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Martin Eden

Martin Eden by Jack London
By: (1876-1916)

Martin Eden (1909) is a novel by American author Jack London, about a struggling young writer. It was first serialized in the Pacific Monthly magazine from September 1908 to September 1909, and subsequently published in book form by The Macmillan Company in September 1909.
This book is a favorite among writers, who relate to Martin Eden's speculation that when he mailed off a manuscript, 'there was no human 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."

First Page:



The one opened the door with a latch key and went in, followed by a young fellow who awkwardly removed his cap. He wore rough clothes that smacked of the sea, and he was manifestly out of place in the spacious hall in which he found himself. He did not know what to do with his cap, and was stuffing it into his coat pocket when the other took it from him. The act was done quietly and naturally, and the awkward young fellow appreciated it. "He understands," was his thought. "He'll see me through all right."

He walked at the other's heels with a swing to his shoulders, and his legs spread unwittingly, as if the level floors were tilting up and sinking down to the heave and lunge of the sea. The wide rooms seemed too narrow for his rolling gait, and to himself he was in terror lest his broad shoulders should collide with the doorways or sweep the bric a brac from the low mantel. He recoiled from side to side between the various objects and multiplied the hazards that in reality lodged only in his mind. Between a grand piano and a centre table piled high with books was space for a half a dozen to walk abreast, yet he essayed it with trepidation... Continue reading book >>

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