Book Review | Martin Eden by Jack London

Updated: Jul 28

Birth: January 12, 1876, San Francisco, California, USA

Death: November 22, 1916, Glen Ellen, California, USA


Martin Eden by Jack London - 1909

Famous American journalist and writer Jack London. He is the author of more than fifty books, including The Call of the Wild, Martin Eden, The Iron Heel, White Fang, and The Sea-Wolf, and is also the pioneer of the world commercial magazine novel.


I would like to share with you today; 10 Inspirational Quotes by Jack London For a Better Life.



If you have any writing aspirations or you want to change the routine of your life, then you should definetly read Martin Eden. A thinly veiled autobiography, this novel depicts the struggles of a working-class man in California, Martin Eden, as he attempts to achieve financial success as a writer. Digging deep into his own experiences and background, author Jack London holds nothing back when he describes the writer's soul. At first sight, the topic seems quite simple but this book is deeply captivating because it tells the enthralling story of a writer who overcomes a lot of obstacles (poverty, lack of education, the gap between his modest origins and the well-to-do background of the loved one etc.) thanks to his mental strength. In other words, he sees the real face of the bourgeoisie community, which he always dreams of perfectly and flawlessly, and begins to contradict his own thoughts. Because although he thinks of the bourgeoisie as a target and devotes his life to self-development, after a while he realizes that he is superior to them and interrogates this caste system. This is the most interesting point of the book because the author emphasizes that the system distinguishes people only on their appearance and family information in identity, regardless of their level of intelligence and culture. Also it stuck with me because of that egotistical trait of many a writer of seeing ourselves in characters, whether our own or those written by others; for the truly egotistical only the best model will do. Martin Eden is a self-taught self-styled writing genius who suffers terribly for his art and finally achieves fortune and fame to which he responds in a characteristically unique way. We can say that Jack London is one of the most widely read and seriously considered American authors around the world, but he isn't known in his own country like this; he is known as the guy who wrote a couple books about sled dogs... But "Martin Eden" is the culmination of Jack London's writing skills. Read it yourself to find out what I am talking about.



“Who are you, Martin Eden? he demanded of himself in the looking-glass, that night when he got back to his room. He gazed at himself long and curiously. Who are you? What are you? Where do you belong? You belong by rights to girls like Lizzie Connolly. You belong with the legions of toil, with all that is low, and vulgar, and unbeautiful. You belong with the oxen and the drudges, in dirty surroundings among smells and stenches. There are the stale vegetables now. Those potatoes are rotting. Smell them, damn you, smell them. And yet you dare to open the books, to listen to beautiful music, to learn to love beautiful paintings, to speak good English, to think thoughts that none of your own kind thinks, to tear yourself away from the oxen and the Lizzie Connollys and to love a pale spirit of a woman who is a million miles beyond you and who lives in the stars! Who are you? and what are you? damn you! And are you going to make good?” /Jack London
“But I am I. And I won't subordinate my taste to the unanimous judgment of mankind” /Jack London
“Let beauty be your end. Why should you mint beauty into gold? Anyway, you can’t;” /Jack London
“He was a man without a past, whose future was the imminent grave and whose present was a bitter fever of living.” /Jack London

“There were not words enough in the English language, nor in any language, to make his attitude and conduct intelligible to them.”

“Martin heaved a sigh of relief when the door closed behind the laundryman. He was becoming anti-social. Daily he found it a severer strain to be decent with people. Their presence perturbed him, and the effort of conversation irritated him. They made him restless, and no sooner was he in contact with them than he was casting about for excuses to get rid of them.” /Jack London
“Life that did not yearn toward life was in fair way toward ceasing.” /Jack London
“The more he studied, the more vistas he caught of fields of knowledge yet unexplored, and the regret that days were only twenty-four hours long became a chronic complaint with him.” /Jack London
“Every book was a peep-hole into the realm of knowledge. His hunger fed upon what he read, and increased.” /Jack London

“Is love so gross a thing that it must feed upon publication and public notice ? It would seem so.”

“Limited minds can recognize limitations only in others.” /Jack London
“Nietzsche was right. I won't take the time to tell you who Nietzsche was, but he was right. The world belongs to the strong - to the strong who are noble as well and who do not wallow in the swine-trough of trade and exchange. The world belongs to the true nobleman, to the great blond beasts, to the noncompromisers, to the 'yes-sayers.” /Jack London
“There were not words enough in the English language, nor in any language, to make his attitude and conduct intelligible to them.” /Jack London
“Here was intellectual life, he thought, and here was beauty, warm and wonderful as he had never dreamed it could be. He forgot himself and stared at her with hungry eyes. Here was something to live for, to win to, to fight for—ay, and die for. The books were true. There were such women in the world. She was one of them. She lent wings to his imagination, and great, luminous canvases spread themselves before him whereon loomed vague, gigantic figures of love and romance, and of heroic deeds for woman’s sake—for a pale woman, a flower of gold. And through the swaying, palpitant vision, as through a fairy mirage, he stared at the real woman, sitting there and talking of literature and art. He listened as well, but he stared, unconscious of the fixity of his gaze or of the fact that all that was essentially masculine in his nature was shining in his eyes. But she, who knew little of the world of men, being a woman, was keenly aware of his burning eyes. She had never had men look at her in such fashion, and it embarrassed her. She stumbled and halted in her utterance. The thread of argument slipped from her. He frightened her, and at the same time it was strangely pleasant to be so looked upon. Her training warned her of peril and of wrong, subtle, mysterious, luring; while her instincts rang clarion-voiced through her being, impelling her to hurdle caste and place and gain to this traveller from another world, to this uncouth young fellow with lacerated hands and a line of raw red caused by the unaccustomed linen at his throat, who, all too evidently, was soiled and tainted by ungracious existence. She was clean, and her cleanness revolted; but she was woman, and she was just beginning to learn the paradox of woman.” /Jack London


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