London, Jack (1876–1916)

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Jack London (1876–1916)

One-time vagrant, gold miner, and socialist politician, Jack London is famous for his adventure stories and tales of the Yukon basin region in Alaska and Northwest Canada. Most famous of all are The Call of the Wild (1903) and White Fang (1906). Although often dismissed as a writer of simple adventures, much of London's work has a tough, adult edge. Novels like The Sea Wolf (1904) also explore the savagery of the human soul.

Always ready for new experiences, London was a war correspondent in Japan, suffered scurvy (a disorder resulting from lack of Vitamin C) in the Klondike, and lived in wretched and filthy conditions in an English slum while researching The People of the Abyss (1903). Despite having no formal education, his writing entertained and informed millions of readers during his short working life. At one time, he was the best-selling author in the world. Although few of his many books are even in print in 2002, London's life and works anticipated the "hardboiled" writers of the 1930s and 1940s.

—Chris Routledge

For More Information

Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE. The Jack London Collection. (accessed January 9, 2002).

Dyer, Daniel. Jack London: A Biography. New York: Scholastic Press, 1997.

Labor, Earle, and Jeanne Campbells Reesman. Jack London. New York: Twayne, 1994.

Lisandrelli, Elaine Slivinski. Jack London: A Writer's Adventurous Life. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow, 1999.