Sunday, December 29, 2013

Martin Eden

Rating: 9

“The semiautobiographical Martin Eden is the most vital and original character Jack London ever created. Set in San Francisco, this is the story of Martin Eden, an impoverished seaman who pursues, obsessively and aggressively, dreams of education and literary fame. London, dissatisfied with the rewards of his own success, intended Martin Eden as an attack on individualism and a criticism of ambition; however, much of its status as a classic has been conferred by admirers of its ambitious protagonist.” – GoodReads

Martin Eden, though not the most gripping book I’ve ever read, is probably one of the most profound. Like Demian, it is very Nietzschean and very focused on individualism and the “master morality” as opposed to the “slave morality;” however, it also fully portrays the negative effect of this individualism on this highly intelligent protagonist’s life. Yet Jack London’s condemnation of individualism itself was not portrayed as well as he wanted it to be, for in comparing this book to Hermann Hesse’s Demian (likewise semi-autobiographical), it becomes apparent that Martin Eden really was a “fake individualist,” longing for the high opinion of the world rather than being content with his own opinion of himself in spite of his constant spouting of these beliefs (see how selfish it is now?), and therefore the book becomes a sermon against inauthentic individualism rather than the individualism itself. Martin Eden also points out the wrongs of idealization/infatuation in a romantic relationship and how blinded it makes oneself. (Oh, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll love the ending Smile) Martin Eden is a masterpiece—but it’s not a book for younger readers. It doesn’t deal with topics quite as mature as Demian and The Stranger, but it does take some thoughtfulness to fully understand.     

6 comments:

  1. Yes indeed. I loooove this book.

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    1. That's happifying :) Oh good I did give it a nine.

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  2. I'm adding it to my list. :)

    I actually am reading "Call of the Wild" by him, (mostly just so that I can say that I've read something by him, and I wanted something to read. :)

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    1. Oh, do you like it? Is that the one where the man named Wolf Larson is all alone . . . oh no, I think that's The Sea Wolf. Is The Call of the Wild about the dogsledding team?

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    2. The call of the Wild is about a Saint Bernard / shepherd dog who is stolen from his "high class" life and shipped off to Alaska to work with dogsleds. :) It was well written, and interesting, but the unnecessary cruelty made me pretty angry at times, (I always get really mad and stressed when I read about cruelty to anyone or anything. :) and there were several longish parts about his "memories of times spent in a cave with a short man, covered in hair and who likes to sleep in trees." :) Those parts were absurd. (as is anything that has to do with evolution.) It always upsets me when authors throw stuff like that into books that especially children will be reading. It's like, lets totally brainwash the kids of some theory that wouldn't even work in the first place!!!!

      Sorry. I am venting. :)

      But to answer your question, I liked it and I hated it. It was interesting to say the least. :)

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    3. Hmm, that is interesting. Sounds like something Jack London would write!

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