Semi-autobiographical novel by Jack London, published in 1909. The title character becomes a writer, hoping to acquire the respectability sought by his society-girl sweetheart. She spurns him, however, when his writing is rejected by several magazines and when he is falsely accused of being a socialist. She tries to win him back after he achieves fame, but Eden realizes her love is false. Financially successful and robbed of connection to his own class, aware that his quest for bourgeois respectability was hollow, Eden travels to the South Seas.
Martin Eden is an intelligent and self-educated young man who wants nothing more that to be accepted by (and to be like) the young, educated rich he sees as a struggling writer in turn-of-the 20th century Northern California. Martin is certain that once in the ranks of these beautiful people (who speak in casual conversation of Greek myth and French poetry), he will finally be happy... He uncomfortably accepts the rude comments from these rich snobs, resolves to rise to their level and falls in love with a woman he feels is as a goddess walking the Earth... His true education comes swiftly: He "makes it" as a writer, and the man once seen as an interesting ape is now the talk of the town... It's the petty shallowness of the glittering world he had admired from afar that he's utterly unprepared for. This is a story of a person climbing the fence to the greener grass and finding it was all an illusion....and that he has nowhere else to go. Not a pretty picture, but very well painted by Mr. London.--Submitted by Lowell
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