Reference > The Library > Helen Rex Keller > Reader’s Digest of Books

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
H. R. Keller.  The Reader’s Digest of Books.
The Martian
George du Maurier (1834–1896)
Martian, The, by George du Maurier, his third and last novel, was published posthumously in 1897. The hero is Barty Josselin, the story of whose life is told by his friend and companion, Robert Maurice. The school life of the two lads in the “Institution F. Brossard,” in Paris, is sketched in detail in du Maurier’s inimitable manner, the account being largely autobiographic. Barty is from the start a handsome, high-spirited, mischievous, and gifted fellow, thoroughly practical, yet with traits that have in them a strange idealism. After school, the boys return to England, and Barty goes into the army, but does not like it, and resigns. Then his eyes give out; and he travels for a time, and consults various physicians, being helped finally by a celebrated German specialist, Dr. Hasenclover, who assures him that he will be blind in only one eye. Before this, he has come to such melancholic discouragement that he intends suicide; being saved therefrom by discovering in a dream that he has a kind of guardian spirit, the Martian, a woman soul, who has undergone a series of incarnations, and is now an inhabitant of Mars. She advises him about his eyes, and thereafter, for many years, she constantly communicates with him and helps him, using a kind of shorthand called blaze. She inspires him to write wonderful books, whereby he becomes a famous author. Against her advice, he obeys the dictates of his heart by marrying Leah Gibson, a noble Jewess, when the Martian would have had him choose Julia Royce, an English belle whom he meets in Germany. The marriage is so happy that the Martian acknowledges her mistake. When Barty’s daughter Martia is born, the Martian becomes incarnated in her form; and upon the young girl’s death, the strange being from another world returns to Mars, whereupon Barty himself also passes away. The charm of the story lies in the genial description of bohemian friendship and love, seen retrospectively in the half-light of illusion; and in the suggestive way in which the odd supernatural element is woven into the narrative.  1

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