January 12,1876–November 22,1916
The Call of the Wild
John Griffith Chaney “Jack” London, the illegitimate son of an itinerant astrologer, grew up in a family that moved frequently. He attended school only occasionally, and he and other youths sometimes raided oyster beds in the San Francisco bay. In 1893, the teenage Jack London boarded a ship and sailed to Japan.
He tramped through the United States and Canada, briefly attended the University of California, returned to the waterfront, developed an interest in the Socialist Party, and, in 1897, joined the gold rush to the Klondike. There he got to know the rugged individuals who would become characters in his books.Smoke Bellew, typically, describes the hero's adventures, both hair-raising (struggling up an icy escarpment) and humorous (trying to corner the market on fresh eggs), in frontier Alaska.
“His experience in the Klondike was the turning point in his career,” theDictionary of Literary Biography stated, quoting London: ” 'It was in the Klondike that I found myself,' he confessed. There you get your perspective. I got mine.' Forced by an attack of scurvy to return home the next summer, he took back no gold, but a wealth of experiences—not only his own but also those of the argonauts and sourdoughs with whom he had spent the richest winter of his life, experiences which his artistic genius could then transmute into marketable fictions.”