Jack London – popular novelist
Jack London fought his way up from a hard life of a factory worker in Oakland, California to become the highest paid, most popular novelist and short story writer of his day. His writing appealed not to the few, but to millions of people all around the world. Some of his writings have been translated into as many as seventy different languages.
Jack was a celebrity, a colorful and controversial personality. He was a fiery and eloquent public speaker, and an avid lecturer. He was one of the most attractive and romantic figures of his time.
He worked hard and tried never to miss his early morning 1,000- word writing stint. Between 1900 and 1916 he completed over fifty books, hundreds of short stories, and numerous articles on a wide range of topics.
John Griffith London (1876-1916) was born in San Francisco. He was the illegitimate son of a wandering astrologer and a spiritualist. In 1876, his mother married John London, a partially disabled Civil War veteran.
At the age of 14 he quit school to seek adventure. He worked at various hard labor jobs, pirated for oysters on San Francisco Bay, served on a fish patrol to capture poachers, sailed the Pacific on a sealing ship, joined Kelly’s Army of unemployed working men, strolled around the country. He traveled to the Klondike with the gold prospectors and, returning to California, launched his writing career.
The Call of the Wild (1903) brought him lasting fame. In The People of the Abyss (1903) and John Barleycorn (1913) the writer criticized capitalism and poverty.
He was among the first writers to work with the movie industry, and saw a number of his novels made into films. His novel The Sea-Wolf became the basis for the first full-length American movie. He was also one of the first celebrities to use his endorsement for commercial products in advertising, including dress suits and grape juice.
In 1900 Jack married Bess Maddern, with whom he had two daughters, Joan and Bess. He had an affair with Charmian Kittredge, five years his senior and divorced Bess. In 1905 he married Charmian. He encouraged her own writing career, and she wrote three books: The LogoftheSnark, Our Hawaii, and The Book of Jack London.
London died on November 22, 1916 on the ranch.