Jack London

BookJack London

Jack London

Writers and Their Work


May 31st, 2018



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Recounting his 1897-98 Klondike Gold Rush experience Jack London stated: “It was in the Klondike I found myself. There nobody talks. Everybody thinks. There you get your perspective. I got mine.” This study explores how London’s Northland odyssey - along with an insatiable intellectual curiosity, a hardscrabble youth in the San Francisco Bay Area, and an acute craving for social justice - launched the literary career of one of America’s most dynamic 20th-century writers. The major Northland works - including The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and “To Build a Fire”- are considered in connection with the motifs of literary Naturalism, as well as in relation to complicated issues involving imperialism, race, and gender. London’s key subjects—the frontier, the struggle for survival, and economic mobility—are examined in conjunction with how he developed the underlying themes of his work to engage and challenge the social, political, and philosophical revolutions of his era that were initiated by Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, and others.

'"Multum in Parvo" would be an appropriate title for this review. Seldom have I read a scholarly book that provided so much useful content in so few pages... Jack London has finally achieved recognition in his own country as a major author for all literary sseasons.'
Earle Labor, Western American Literature


Author Information

Kenneth K. Brandt is a Professor of English at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He is the Executive Coordinator of the Jack London Society, the editor of The Call: The Magazine of the Jack London Society, and the co-editor of Approaches to Teaching the Works of Jack London.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Half Title2
Title Page4
Dedication 5
Biographical Outline8
1 Jack London: An Adventurous Mind14
2 Getting the Perspective: The Northland Stories34
3 Into and Out of the Wild: The Call of the Wild and White Fang55
4 Class Struggle: Socialist Writings and The Iron Heel73
5 Individualism and its Discontents: The Sea-Wolf and Martin Eden88
6 Free and Determined: Questions of Agency in The Road and The Star Rover105
7 Sailing West: The Pacific Stories119
8 Coda: Literary Legacy and Scholarship137
Select Bibliography150