Sunday, January 6, 2008

Jack London

Jack London (born Jan. 12, 1876, died Nov. 22, 1916) is best known for his books The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and The Sea-Wolf, and a few short stories, such as "To Build a Fire" and "The White Silence." In fact, he was a prolific writer whose fiction explored several regions and their cultures: the Yukon, California, Hawaii, and the Solomon Islands. He experimented with many literary forms, from conventional love stories and dystopias to science fantasy. His noted journalism included war correspondence, boxing stories, and the life of Molokai lepers. A committed socialist, he insisted against editorial pressures to write political essays and insert social criticism in his fiction. He was among the most influential figures of his day, who understood how to create a public persona and use the media to market his self-created image of poor-boy-turned-success. London's great passion was agriculture, and he was well on the way of creating a new model for ranching through his Beauty Ranch when he died of kidney disease at age 40. He left over fifty books of novels, stories, journalism, and essays, many of which have been translated and continue to be read around the world

The Abysmal Brute (1911) [ available at The World of Jack London ]A prize fighter faces the corruption of civilization and finds redemption in the wilds of California.

Adventure (1911)Located in the Solomon Islands, this devastating portrayal of copra plantation slavery has scholars arguing whether London was criticizing the racism of the colonialists or approving of it.

Before Adam (1907)The modern narrator's dreams transport him to a prehistoric community. Illustrated.

Burning Daylight (1910)A tale of the Klondike Goldrush and the corrupting influence of high stakes capitalism. One of the "Sonoma County novels." Illustrated.

The Call of the Wild (1903) [A concordance is available for this work Audio Book version from LibriVox]The mythopoetic story of Buck, a sledge dog in the Klondike, and his journey of transformation.
The Cruise of the Dazzler (1902)[ available at The World of Jack London ]Escapades of the "Frisco Kid," a gritty and mischievous youth whose quick wit and courage see him through challenge and adventure.
A Daughter of the Snows (1902)London's first novel introduces the typical strong, independent, well-educated heroine that would run through much of his fiction. This file was provided by Dave Hartzell on his web site.

The Game (1905)This prizefight story is alleged to have prompted heavyweight champion Gene Tunney to retire from boxing after reading it in the late 1920s.
Hearts of Three (1918) [Available from the Internet Archive]Originally intended as a film scenario, this plot is an improbably adventure story that can't help but bring to mind the "Lost Ark" films of decades later!

The Iron Heel (1908) [A concordance is available for this work]A futuristic tale of facist tyranny and socialist revolution considered a classic work of American radical literature. Much admired by Eugene Debs, Leon Trotsky, and George Orwell.

Jerry of the Islands (1917)Jerry is a dog whose experiences reflect the cruelty and racism of colonial Melanesia.
The Kempton-Wace Letters (1903) With Anna Strunsky [available from Google Book Search]A epistolary novel, the only one London wrote with another. Strunsky wrote the letters of Dane Kempton, who presents a romantic view of love, disputed by London in the form of Herbert Wace.
The Little Lady of the Big House (1916)A triangle romance provides the basis for a questioning of the meaning of masculinity, as well as an examination of agribusiness in California. This file was contributed by Dave Maddock.

Martin Eden (1913) [A concordance and curriculum materials are available for this work ]Set in San Francisco, this is the story of Martin Eden, a seaman who pursues his dreams of education and literary fame.
Michael, Brother of Jerry (1917)This story of brutality toward animals inspired a movement known as the Jack London Clubs, which were devoted to the cause of animal welfare and humane treatment.
The Mutiny of the Elsinore (1914)Written during a time of tragedy, this novel of sea life fails in either its story or doctrinaire intentions.
The Scarlet Plague (1912) Audio dramatization from Radio Nostalgia Network.This novella explores life following a devastating plague that wipes out most of humanity. Here's a summary.

The Sea-Wolf (1904) [A concordance and curriculum materials are available for this work]Chronicles the voyages of a ship run by the ruthless Wolf Larsen, among the greatest of London's characters, and spokesman for an extreme individualism London intended to critique.

The Star Rover (1915)The great transmigration novel inspired by the experiences of an ex-prisoner's acount of coping with "the Jacket," a form of torture at San Quentin. London was a lifelong supporter of humane prison practices.

The Valley of the Moon (1913)Serialized in Cosmopolitan, April-December, 1913The first part of this novel exposes the struggles of the working-class of London's day, while the latter part is an exploration of the California landscape, with Sonoma Valley providing the "perfect spot" for the wandering lovers.

White Fang (1906) [A concordance is available for this work]An initiation story concerning the taming of a wild dog in the Klondike.
* = The collection is completely online.

Children of the Frost* (1902)Tales from the Klondike, including "The Law of Life" and "Nam-Bok, the Liar."

Dutch Courage and Other Stories* (1922)A collection of very early stories published posthumously, with a preface by his wife Charmian.

The Faith of Men & Other Stories* (1904)More stories from the north, including "The story of Jees Uck" and "The One Thousand Dozen."

The God of His Fathers & Other Stories * (1901)Northland tales, including "The Scorn of Women" and "A Daughter of the Aurora."

The House of Pride & Other Tales of Hawaii * (1912)South Sea tales including "Koloau the Leper" and "The Sheriff of Kona."

Lost Face * (1910)Includes "To Build a Fire."

Love of Life & Other Stories* (1907)Includes "Brown Wolf" and "The Story of Keesh."

Moon-Face & Other Stories* (1906)Includes "All Gold Canyon" and "Planchette."

The Night Born* (1913)A varied collection including "War," "The Mexican," and "To Kill a Man."

On the Makaloa Mat* (1919)The best Hawaii stories, and among London's best stories overall, including "Shin Bones" and "The Water Baby."

The Red One* (1918)Features the haunting title novella, well worth comparing to Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness."
Smoke Bellew (1912)Not yet available.But there is a version at The World of Jack London.
A Son of the Sun* (1912)A number of lesser-known South Pacific tales.

The Son of the Wolf* (1900) [A concordance is available for this work]The first Klondike tales, including "The White Silence."

South Sea Tales* (1911)Darker Pacific tales, including "Mauki" and "The Terrible Solomans."

The Strength of the Strong* (1914)Includes "The Dream of Debs," "South of the Slot," and "The Unparalleled Invasion."

Tales of the Fish Patrol* (1905)Stories set on the San Francisco Bay of London's youth, including "A Raid on the Oyster Pirates."

The Turtles of Tasman (1916)A minor collection that includes the amazing "Told in the Drooling Ward."

When God Laughs & Other Stories * (1911)This outstanding collection includes "The Apostate," "Just Meat," "A Piece of Steak," and "Chinago."

Uncollected StoriesStories never anthologized by London, including "A Thousand Deaths."
An incomplete list.

The Human Drift (1917)An eclectic mix of short stories like "Small-Boat Sailing" essays such as "The Human Drift", an introduction to Two Years Before the Mast, and a couple of dramatic sketches. One of London's most delightful humor pieces, "Navigating Four Horses Through the North Bay" is also included here.

Revolution and Other Essays (1909)Stories and essays that highlight London's Socialist thought.

The Acorn-Planter:A California Forest Play (1916)Features the fictional Nishinam tribe and their eventual encounter with explorers.
Daughters of the Rich: A One-Act Play (1915)Available at The World of Jack London, courtesy of David Hartzell.
Gold. (1972) With Herbert Herron, edited by James Sisson.Not yet available.
Scorn of Women (1906) [Available from Microsoft Book Search]Also available in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format from the Internet Archive.
An incomplete list.
The Cruise of the Snark (1913)An autobiographical memoir of the 1907-09 voyage across the Pacific, with most emphasis upon Hawaii. For a less dramatized and detailed account of this voyage, see Charmian London's Log of the Snark and Our Hawaii.

John Barleycorn (1913)An autobiographical memoir that deals with the debilitating effects of alcohol as personified in "The Noseless One" (illustrated). Though some scholars have viewed this book to be fiction, London himself claimed it was truthful.

The People of the Abyss (1903) [A concordance is available for this work]Based on London's observations of the slums of London and illustrated with photographs taken by himself and others (illustrated).

The Road (1907)Tales of London's days as a hobo, profusely illustrated with (posed) photographs and drawings.

War of the Classes (1905)Mainly consisting of the texts of speeches London presented on behalf of socialism.

Jack London's JournalismNon-fiction newspaper and magazine pieces.

First Appearances of Jack London's StoriesThis web site by Carl Bell of Baylor University provides the first versions of many of London's stories that were published in magazines of the day.

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