

their level of wealth and perceived cultural, intellectual refinement.

Just before the literary establishment discovers Eden’s talents as a

writer and lavishes him with the fame and fortune that he had

incessantly promised Ruth (for the last two years) would come, she

loses her patience and rejects him in a wistful letter: "if only you

had settled down…and attempted to make something of yourself." When

the publishers and the bourgeois - the very ones who shunned him - are

finally at his feet, Martin has already begrudged them and become

jaded by unrequited toil and love. Instead of enjoying his success,

Eden retreats into a quiet indifference, only interrupted to mentally

rail against the genteelness of bourgeois society or to donate his new

wealth to working class friends and family.

The novel ends with Martin Eden committing suicide by drowning, a

detail which undoubtedly contributed to what researcher Clarice Stasz

calls the 'biographical myth' that Jack London's own death was a

suicide.

Joan London noted that "ignoring its tragic ending, " the book is often

regarded as "a 'success' story...which inspired not only a whole

generation of young writers but other different fields who, without

aid or encouragement, attained their objectives through great

struggle."

What's New in Version 1.3

Bug fixed

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The information may be outdated (2011-04-12 22:23:04). For actual information go to iTunes

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