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Martin Eden (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Jack London

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

Biographie de l'auteur

Jack London (1876 –1916) was an American author who wrote The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and The Sea Wolf along with many other popular books. A pioneer in the then-burgeoning world of commercial magazine fiction, he was one of the first Americans to make a lucrative career exclusively from writing. Jack London was one of the first writers to write for fictional magazines. Martin Eden is a writer who resembles London. When Eden sent a manuscript off in the mail he thought there was no human editor at the other end. There must be a machine designed to take the papers out of one envelope and put them into another one and address it for return. This idea has made this novel a favorite with writers who can empathize with Eden.

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  • Langue : Anglais
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.7 étoiles sur 5  40 commentaires
24 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An inspirational yet cautionary tale 23 juin 2011
Par Karl Janssen - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
In reward for an act of good samaritanism, Martin Eden, an uneducated working-class sailor, is invited to dinner at the home of the bourgeois Morse family. Upon first sight of lovely young Ruth Morse, he immediately falls in love with her. Over the course of the evening, Martin becomes enamored with the family's luxurious home, refined lifestyle, and cultured education, and aspires to raise himself to their level. With the intention of transforming himself into a man worthy of marrying Ruth, he sets upon a rigorous course of self-education. Soon he develops a passion for writing, and resolves to make his fortune as a man of letters.

What follows is the long, arduous journey of Martin's ascent. His struggles as an aspiring writer are totally captivating; one can't help but rejoice in his successes and agonize over his failures. The portions of the book devoted to his literary exploits are so engrossing, the romance between Martin and Ruth often seems a cumbersome distraction. Though a realist and radical in his political and philosophical writings, London was often a hopeless romantic and downright puritanical in his depictions of male/female relations. In his works women are often set on pedestals, and no one gets a higher pedestal than Ruth Morse. Even so, as Mr. and Mrs. Morse deliberate over whether Martin is worthy of their daughter, the reader finds himself wondering whether Ruth is really worthy of Martin. Thankfully, as the book progresses and the characters gain a little maturity, the relationship between Martin and Ruth becomes less idyllic and much more firmly grounded in reality. As Martin's superheroic quest for self-transformation lurches toward fruition, he comes to realize that the result of his metamorphosis is not the paradise he envisioned.

Whether you come to admire Martin or abhor him, this is an exceptionally thought-provoking novel that calls into question the inherent value of social status and intellectual achievement. What begins as a simple boy-meets-girl, rags-to-riches tale gradually progresses into a profound investigation into the complex conflicts of man vs. society, class vs. intellect, artistic integrity vs. exploitation, individualism vs. conformity, and ambition vs. complacency. This semi-autobiographical novel was Jack London's greatest attempt to break free from the ghetto of adventure fiction to which he was so often undeservedly confined, and to write the sort of philosophical literary novel one might expect from a Dickens or a Balzac. To this end he was extremely successful. Martin Eden is a life-changing read that deserves a place on any bookshelf alongside the great classics of literature.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Be Careful What You Wish For 21 février 2013
Par Pinewell - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
In recent months, I've been reading the works of Jack London. I've gone through "White Fang", "The Call of the Wild", "The Road", "A Collection of Stories", "The Jacket", "Lost Face", and most recently "Martin Eden". All of these titles are offered as free Kindle books on Amazon. By far, "Martin Eden" seems to be London's masterpiece, although I certainly haven't read all of his works. Various others here have given a description of the story but I'm glad that I didn't read those too closely prior to opening the pages. I wanted the story to be fresh and just as I don't want to watch new movie trailers, I don't want to know the plot of a book beforehand. I had never heard of this book so wasn't sure what I'd be reading only that it was highly rated by other Amazon customers. Now that I've read the book, I happily returned to this page to see what others before me had to say and to add my 5 stars.

Spoiler alert: Please stop reading now if you'd also like to read this book with no preconceived notions.

I'm glad this wasn't the first of Jack London's works that I read because I was able to see autobiographical parallels of the real Jack London to the fictionalized Martin Eden as the story went on. Certainly some of the very works I read by him in recent months had to have been snapped up for publication, just as Martin Eden's works were, regardless of their merit. Certainly threads of his other tales and life story overlap in this book. I would have been more disappointed by some of the other works I read by him after this powerful piece, too. His depiction of Martin's struggles to better himself to become worthy of his love interest, but which developed into a crazed study and work schedule with only 4 hours of nightly sleep; later deepening into anger and serious depression just when his dreams were finally coming to fruition; and finally an unpremeditated suicide wish, seem to lay out symptoms of a young man developing manic-depression (bipolar disorder). At the start, I never imagined that it would veer off into such a dark and tragic ending. I ached for him to find peace and happiness from the start of this tale to the finish! This was a very engaging work that one can probably not help to think deeply and long about well after the final page has been read.

I'm glad that Amazon offers many classics for free on the Kindle as I probably would have hesitated to break the spine of this book if I chanced an old volume on my shelves. Also, I'm thankful that my Kindle is loaded with 2 dictionaries as I found frequent need to consult them when happening upon somewhat archaic vocabulary I was unfamiliar with. I look forward to finding more works by Jack London to read in the future.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Good read. 31 juillet 2013
Par A. Tetrault - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Like most people I know of Jack London's more famous novels,i.e. "White Fang" The call of the wild" etc. This book was a pleasant surprise. If you are a Jack London fan, this book is certainly worth your time.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 “‘Life is, I think, a blunder and a shame. It is—a blunder and a shame’” (p. 430). 17 juillet 2014
Par R. Russell Bittner - Publié sur
Given that MARTIN EDEN is the most autobiographical work Jack London ever wrote (this, according to Andrew Sinclair, who wrote the Intro), we have to believe that the author actually lived most of what he writes. If so, the work should be mandatory reading for anyone contemplating a writing career at the cost of a day-job.

If any of us should still believe that ‘the road less traveled’ is a glorious one, this work will cure him or her of that illusion. But for an occasional fluke (which aspiring writers and the publishing world alike all feed upon), the writer’s life – if Jack London’s is a fair example, and I believe it is – is one of poverty and debilitation – if not downright humiliation. Oh, and did I mention hunger?

But no matter. Go and feast on the ideal if you insist. Just know that the ideal contains damned few calories.

At one point, Martin Eden (the eponymous principal character of this novel) actually does achieve fame and fortune. Is this, then, a kind of ‘Cinderella story?’ Without giving away the actual conclusion of London’s novel, I’ll allow you a glimpse via some of his principal character’s ruminations: “And always was Martin’s maddening and unuttered demand: Why didn’t you feed me then? It was work performed. “The Ring of Bells” and “The Peri and the Pearl” (two of the fictional writer’s short stories) are not changed one iota. They were just as artistic, just as worthwhile, then as now. But you are not feeding me for their sake, nor for the sake of anything else I have written. You’re feeding me because it is the style of feeding just now, because the whole mob is crazy with the idea of feeding Martin Eden” (p. 450).

Antiquated if not downright flawed though it and he may be, I suspect that MARTIN EDEN (the novel) and Martin Eden (the novel’s protagonist) are – just as is London’s superb short story, “To Build a Fire” – memories to last a lifetime. In this age of rampant self-publication and an unbridled quest after the glory of artistic recognition – but in which so few are willing to do the work London obviously did to achieve recognition for his work – this novel should stand as both Bible and roadmap. Or as Dante once wrote over the gates of Hell, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Jack London's Masterpiece 4 janvier 2014
Par The Yuletide Kid - Publié sur
Re: Jack London's MARTIN EDEN

Other reviewers have covered the plot and given a wide range of stars to this book. To my mind, this is too subjective an approach with a novel of this nature. MARTIN EDEN is a book of ideas first and characterization and plot second and third in that order. Below are a handful of selected excerpts that may be of help on whether or not this book is worthy of your time. Yes, I am terribly biased in favor of MARTIN EDEN. I have read it three times and will probably read it again. But I am addicted to beautiful words and the horrors of the factory system in American history. MARTIN EDEN is a feast on both those counts. Finally, the selected excerpts were taken from the First Edition. The more modern editions have changed some spelling and even altered some words. I don't know about you, but I like my novels as close to the author's original text as possible.

On Conformity:

Much of this (Martin) strove to express to Ruth, and shocked her and made it clear that more remodeling was necessary. Hers was that common insularity of mind that makes human creatures believe that their color, creed, and politics are best and right and that other human creatures scattered over the world are less fortunately placed than they. It was the same insularity of mind that made the ancient Jew thank God he was not born a woman, and sent the modern missionary god-substituting to the ends of the earth; and it made Ruth desire to shape this man from other crannies of life into the likeness of the men who lived in her particular cranny of life. page 74

On Being an Artist:

"... It is a great task to transmute feeling and sensation into speech, written or spoken, that will, in turn, in him who reads or listens, transmutes itself back into the selfsame feeling and sensation. It is a lordly task. See, I bury my face in the grass, and the breath I draw in through my nostrils sets me a-quivering with a thousand thoughts and fancies. It is the breath of the universe I have breathed. I know song and laughter, and success and pain, and struggle and death; and I see visions that arise in my brain somehow out of the scent of the grass, and I would like to tell them to you, to the world. But how can I? My tongue is tied...." page 121

On Life:

... But he knew life, its foulness as well as its fairness, its greatness in spite of the slime that infested it, and by God he was going to have his say on it to the world. 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 worthwhile. To see moral grandeur rising out of cesspools of iniquity; to raise himself and first glimpse beauty, faint and far, through mud-dripping eyes; to see out of weakness, and frailty, and viciousness, and all abysmal brutishness, arising strength, and truth, and high spiritual endowment. page 125

On Gangs:

"... This ain't a scrap, fellows. It's murder, an' we ought to stop it."

But no one stopped it, and he was glad, punching on wearily with his one arm, battering away at a bloody something before him that was not a face but a horror, an oscillating, hideous, gibbering, nameless thing that persisted before his wavering vision and would not go away. And he punched on and on, slower and slower, as the last shreds of vitality oozed from him, through centuries and eons and enormous lapses of time, until, in a dim way, he became aware that the nameless thing was sinking, slowly sinking down to the rough board-planking of the bridge.... page 137

On Literary Critics:

"But the point is, (literary critics) sound the popular note, and they sound it so beautifully and morally and contentedly. Their reviews remind me of a British Sunday. They are the popular mouthpieces. They back up your professors of English, and your professors of English back them up. And there isn't an original idea in any of their skulls. They know only the established, in fact, they are the established. They are weak minded, and the established impresses itself upon them as easily as the name of a brewery on a beer bottle. And their function is to catch all the young fellows attending the university, to drive out of their minds any glimmering originality that may chance to be there, and to put upon them the stamp of the established." page 203

On Bias:

"But you don't hold yourself superior to all the judges of music?" (Ruth) protested.

"No, no, not for a moment. I merely maintain my right as an individual. I have just been telling you what I think, in order to explain why the elephantine gambols of Madame Tetralani spoil the orchestra for me. The world's judges of music may all be right. But I am I, and I won't subordinate my taste to the unanimous judgment of mankind. If I don't like a thing, I don't like it, that's all; and there is no reason under the sun why I should ape a liking for it just because the majority of my fellow-creatures like it, or make believe they like it. I can't follow the fashions in the things I like or dislike." pages 206 - 207

On Work and Charity

Likewise (Maria) watched (Martin's) toils and knew the measure of the midnight oil he burned. Work! She knew that he outdid her, though his work was of a different order. And she was surprised to behold that the less food he had, the harder he worked. On occasion, in a casual sort of way, when she thought hunger pinched hardest, she would send him in a loaf of new baking, awkwardly covering the act with banter to the effect that it was better than he could bake. And again, she would send one of her toddlers in to him with a great pitcher of hot soup, debating inwardly the while whether she was justified in taking it from the mouths of her own flesh and blood. Nor was Martin ungrateful, knowing as he did the lives of the poor, and that it ever in the world there was charity, this was it.
page 210

On Fiction:

(Martin) had discovered, in the course of his reading, two schools of fiction. One treated of man as a god, ignoring his earthly origin; the other treated of man as a clod, ignoring his heaven-sent dreams and divine possibilities. Both god and clod schools erred, in Martin's estimation, and erred though too great singleness of sight and purpose. There was a compromise that approximated the truth, though it flattered not the school of god, while it challenged the brute-savageness of the school of clod. It was his story, "Adventure," which had dragged Ruth, that Martin believed had achieved his ideal of the true in fiction; and it was in an essay, "God and Clod," that he had expressed his views on the whole subject. page 232

On Individualism:

"Because I say Republicans are stupid, and hold that liberty, equality, and fraternity are exploded bubbles, does not make me a socialist," Martin said with a smile. "Because I question Jefferson and the unscientific Frenchmen who informed his mind, does not make me a socialist. Believe me, Mr. Morse, you are far nearer socialism than I who am its avowed enemy."

"Now you please to be facetious," was all the other could say.

"Not at all. I speak in all seriousness. You still believe in equality, and yet you do the work of corporations, and the corporations, from day to day, are busily engaged in burying equality. And you call me a socialist, because I deny equality, because I affirm just what you live up to. The Republicans are foes to equality, though most of them fight the battle against equality with the very good word on their lips. In the name of equality they destroy equality. That is why I called them stupid. As for myself, I am an individualist, and individualism is the hereditary and eternal foe of socialism."

"But you frequent socialist meetings," Mr. Morse challenged.

"Certainly, just as spies frequent hostile camps. How else are you to learn about the enemy? Besides, I enjoy myself at their meetings. They are good fighters, and, right or wrong, they have read the books. Any one of them knows more about sociology and all the other ologies than the average captain of industry. Yes, I have been to half a dozen of their meetings, but that doesn't make me a socialist any more than hearing Charley Hapgood orate made me a Republican."

"I can't help it," Mr. Morse said feebly, "but I still believe you incline that way." page 259

On Editors:

"... The chief qualification of ninety-nine per cent of all editors is failure. They have failed as writers. Don't think they prefer the drudgery of the desk and the slavery to their circulation and to the business manager to the joy of writing. They have tried to write, and they have failed. And right there is the cursed paradox of it. Every portal to success in literature is guarded by those watch-dogs, the failures of literature. The editors, the sub-editors, associate editors, most of them, and the manuscript readers for the magazines and book-publishers, most of them, nearly all of them, are men who wanted to write and failed. And yet they, of all creatures under the sun the most unfit, are the very creatures who decide what shall and what shall not find its way into print–they, who have proved themselves not original, who have demonstrated that they lack the divine fire, sit in judgment upon originality and genius. And after them comes the reviewers, just so many more failures. Don't tell me that they have not dreamed the dream and attempted to write poetry and fiction; for they have, and they have failed. Why, the average review is more nauseating than cod-liver oil...." page 267

On Women:

"What do you mean?" Martin asked curiously, passing him a glass. "Here, down this and be good."

"Because–" Brissenden sipped his toddy and smiled appreciation of it. "Because of the women. They will worry you until you die, as they have already worried you, or else I was born yesterday. Now there's no use choking me; I'm going to have my say. This is undoubtedly your calf love; but for Beauty's sake show better taste next time. What under heaven do you want with a daughter of the bourgeoisie? Leave them alone. Pick out some great, wanton flame of a woman, who laughs at life and jeers at death and loves one while she may. There are such women, and they will love you just as readily as any pusillanimous product of bourgeois-sheltered life." page 288

On Religion and Science:

"You cannot answer Berkeley, even if you have annihilated Kant, and yet, perforce, you assume that Berkeley is wrong when you affirm that science proves the non-existence of God, or, as much to the point, the existence of matter–You know I granted the reality of matter only in order to make myself intelligible to your understanding. Be positive scientists, if you please; but ontology has no place in positive science, so leave it alone...." page 316

On the Great Blond Beasts:

"Nietzsche was right. I won't take the time to tell you who Nietzsche was, but he 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 noblemen, to the great blond beasts, to the non-compromisers, 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 the lowly will never save you.– Oh, it's all Greek, I know, and I won't bother you any more with it. But remember one thing. There aren't half a dozen individualists in Oakland, but Martin Eden is one of them." page 322

On the American Oligarchy

"How about the United States?" a man yelled from the audience.

"And what about it?" Martin retorted. "The thirteen colonies threw off their rulers and formed the Republic so-called. The slaves were their own masters. There were no more masters of the sword. But you couldn't get along without masters of some sort, and there arose a new set of masters–not the great, virile noble men, but the shrewd and spidery traders and money-lenders. And they enslaved you all over again–but not frankly, as the true, noble men would do with weight of their own right arms, but secretly, by spidery machinations and by wheedling and cajoling and lies. They have purchased your slave judges, they have debauched your slave legislatures, and they have forced to worse horrors than chattel slavery your slave boys and girls. Two million of your children are toiling today in this trade-oligarchy of the United States. Ten millions of your slaves are not properly sheltered nor properly fed." page 330

On Fame:

One thing was certain: the Morses had not cared to have him for himself or for his work. Therefore they could not want him now for himself or for his work, but for the fame that was his, because he was somebody amongst men, and - why not? - because he had a hundred thousand dollars or so. That was the way bourgeois society valued a man, and who was he to expect otherwise? But he was proud. He desired to be valued for himself, or for his work, which, after all, was an expression of himself. That was the way Jimmy, the plumber, and all the old gang valued him. That had been proved often enough in the days he ran with them; it had been proved that Sunday at Shell Mound Park. His work could go hang. What they liked, and were willing to scrap for, was just Mart Eden, one of the bunch and a pretty good guy. page 377

On Mob Mentality:

Invitations to dinner poured in on Martin; and the more they poured, the more he was puzzled. He sat, the guest of honor, at the Arden Club banquet, with men of note whom he had heard about and read about all his life; and they told him how, when they had read "The Ring of Bells" in the Transcontinental, and "The Peri and the Pearl" in The Hornet, they had immediately picked him for a winner. My God! and I was hungry and in rags, he thought to himself. Why didn't you give me dinner then? Then was the time. It was worked performed. If you are feeding me now for work performed, why did you not feed me then when I needed it? Not one word in "The Ring of Bells" nor in "The Peri and the Pearl" has been changed. No; you're not feeding me now for work performed. You are feeding me because everybody else is feeding me and because it is an honor to feed me. You are feeding me now because you are herd animals; because the one blind, automatic thought in the mob-mind just now is to feed me. And where does Martin Eden and the work Martin Eden performed come in in all this? he asked himself plaintively, then arose to respond cleverly and wittingly to a clever and witty toast. page 382

Now I ask you: How can anyone not give a book like this five stars?

The Yuletide Kid
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