Jack London

A picture of the author Jack London

Jack London (Jan 12, 1876 - Nov 22, 1916) was an American author best known for writing The Call of the Wild. Jack London was his pen name, likely born in San Francisco, California as John Griffith Chaney. Like the restive characters in his works, London sought a variety of experiences as a young man including sailor, hobo and an agitator for jobs during the depression. He also wrote some of the earliest Dystopian Fiction, including The Iron Heel which portrays America under tyrannical rule, written ten years before the Bolsheviks took over Russia.

During his vagrant period, he spent thirty days in the Erie County jail in New York:

"Man-handling was merely one of the very minor unprintable horrors of the Erie County Pen. I say 'unprintable'; and in justice I must also say 'unthinkable'. They were unthinkable to me until I saw them, and I was no spring chicken in the ways of the world and the awful abysses of human degradation. It would take a deep plummet to reach bottom in the Erie County Pen, and I do but skim lightly and facetiously the surface of things as I there saw them."

Jack London, The Call of the WildLondon became a well-known writer and was one of the first to achieve true financial success from his writings. His success brought controversy as well. He was prodigious writer producing over 500 works and was often accused of plagiarism. The manner in which he chose to work contributed to those accusations; he bought plots for stories and novels from a young Sinclair Lewis and he used incidents read in newspapers as material for his stories.

London's most famous short story, particularly popular in both middle- and high school language arts classes, is To Build a Fire. His best-selling book during his lifetime was his 1910 novel Burning Daylight.

Jack London, quote about hand dealtA couple of favorite Jack London quotes:
"Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well."
"The most beautiful stories always start with wreckage."
"A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog."

Enjoy our useful The Call of the Wild Study Guide, and visit our retrospective of Jack London images on Pinterest.

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Short Stories

A Curious Fragment
A Daughter of the Aurora
A Day's Lodging
A Flutter in Eggs
A Hyperborean Brew
All Gold Canyon
Aloha Oe
Amateur Night
An Adventure in the Upper Sea
An Odyssey of the North
A Nose for the King
A Piece of Steak
A Raid on the Oyster Pirates
A Relic of the Pliocene
At the Rainbow's End
A Wicked Woman
Brown Wolf
Bunches of Knuckles
By the Turtles of the Tasman
Charley's Coup
Chris Farrington: Able Seaman
Chun Ah Chun
Created He Them
Demetrios Contos
Dutch Courage
Flush of Gold
Four Horses and a Sailor
Good-bye, Jack
Grit of Women
Hoboes That Pass in the Night
Holding Her Down
In a Far Country
In the Forests of the North
In Yeddo Bay
Jack London
Jack London, by Himself
Jan, the Unrepentant
Just Meat
Keesh, the Son of Keesh
Koolau the Leper
Like Argus of the Ancient Times
Li Wan, the Fair
Local Color
Lost Face
Love of Life
Make Westing
Nam-bok the Unveracious
Negore, the Coward
Nothing that Ever Came to Anything
On the Makaloa Mat
Our Adventures In Tampico
Road-Kids and Gay-Cats
Semper Idem
Shorty Dreams
South of the Slot
Stalking The Pestilence
That Dead Men Rise up Never
That Spot
The Apostate
The Banks of the Sacramento
The Benefit of the Doubt
The Bones of Kahekili
The Chinago
The Curious Fragment
The Death of Ligoun
The Dream of Debs
The End of the Story
The Enemy of All the World
The Eternity of Forms
The Faith of Men
The First Poet
The "Francis Spaight"
The "Fuzziness" of Hoockla-Heen
The God of His Fathers
The Great Interrogation
The Hanging of Cultus George
The Heathen
The Hobo and the Fairy
The House of Mapuhi
The House of Pride
The Human Drift
The Hussy
The Inevitable White Man
The Kanaka Surf
The King of Mazy May
The King of the Greeks
The Law of Life
The League of the Old Men
The Leopard Man's Story
The Little Man
The Lost Poacher
The Madness of John Harned
The Man on the Other Bank
The Man with the Gash
The Marriage of Lit-lit
The Master of Mystery
The Meat
The Men of Forty Mile
The Mexican
The Minions of Midas
The Mistake of Creation
The Night-Born
The One Thousand Dozen
The Passing of Marcus O'Brien
The Pen
The Priestly Prerogative
The Princess
The Prodigal Father
The Race for Number One
The Red Game Of War
The Red One
The Scarlet Plaque
The Scorn of Women
The Sea-Farmer
The Seed of McCoy
The Shadow and the Flash
The Sheriff of Kona
The Sickness of Lone Chief
The Siege of the "Lancashire Queen"
The Son of the Wolf
The Stampede to Squaw Creek
The Story of Jees Uck
The Story of Keesh
The Strength of the Strong
The Sun-Dog Trail
The Sunlanders
The Taste of the Meat
The Tears of Ah Kim
The Terrible Solomons
The Town-Site of Tra-Lee
The Trouble Makers Of Mexico
The Unexpected
The Unparalleled Invasion
The Water Baby
The Whale Tooth
The White Man's Way
The White Silence
The Wife of a King
The Wisdom of the Trail
The Wit of Porportuk
To Build a Fire
To Kill a Man
Told in the Drooling Ward
Too Much Gold
To Repel Boarders
To the Man on the Trail
Two Thousand Stiffs
Typhoon Off the Coast of Japan
Under the Deck Awnings
When Alice Told her Soul
When God Laughs
When the World Was Young
Where the Trail Forks
Which Make Men Remember
White and Yellow
Winged Blackmail
With Funston’s Men
Wonder of Woman
"Yah! Yah! Yah!"
Yellow Handkerchief



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