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Carl Van Doren (1885–1950).  The American Novel.  1921.


Page 267

in the treadmill which his great bodily strength had heretofore regarded as a pleasure and which his reading had told him was a virtue. Home once more, he encountered books which confirmed him in his resolution. A year at the University of California and a winter in the Klondike during the gold rush still further confirmed him: he became a socialist and a revolutionist; with enormous labors he made himself into a popular writer, discovered that the politer world which he consequently entered was not all he had imagined it, and once for all cast in his fortunes with the working class. He visited the East End of London, cruised in the South Seas, acted as correspondent during the Russo-Japanese War and in Mexico in 1914, lectured and traveled and farmed and made large sums of money till the end of his life.
  As a propagandist for socialism he wrote War of the Classes (1905), Revolution (1910), and The Iron Heel (1908), a romance recounting an imaginary revolution of 1932. Of his autobiographical writings The People of the Abyss (1903), his adventures in the London slums, The Road (1907), his life as a tramp, Martin Eden (1909), his struggles in learning to write, The Cruise of The Snark (1911), a voyage in the Pacific, John Barleycorn (1913), his alcoholic memories, are most important, although autobiography colors all his records and inventions. His popularity and his eagerness for money tempted him to write much, especially in the way of short stories, that was decidedly below his better level, and he never, indeed, rose above his first marked success, The Call of the Wild (1903). Although he constantly played with ideas in his books, and liked to hint naïvely at his



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