Martin Eden by Jack London
(Penguin American Library)

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Synopsis

Un marinero de veinte años, fuerte, guapo y curtido, con un historial de de-lincuencia y trabajo rudo, es invitado casi por accidente a cenar en un hogar pequeño burgués. Él, que sólo ha visto un óleo en los escaparates de las tiendas, que no tiene ni idea de lo que es un lavafrutas, queda fascinado ante lo que sus ojos le presentan como cultura y civilización. «Soy como un navegante a la deriva -le confiesa a la hija de la casa-, sin cartas ni compás en un mar desconocido. Pero me gustaría encontrar el rumbo. Tal vez usted pueda ayudarme. ¿Dónde ha aprendido tanto?» A partir de este momento el joven siente que tiene «un mundo por conquistar», y la muchacha que lo acoge piensa que debe salvarlo «de la maldición del ambiente en que había nacido» e incluso «de sí mismo a pesar de sí mismo». En Martin Eden (1909), la más autobiográfica de las obras de Jack London, el modelo de novela de formación se materializa en una narración verídica tan completa y vital que deja atrás la retórica de la verosimilitud. El proceso de su héroe, de «verdadero salvaje» a filósofo del individualismo de tintes nietzscheanos, de tosco trabajador manual a respetado escritor de éxito, es descrito con una intensidad a veces alucinatoria, pero siempre anclada en la realidad de la experiencia, hasta su conclusión fatalmente irónica. Incomprendida en su momento, Martin Eden ha sido luego lectura obligada e inolvidable para generaciones de escritores en ciernes.
 

About Jack London

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One of the pioneers of 20th century American literature, Jack London specialized in tales of adventure inspired by his own experiences. London was born in San Francisco in 1876. At 14, he quit school and became an "oyster pirate," robbing oyster beds to sell his booty to the bars and restaurants in Oakland. Later, he turned on his pirate associates and joined the local Fish Patrol, resulting in some hair-raising waterfront battles. Other youthful activities included sailing on a seal-hunting ship, traveling the United States as a railroad tramp, a jail term for vagrancy and a hazardous winter in the Klondike during the 1897 gold rush. Those experiences converted him to socialism, as he educated himself through prolific reading and began to write fiction. After a struggling apprenticeship, London hit literary paydirt by combining memories of his adventures with Darwinian and Spencerian evolutionary theory, the Nietzchean concept of the "superman" and a Kipling-influenced narrative style. "The Son of the Wolf"(1900) was his first popular success, followed by 'The Call of the Wild" (1903), "The Sea-Wolf" (1904) and "White Fang" (1906). He also wrote nonfiction, including reportage of the Russo-Japanese War and Mexican revolution, as well as "The Cruise of the Snark" (1911), an account of an eventful South Pacific sea voyage with his wife, Charmian, and a rather motley crew. London's body broke down prematurely from his rugged lifestyle and hard drinking, and he died of uremic poisoning - possibly helped along by a morphine overdose - at his California ranch in 1916. Though his massive output is uneven, his best works - particularly "The Call of the Wild" and "White Fang" - have endured because of their rich subject matter and vigorous prose.
 
Published January 3, 1984 by Penguin Classics. 484 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Action & Adventure, Children's Books, Political & Social Sciences, History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Comics & Graphic Novels, Westerns. Non-fiction

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