Martin Eden


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(1909)




This is a semi-autobiographical novel. 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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Recent Forum Posts on Martin Eden

Eden

I have read it when I was 17. A long time ago. Now I would love to do it again , now reading in its original language-English. This Novel is one of my favorites without a doubt. I enjoed London's other novels as well. However, Martin Eden is the book I love the most. I read it at the time I was strugling in live, in love and in society in general. I still have not found a place to hide in this great big world of sadness; people are all the same, nothing has changed since London wrote this hearbreaking novel. I regard London as highly passionate and life-loving person who contemplated about life in the way I would do. Great story of Martin Eden helped me to move on and live a life without expectations!!!


Martin Eden

I write in reply to the comment submitted which begins "In my view,Eden is too mentally weak to go on living in the tiresome society...", which fails to realise that 'Martin Eden' is a fundamentally flawed, though brilliant and inspired, novel. Eden has to die because he is not a socialist at heart, like London himself (who built a sprawling ranch with the profits from books which included Marxist tracts and novels, and came under heavy fire from the American socialist contingent for doing so). He is London himself in the beginning, and doesn't have suicide in him. London was able to live as an outsider perfectly well until his early death (he may have killed himself, but only because his body was an agonising, failing wreck after several lifetimes of drink and adventure compacted into half a lifetime), despite what he knew to be his inner-contradictions (socialism Vs. a consciously Nietzschean will to power). Eden is not weak-minded either; but London couldn't appease his readership by making a happy outsider of him in the end, so he killed him off. Therein lies the inconsistency, the flaw. Vitality like that might destroy itself, but it doesn't kill itself through despair. The relish London takes in the suicide of Eden is in fact an expression of his longing for escape from the pains of his wasted body. If we look closely, we can see his reluctance to drown Martin Eden.
This flaw makes for a fascinating book, though.
Roger Davidson


my view on his character

In my view,Eden is too mentally weak to go on leaving in the tiresome society,though he is quite persevere and strong-minded.
After painstaking struggle,he suceeded at last ,thus he conquered all the difficulties in his making a career and he conquered the bougeoise society.But to my disappointment,he couldn't conquer his own characteristics, not knowing that no society is optimal and no life is optmistic/active all the time.We should strong enough,especially mentally,to tolerate or to change the unjustice side when facing a sordid and dirty society, other than to withdraw , whether excluding or dying. Nothing could be achieved this way.


The tragedy of Martin Eden

All through the whole novel,I marveled at Martin's steel-like will,especially his peseverence to his own dream,though continously confronted with frustration and disappointment.Despite his success after all he had gone through,his life ended in a pathetic tragedy.I think the problem lies in the way he had chosen,can't say it's wrong,but may not be the one he actually dreamed.What he had spared all his effort to persue is the truth of beauty of the literature.And this kind of beauty may be above all the people's head.That's why so many artists and writers suffered criticism and despise after they devoted all their life to their cause.But Martin is in some way differet from them in that when the fame was crowded to him,he had already been tired of it.All his force to realise his dream comed from Rose,who from the very beginning,was only an illusion or an idealised goddess for Martin.Their position of the social status made their love destined to die like a flower in a flash.When Martin realised all this,he felt so desperate in that all his lifetime pursuit comed to nothing but a stroke of smoke.And in the meantime,he found he had lost so far away that he couldnot even return to the past life.At last,he had no way to end his own controversial and meloncholy life.


I loved it!

This book is dear to me. Personally I liked the Jack London's novel Martin Eden! It greatly appealed to me! I was touched to the heart... I think that Martin committed suicide because he did not see the aim to continue leaving in the world he had got accustomed to, firstly he jumped into the water- thought to get on board again- but then he gave a sarcastic smile to the whole world, full of snobs and careerists ... he was sorry to had been working, writing for them to read, and found it to be a disgrace... These little people just did not deserve to be the witnesses of his works. Unfortunately he understood it too late to change- it was too late- he cracked himself- he gave the life into their disposal and available to be discussed! It is unfair and this story rang true to me, I read it with an open heart and I regretted too much that I cannot back him or help living in another world, century, country, living another life...! The world is as crazy as it has always been- itís not in my power to change it! But Martin protested against the society it some way, though it is not my way to struggle. Reading of this story was a worth experience. It was one of the keys to the door called society to open realizing its real nature.


No Subject

I loved the book. One of my feelings is about Martin is that even though he managed to educate himself well, I think that it went to his head, and began to presume that he was somehow more intelligent then almost everyone that he ran into, sides for the few people that agreed with his way of thought. The one exception to this is when he and his friend visited the group of down and outs in the slums of San Fran that were having thier nightly philosophy discussions.


No Subject

I read this novel by chance. it is a great novel from the content or the ideas which wants to express his opinion to the readers. it worth reading several times. you can get different ideas in differert time of time of you life,if you reread it . how realistic is Martin'sdream of becoming a writer?


A book for every age and nationality

I am neither American nor English so I want you to forgive me my grammar and spelling mistakes.I am a teenager and you may think that it is rediculous to comment such an incredible book.But in my opinion ''Martin Eden" is a book for every nationality and age if you have a heart and a soul to understand its problems.This book touches you deeply and makes you think about what really worths living for and dying for.After you had read it you asked a lot of quuuestions yourself.For example"Did I make my best choice for work?I earn a lot of money but my heart is not here.I am dreaming for other job less paid but more close to me.Are reach and famous people so rich,happy and intellegent as they look.Or they are even more otdinary than us.They may have money but their souls may be empty."And many questions like these ones.After years they will be different and I will laugh myself.But I am sure this book will always be a part of my soul and will keep me asking questions and searching their answers because this is the point of life.


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