His experience in the Yukon had convinced him he had stories he could tell. In addition, his own poverty and that of the struggling men and women he encountered pushed him to embrace socialism. In he began publishing stories in the Overland Monthly. The experience of writing and getting published greatly disciplined London as a writer.
From that time forward, London made it a practice to write at least a thousand words a day. London found fame and some fortune at the age of 27 with his novel The Call of the Wild , which told the story of a dog that finds its place in the world as a sled dog in the Yukon. The success did little to soften London's hard-driving lifestyle.
A prolific writer, he published more than 50 books over the last 16 years of his life. The titles included The People of the Abyss , which offered a scathing critique of capitalism; White Fang , a popular tale about a wild wolf dog becoming domesticated; and John Barleycorn , a memoir of sorts that detailed his lifelong battle with alcohol. He charged forth in other ways, too. He covered the Russo-Japanese War in for Hearst papers, introduced American readers to Hawaii and the sport of surfing, and frequently lectured about the problems associated with capitalism.
In London married Bess Maddern. The couple had two daughters together, Joan and Bess. By some accounts Bess and London's relationship was constructed less around love and more around the idea that they could have strong, healthy children together. It's not surprising, then, that their marriage lasted just a few years. In , following his divorce from Bess, London married Charmian Kittredge, whom he would be with for the rest of his life.
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For much of the last decade of his life, London faced a number of health issues. This included kidney disease, which ended up taking his life. He died at his California ranch, which he shared with Kittredge, on November 22, We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! Sign up for the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. Philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. Rockefeller and heir to his fortune.
Mobster John "Junior" Gotti allegedly served as a capo in the Gambino family and was the acting boss when his father, John Gotti, now deceased, was in prison. And soon enough "Frisco Kid", as he was called, was one the most notorious oyster thieves of Oakland Bay. He figured that this was a way to make more money, even though you'd also spend more money and if you had to go to jail you still would have to work less than in the factory.
Still this way of life also offered it's share of terrors and humdrum and so the young lad Jack started thinking of settling down with his family again. Late at night after work he tried to get some education into himself, an undertaking doomed to failure due to the harsh working conditions. Again he tried to escape from it all, this time as a tramp travelling the freight trains across America.
Back in San Francisco he found his mother a widow and had now to assume the position of the bread-winner. He finally passed his grades and went to university in Berkeley, at the same time working in a laundry. When he was not allowed to take a final test after having participated on a so called "press", a very condensed version of the university education, explaining to him that his unusually high level would reflect badly on the basic conditions, this sort of narrowmindedness again drove into the arms of further adventures, this time in Alaska.
Again he failed as an adventurer and came back broke. Contritefully he got a postal education and would almost have ended as a postman, had he only found employment. More out of despair than anything else he again wrote a short story - this time selling it in no time at all.
The Short, Frantic, Rags-to-Riches Life of Jack London
And when finally the postal service got around to offer him employment, he had a difficult decision to make. Should he chose to become a writer, and accept all the insecurities that come with this, or should he choose the regular paycheck that comes with the situation he was offered.
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The rather rude behaviour of the man about to hire him finally made his decision and lay the foundation to one of the most remarkable careers of a writer in history. Jack London was at this point hardly 25 years of age. And started over to become very very famous. He fought his way up out of the factories and waterfront dives of West Oakland to become the highest paid, most popular novelist and short story writer of his day.
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As a result, his writing appealed not to the few, but to millions of people all around the world. Along with his books and stories, however, Jack London was widely known for his personal exploits. He was a celebrity, a colorful and controversial personality who was often in the news. Generally fun-loving and playful, he could also be combative, and was quick to side with the underdog against injustice or oppression of any kind.
He was a fiery and eloquent public speaker, and much sought after as a lecturer on socialism and other economic and political topics.
Yours for the Revolution: the life of Jack London
Despite his avowed socialism, most people considered him a living symbol of rugged individualism, a man whose fabulous success was due not to special favor of any kind, but to a combination of unusual mental ability and immense vitality. Strikingly handsome, full of laughter, restless and courageous to a fault, always eager for adventure on land or sea, he was one of the most attractive and romantic figures of his time.
Jack London ascribed his literary success largely to hard work - to "dig," as he put it. He tried never to miss his early morning 1,word writing stint, concerning this his determination was iron. London developed a sense to know when his words were up and sometimes stopped in the middle of a Several of the books and many of the short stories are classics of their kind, well thought of in critical terms and still popular around the world. Today, almost countless editions of London's writings are available and some of them have been translated into as many as seventy different languages.
In addition to his daily writing stint and his commitments as a lecturer, London also carried on voluminous correspondence he received some 10, letters per year , read proofs of his work as it went to press, negotiated with his various agents and publishers, and conducted other business such as overseeing construction of his custom-built sailing ship, the Snark - , construction of Wolf House - , and the operation of his beloved Beauty Ranch, which became a primary preoccupation after about Along with all this, he had to continually generate new ideas for books and stories and do the research so necessary to his writing.
Somehow, he managed to do all these things and still find time to go swimming, horseback riding, or sailing on San Francisco Bay. He also spent 27 months cruising the South Pacific in the Snark, put in two tours of duty as an overseas war correspondent, traveled widely for pleasure, entertained a continual stream of guests whenever he was at home in Glen Ellen, and did his fair share of barroom socializing and debating. In order to fit all this living into the narrow confines of one lifetime, he often tried to make do with no more than four or five hours of sleep at night.
London was first attracted to the Sonoma Valley by its magnificent natural landscape, a unique combination of high hills, fields and streams, and a beautiful mixed forest of oaks, madrones, California buckeyes, Douglas Fir, and redwood trees. Instead, he reveled in its deep canyons and forests, its year-round springs and streams. I am anchoring good and solid, and anchoring for keeps He was divorced from Bessie Maddern , his first wife and the mother of his two daughters, Joan and Little Bess, and he had married Charmian Kittredge.
Living and owning land near Glen Ellen was a way of escaping from Oakland - from the city way of life he called the "man-trap. While his barn and other ranch improvements were still under construction he decided to build a ship and go sailing around the world - exploring, writing, adventuring - enjoying the "big moments of living" that he craved and that would give him still more material to write about.
The great voyage was to last seven years and take Jack and Charmian around the world. The journey in fact lasted 27 months and took them "only" as far as the South Pacific and Australia. Discouraged by a variety of health problems, and heartbroken about having to abandon the trip and sell the Snark , London returned to Glen Ellen and to his plans for the ranch. In , '10 and '11 he bought more land, and in moved from Glen Ellen to a small ranch house in the middle of his holdings. He rode horseback throughout the countryside, exploring every canyon, glen and hill top.
And he threw himself into farming - scientific agriculture - as one of the few justifiable, basic, and idealistic ways of making a living.
Related Jack London: A Life
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