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The Iron Heel af Jack London

The Iron Heel (original 1908; udgave 1966)

af Jack London

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,4193712,279 (3.41)56
Written in 1908, this visionary novel about class struggle anticipates the political upheavals of the 1930s and beyond.
Titel:The Iron Heel
Forfattere:Jack London
Info:London, Arco, 1966.
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

Work Information

Jernhælen af Jack London (1908)

  1. 20
    Red Star: The First Bolshevik Utopia af Alexander Bogdanov (leigonj)
    leigonj: Both are science fiction written in 1908, inspired by the events of the 1905 Russian Revolution. Both are born of the writings of Marx and Engels.
  2. 10
    News from Nowhere af William Morris (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Morris's novel could almost read like the future utopia from which London's fictional annotations are written.
  3. 10
    Walkaway af Cory Doctorow (melmore)
    melmore: Both works are (among other things) showcases for the elaboration of political and economic arguments. Both strive to represent the full horror of economic oppression, and what happens when the oppressed resist.

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» Se også 56 omtaler

Engelsk (34)  Esperanto (1)  Spansk (1)  Fransk (1)  Alle sprog (37)
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„ Ne vera romano ĝi estas, sed socia aŭ socialista pledado, en formo de memorlibro. Bona traduko. ”
— 1930, Georges Stroele, Esperanto, paĝo 182
„ Socialista pledado en formo de memorlibro. La aŭtoro imagas ke en la 26-a jarcento oni retrovas manuskripton de la 20-a en kiu la edzino de revoluciulo rakontis la eventojn de sia tempo kaj la vivon de sia tempo kaj la vivon de sia edzo Ernesto. Eventoj tute imagaj kaj elpensitaj de London. La verko estas do malprava kaj sen historia intereso. Certe London faris majstroverkojn : Ĝojradia Tagiĝo, Martin Eden, La Luna Valo, La Voko de l' Arbaro, ktp... Kial la tradukistoj ne pensas pri ili? ”
— 1930, Historio de Esperanto II, paĝo 711
  Erfgoedbib | Jul 5, 2023 |
More political than science fiction, originally published in 1907. Describing worker's uprising and problems of class divides and political bribery. Footnotes are the "science fiction" as a future historian (circa 2600) annotates the manuscript (1912 - 1932). The Brotherhood of Man succeeds the Oligarchy who employ thousands in public work, but they still live in poverty, in the new city named Asgard. The main protagonist is a woman who is enlightened by her future husband of the terrible situation many of the poor are living in. They start a revolution and are force to flee while arrests are made. She assumes a false identity and even her husband doesn't recognise her at first. ( )
  AChild | Apr 10, 2023 |
Jack London tenía el genio que ve lo que permanece oculto a las muchedumbres, y poseía una ciencia que le permitía anticiparse a los tiempos. Previó el conjunto de los acontecimientos que se desarrollan en nuestra época. El espantoso drama al que nos hace asistir en espíritu en «El talón de hierro» aún no se ha convertido en realidad, y no sabemos dónde y cuándo se cumplirá la profecía del discípulo americano de Marx.
  Natt90 | Jan 24, 2023 |
"Did you notice how he began like a lamb—Everhard, I mean, and how quickly he became a roaring lion? He has a splendidly disciplined mind. He would have made a good scientist if his energies had been directed that way." (23)

I knew Jack London wrote a "yellow peril" invasion novel; I had not known that he also wrote a piece of revolutionary science fiction until I was reading Geoffrey Harpham's 1975 essay "Jack London and the Tradition of Superman Socialism." Harpham uses the term "superman socialist" to describe the protagonist of The Iron Heel, Ernest Everhard. According to Harpham, the superman socialist “[m]erg[ed] the vision of Just Society with the idea of the romantic hero” (23). The superman socialist has “scientific, factual bases for his sense of superiority” (24), but he “renounces Nietzschean amorality in favor of the proper use of genius in struggling for a better social order” (25). The superman socialist knows his violence is justified because a better world emerges, no matter who dies to create it; Harpham argues that superman socialism uses the same rhetoric as the forces it opposed, calling it “a barbaric American Kiplingism in which the fit survived and the unfit perished, to nobody’s regret—a view which lent itself to a sanction not only of superman socialism, but of empire and militarism as well” (26). I found the concept very useful in writing about Victorian sf novels featuring Darwinism; it seemed to me that the superman socialist was another form of what I call, drawing on Robert Lifton, the biocrat. But I used the concept so much I really felt I ought to go read The Iron Heel for myself!

I read this before H. G. Wells's two "biocratic" novels, Anticipations and A Modern Utopia, simply because I got ahold of it first, but am writing it up afterwards, which is eminently appropriate, not just because it was published later, but because Anticipations was a direct influence on London. In Anticipations, Wells coined the term "People of the Abyss" to refer to what he considered the lowest classes, those who didn't even labor. London actually used the term as the title of a 1903 memoir he wrote about life in London's East End, and he recycles the term here as well. The form of this book feels a bit Wellsian, too, in that it's told in the form of a book manuscript from the future, one written in the mid-20th century, but not published until the 27th, and it includes footnotes from a 27th-century annotator making clear the 20th-century cultural context to a 27th-century audience. Though actually I don't think Wells wrote one of those "found future manuscript" books until The Shape of Things to Come, which was almost three decades later. (The World Set Free seems like a future history book, but this isn't made explicit, and it also comes after Iron Heel.) It is a format others were using around this time; Henry Lazarus's The English Revolution of the Twentieth Century and Frank Attfield Fawkes's Marmaduke, Emperor of Europe are the two that stick out to me. Did London read these? Maybe he read something like them, or maybe he invented his own take on the idea out of whole cloth. The idea of us reading future annotations aimed at an imaginary future audience is clever, and a neat innovation of London, who in explaining what the 20th century takes for granted, makes it clear what the 27th century does not take for granted.

The whole book is thus supposedly by Avis Everhard, the wife of Ernest Everhard, one of the key participants in a failed socialist uprising; it gives Ernest's life and the uprising from her perspective. There's some neat stuff here, especially Avis's slow radicalization and her as a deep cover agent. But much of the later sections of the novel are told at a remove, so we don't actually live the events along with her, but just hear them summarized in retrospect. As a book, it's basically fine, but it does give good insight into a particular kind of early 20th-century socialist thinking, one that I am attempting to surface (albeit in Britain) in my own project. Ernest is a man who believes that only violence can reject capitalism and bring about socialism, and as Harpham says, the main characters seem to be as disgusted by the lower classes they are supposedly helping as they are by the upper classes they are in opposition to. The "superman socialist" decides who lives and who dies, and if you die in the cause of socialism, the death is justified: "It would have meant […] great loss of life, but no revolutionist hesitates at such things" (220). As my epigraph above highlights, Everhard is not—unlike how Lifton defines the biocrat, and unlike the Samurai of Wells's two utopias—a man of science or medicine, but London is keen to highlight that he thinks like a scientist, but sees with even more clarity, and this is what gives him the moral authority that he needs to commit violence.
1 stem Stevil2001 | May 13, 2022 |
Really glad I was recommended this. I don't think the story is quite as compelling as Brave New World or 1984 but a poignant story and the fact that it was written before even World War 1 is incredible, London was scary accurate in many predictions. A lot of the sentences in this book, particularly from Ernest Everhard, are relevant even today. The format of the book was really compelling and the ending was chilling. I wish I'd paid more attention, to the point where I went back and read the first 10 pages or so and the book made a lot more sense. Scary stuff, but quite good even for today. ( )
  hskey | Feb 27, 2022 |
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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Jack Londonprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Auerbach, JonathanRedaktørmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Lerner, MaxIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Ricketts, MikeOmslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Saville, GeorgeOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Schugar, JordanNotesmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Soar, MattFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Trotsky, LeonIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Zinn, HowardIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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"At first, this Earth, a stage so gloomed with woe / You almost sicken at the shifting of the scenes. / And yet be patient. Our Playwright may show / In some fifth act what this Wild Drama means."
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It cannot be said that the Everhard Manuscript is an important historical document. To the historian it bristles with errors—not errors of fact, but errors of interpretation. Looking back across the seven centuries that have lapsed since Avis Everhard completed her manuscript, events, and the bearings of events, that were confused and veiled to her, are clear to us. She lacked perspective. She was too close to the events she writes about. Nay, she was merged in the events she has described.
The soft summer wind stirs the redwoods, and Wild-Water ripples sweet cadences over its mossy stones.
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Written in 1908, this visionary novel about class struggle anticipates the political upheavals of the 1930s and beyond.

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