Friday, March 25, 2011


Jack London
Jack London was the illegitimate son of a father who was a wandering astrologer and a mother who was a spiritualist and medium. Born in San Francisco, London was raised in Oakland, where he roamed the waterfront and attended school only occasionally, but, as he reported in his autobiographical novel, Martin Eden (1909), he read constantly, as much as nineteen hours a day. He "rode the rods" over the Sierras to the East, was jailed for vagrancy in Buffalo at eighteen, worked as an "oyster pirate" in San Francisco Bay, stealing from the oyster beds belonging to other fishermen. He sailed as a seaman on a sealing trip to Japan and in 1896 joined the gold rush to the Klondike, where found no gold but gathered ample material for the brutal, vigorous life he portrayed in The Call of the Wild (1903) and White Fang (1906), novels of man and beast struggling against the tremendous forces of nature.

From 1900 to 1916, London wrote more than fifty books, earning a million dollars, which he spent (as quickly as he earned it) in a frantic search for contentment. From social Darwinism London had absorbed the idea that to survive, people must adapt to irresistible natural forces and to "the stress and strain of life, its fevers and sweats and wild indulgences." Although his writing is often categorized simply as literary naturalism, the sources of his ideas were complex. London was most deeply influenced by the seemingly irreconcilable opposites of Nietzsche and Marx. From Nietzsche he borrowed the idea of the super human beings, evident in its most destructive form in Wolf Larsen, the predatory hero of London's “The Sea Wolf” (1904). From Marx he took the idea of the need for social reform and of the power of economic determinism, concepts he embodied in his socialistic treatises; “The. War of the Classes”, (1905); and “The Human Drift”, (1907); and in his terrifying vision of the coming of totalitarianism; “The Iron Heel”, (1907).

London was a storyteller of great emotional power and excitement, a master of tempo and pace whose adventure stories continue to fascinate a large reading public. As a writer, he was bold; sensational, tragic and, like his characters, a champion and a victim of the "wild indulgences" of life and nature.

Letters from Jack London, ed, K. Hendricks and I. Shepard, 1965
The Letters of Jack London, 3 vols., ed. E. Labor, R. Leitz, and M. Shepard, 1988
Complete Short Stories of Jack London, ed. E. Labor, R. Leitz, and I. Shepard, 1993
C. London, The Book of Jack London, 2.vols., 1921
J. London, Jack London and His Times, 1939; 1968
I. Stone, Sailor on Horseback: The Biography of Jack London, 1938
P. Foner, Jack London: American Rebel, 1947
R. O'Connor, Jack London: A Biography; 1964
F. Walker, Jack London and the Klondike, 1966
A. Sinclair, Jack: A Biography of Jack London, 1977,1983
R. Kingman, A Pictorial Life of Jack London, 1981
J. Perry, Jack London: An American Myth, 1981
J. Hedrick, Solitary Comrade: Jack London and His Work: 1982
J. McClintock, White Logic: Jack London's Short Stories, 1975
C. Watson, The Novels of Jack London, 1983
Critical Essays on Jack London, ed. J. Tavernier-Courbin, 1983
J. Lundquist, Jack London, 1987
C. Stasz, American Dreamers: Chairman and Jack London, 1988
J. London, Jack London and His Daughters, 1991
R. Kingman, Jack London: A Definitive Chronology, 1992
T. Williams, Jack London-The Movies:-An Historical Survey, 1992
The Letters of Jack London, ed. K Labor, R. Leitz, and I. Shepard 1988
Complete Short Stories of Jack London, ed. E. Labor, R. Leitz, and I. Shepard, 1993
E. Labor and J. Reesman, Jack London, 1994
J. Auerbach; Male Call: Becoming Jack London, 1996
Rereading Jack London, ed. L. Cassuto and J. Reesman, 1996
A. Kershaw, Jack London: A Life, 1997
J. Reesman, Jack London: A Study of the Short Fiction, 1999
K Stefoff, Jack London: An American Original, 2002

"The Law of Life," Children of the Frost, 1902
"To Build a Fire," Lost Face, 1910; The Red One, 1918

No comments:

Post a Comment