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Martin Eden (Penguin American Library) Paperback – February 1, 1994

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Editorial Reviews


Martin Eden is assuredly one of Jack London s greatest works. --Upton Sinclair --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

This book is in Electronic Paperback Format. If you view this book on any of the computer systems below, it will look like a book. Simple to run, no program to install. Just put the CD in your CDROM drive and start reading. The simple easy to use interface is child tested at pre-school levels.

Windows 3.11, Windows/95, Windows/98, OS/2 and MacIntosh and Linux with Windows Emulation.

Includes Quiet Vision's Dynamic Index. the abilty to build a index for any set of characters or words. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin American Library
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (February 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140187723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140187724
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By oh_pete on January 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
MARTIN EDEN follows the rise and fall of a young sailor who by sheer force of will educates himself and succeeds in becoming a famous writer (this is London's autobiographical novel, published in 1909, when he was thirty-three and the most popular living writer in the world). Few readers liked it then, they found it dark and depressing after a certain point; they wanted the entertainment they were used to from London ("Come on, Jack, give us another story with dogs and snow in it!"). Not as many read it now as should, and London himself disdained the fact that it inspired many young writers without talent to follow Martin Eden's example. But it is also a valuable story about a young man maturing in his conception of love as regards the opposite sex:
"Ambition soared on mad wings, and he saw himself climbing the heights with her, pleasuring in beautiful and noble things with her. It was a soul-possession he dreamed, refined beyond any grossness, a free comradeship of spirit that he could not put into definite thought." -- The youth becomes a man.
London's prose is straightforward and vibrant, much like the author at his best. Martin Eden falls victim to the vicissitudes of his fame and fortune, much like the author at his worst (too much hard living is often given as the reason for London's death at forty). London spends a lot of time in this book criticizing American materialism in the way that materialism ought to be criticized. He also displays a certain kind of American work ethic (five hours of sleep a night, perseverance through failure, etc.) that sometimes doesn't know what to do with itself once it achieves success. We should all have that problem--just hope that we deal with it better than young Martin Eden does. A very worthwhile read.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Tom Bruce on December 7, 1997
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Martin Eden" is my fifth foray into the works of Jack London. Although I don't find the excitement within that was apparent in "Sea Wolf," the passion is certainly evident. I have read that "Martin Eden" inspired more bad writers to sequester themselves with paper and pencil in unheated attics than any other book, and it is easy to determine why. Eden's obsession with learning and then creating the immortal printed word -- after falling for a woman above his class in society/socialist-conscious San Francisco -- is a powerful force that London expounds convincingly. Then, without warning, the sage advice "be careful what you wish for, it may come true," rears its ugly head. London also includes a line about ghosts that should be a classic, but isn't, and his description of a suicide ranks as the best of its kind. A WORD OF WARNING: Do not read the foreward until after. It tells too much of the story and robs some of the author's intended suprises. This is unforgivable. May the publisher rot in hell.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 5, 1997
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for pleasant summer reading, pass this one by. It ain't pretty and it ain't pleasant, but it ranks as one of the Great American novels of all time. Was it autobiographical? You betcha. More so than most airbrushed autobiographies of our time. Jack London was the first author to awaken in me the love of the printed word. I was 9 years old. The title that awakened me was Call of the Wild. I, like Marcia and everyone else, thought that Jack London was just an aborigine, wandering around in the vast metropolis and utterly lost. Years later I read The Sea Wolf, and my opinion changed.
I no longer thought of Jack as an aborigine, but as a refined young man, rudely abducted from the civilized world and forced to accept the law of the strongest. Later still, I read Martin Eden, and I was devastated by the tortured visions of that same young man who was tranfigured by that experience and who was no longer acceptable as a member of civilized society. There's a whole lot of bitterness in Martin Eden, folks! And, the more I read of Jack's life, the more I am convinced that it is autobiographical. The fact is that Jack became a monster. At the same time, he became the most successul novelist of his time. In terms of money, we can only gasp at the financial success he enjoyed. He turned out novel after novel, and each of them was gobbled up by a hungry public. In the end, the SAME PEOPLE who had rejected him because of his crude mannerisms and calloused knuckles sought him out because of his MONEY. Do you really want the brutal truth about Jack London? And are you really prepared to weep for one of America's great sons? If so, then read Martin Eden. Otherwise, pass it by.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bobby Newman on August 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In Martin Eden, Jack London provides the portrait of a young man who thirsts for knowledge, for self-improvement, to join the upper ranks of the intelligent and cultured within his society. We seem to be setting off in a "Jude the Obscure" direction. Martin loves a young woman from this society, and strives to make himself worthy. His chosen vehicle from his class and station to hers is self-education, and then the writing of serious and important work. Along the way, Martain has to swallow the unpleasant truth that those he believed to be so intelligent were actually entirely superficial in understanding. Pieces of London from other novels come through. London's belief in the "superman" comes through, as well as his disdain for the oligarchs, for example. What is most striking, however, is the dead-on skewering of celebrity worship. "Where were you when I needed you" might be Martin's refrain. The same people who ignored and derided him suddenly can't get enough of him. Why? He was the same person he was before. It was simply because other people told them so. They all just want a piece of the celebirty, to be associated with him somehow. While in real life London of course courted celebrity, the stupidity of this is blindingly apparent and even more important nearly a century later. London readers may miss the absence of the "Charmian" strong female counterpart in this book (unlike in the Sea Wolf or The Abysmal Brute or Mutiny on the Elsinore, for example). The "classy" love interest doesn't measure up in terms of independent intelligence or strength of will, and her last appearance is particularly troubling. Lizzie, from the lower socioeconomic classes, has the spark but is too held back by her upbringing. This is truly an important book.
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