Jack London's semiautobiographical critique of individualism that touches on contemporary issues like socialism and mental illness, now two major motion pictures―one directed by Pietro Marcello, the other by Jay Craven

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. Andrew Sinclair's wide-ranging introduction discusses the conflict between London's support of socialism and his powerful self-will. Sinclair also explores the parallels and divergences between the life of Martin Eden and that of his creator, focusing on London's mental depressions and how they affected his depiction of Eden.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Jack London—his real name was John Griffith London—had a wild and colorful youth on the waterfront of Oakland, his native city. Born in 1876, he left school at the age of fourteen and worked in a cannery. By the time he was sixteen he had been both an oyster pirate and a member of the Fish Patrol in San Francisco Bay. He later wrote about these experiences in The Cruise of the Dazzler (1902) and Tales of the Fish Patrol (1905). In 1893 he joined a sealing cruise that took him as far as Japan. Returning to the United States, he traveled throughout the country. He was determined to become a writer and read voraciously. After a brief period of study at the University of California at Berkeley he joined the gold rush to the Klondike in 1897. He returned to San Francisco the following year. His short stories of the Yukon were published in Overland Monthly (1898) and the Atlantic Monthly (1899), and in 1900 his first collection, The Son of the Wolf, appeared, bringing him national fame. In 1902 he went to London, where he studied the slum conditions of the East End. He wrote about this experience in The People of the Abyss (1903). His life was exciting and eventful. There were sailing voyages to the South Seas and around Cape Horn. He reported on the Russo-Japanese War for the Hearst papers and gave lecture tours. A prolific writer, he published an enormous number of stories and novels. Besides two revealing memoirs, The Road (1907) and John Barleycorn (1913), he authored several collections of short stories, including Love of Life (1907), Lost Face (1910), and On the Makaloa Mat (1919). He also wrote many novels, including The Call of the Wild (1903), The Sea-Wolf (1904), White Fang (1906), Before Adam (1907), The Iron Heel (1908), Martin Eden (1909), and The Star Rover (1915). Jack London died in 1916, at his famous Beauty Ranch in California. View titles by Jack London

About

Jack London's semiautobiographical critique of individualism that touches on contemporary issues like socialism and mental illness, now two major motion pictures―one directed by Pietro Marcello, the other by Jay Craven

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. Andrew Sinclair's wide-ranging introduction discusses the conflict between London's support of socialism and his powerful self-will. Sinclair also explores the parallels and divergences between the life of Martin Eden and that of his creator, focusing on London's mental depressions and how they affected his depiction of Eden.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Author

Jack London—his real name was John Griffith London—had a wild and colorful youth on the waterfront of Oakland, his native city. Born in 1876, he left school at the age of fourteen and worked in a cannery. By the time he was sixteen he had been both an oyster pirate and a member of the Fish Patrol in San Francisco Bay. He later wrote about these experiences in The Cruise of the Dazzler (1902) and Tales of the Fish Patrol (1905). In 1893 he joined a sealing cruise that took him as far as Japan. Returning to the United States, he traveled throughout the country. He was determined to become a writer and read voraciously. After a brief period of study at the University of California at Berkeley he joined the gold rush to the Klondike in 1897. He returned to San Francisco the following year. His short stories of the Yukon were published in Overland Monthly (1898) and the Atlantic Monthly (1899), and in 1900 his first collection, The Son of the Wolf, appeared, bringing him national fame. In 1902 he went to London, where he studied the slum conditions of the East End. He wrote about this experience in The People of the Abyss (1903). His life was exciting and eventful. There were sailing voyages to the South Seas and around Cape Horn. He reported on the Russo-Japanese War for the Hearst papers and gave lecture tours. A prolific writer, he published an enormous number of stories and novels. Besides two revealing memoirs, The Road (1907) and John Barleycorn (1913), he authored several collections of short stories, including Love of Life (1907), Lost Face (1910), and On the Makaloa Mat (1919). He also wrote many novels, including The Call of the Wild (1903), The Sea-Wolf (1904), White Fang (1906), Before Adam (1907), The Iron Heel (1908), Martin Eden (1909), and The Star Rover (1915). Jack London died in 1916, at his famous Beauty Ranch in California. View titles by Jack London

Books for Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Every May we celebrate the rich history and culture of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Browse a curated selection of fiction and nonfiction books by AANHPI creators that we think your students will love. Find our full collection of titles for Higher Education here.

Read more