He was born in San Francisco. At birth he was named John Chaney, but eight months later, when his mother married, he became John Griffith London. London’s youth came at a time of economic depression and unemployment, the family’s financial situation was becoming increasingly precarious.
In his youth he changed many professions: he worked in a cannery, power plant, jute factory, was close to the “oyster pirates” of San Francisco Bay, in 1893 London for eight months offshore fishing seals. Upon his return, he takes part in a literary contest – he writes an essay “Typhoon of the Shores of Japan” and wins first prize.
In 1894 London participated in the march of the army of the unemployed on Washington; he wandered in the United States and Canada, was in prison for vagrancy, was arrested for socialist activities.
In 1896 he entered the University of California, but left because he could not pay tuition and went to Alaska, seized by the “gold rush,” was a prospector.
In 1902 the novel The Daughter of the Snows and the book The Men of the Abyss, about life in London’s poorest East End neighborhood, are published.
To London comes fame, his financial situation stabilizes, he marries Elizabeth Maddern, he gives birth to two daughters. Under the strong influence of all he had seen and experienced in Alaska creates a series of novels and short stories published in his collections “Son of the Wolf,” “God of his fathers,” “Children of Frost. The talented animal stories “Call of the Ancestors” and “White Fang” were attached to this cycle.
In 1904, one of London’s most famous novels, The Sea Wolf, about Captain Wolf Larsen, was published.
In the same year, London goes on a business trip to Korea for the Russo-Japanese war. Upon his return, he divorces his wife and marries her former girlfriend Charmaine Kittredge.
In 1907-1909. London makes a voyage by sea on a yacht “Snark” built by him on his own designs.
Over the next seventeen years he published two or even three books a year: the autobiographical novel Martin Eden, about a sailor who struggles his way to the heights of knowledge and writing fame; the autobiographical treatise on alcoholism John Barley Seed, a tragic argument for Prohibition, and the novel Moon Valley.
On November 22, 1916. London died in Glen Ellen, California, from a lethal dose of morphine, which he took either to moderate the pain caused by uremia or knowingly, wishing to commit suicide.
In 1920 his novel Hearts of Three was published posthumously.
Aphorisms and Quotes of Jack London
- Money, like youth, knows no barriers.
- Alcoholism, a product of barbarism, has had a dead grip on mankind since the grey and wild old days and collects a monstrous tribute from it, devouring youth, undermining strength, suppressing energy, destroying the best blossom of the human race.
- To me there is something attractive in a drunken man, and if I were at the head of any educational institution I would certainly establish a department to study the psychology of drunks, with obligatory practical classes.
- If you think clearly, you will write clearly; if your thought is valuable, your writing will be valuable.
- If you have withheld the truth, concealed it, if you have not risen from your seat and spoken at the meeting, if you have spoken without telling the whole truth, you have betrayed the truth.
- Life is a strange thing. I have thought about it a lot, pondered about it for a long time, but every day it seems more and more incomprehensible to me. Why do we have such a thirst for life? After all, life is a game from which man never comes out the winner. To live means to work hard and suffer until old age creeps up on others, and then we put our hands down on the cold ashes of cold fires. To live is hard. In anguish a child is born, in anguish an old man draws his last breath, and all our days are filled with sorrow and worry. And yet man goes into the open arms of death reluctantly, stumbling, falling; looking back, fighting to the last. And yet death is kind. Only life causes suffering. But we love life and hate death. It is very strange!
- A woman is a failed man.
- Man’s true purpose is to live, not to exist.
- A bone thrown to a dog is not mercy; mercy is a bone shared with a dog when you are as hungry as he is.
- Better let me be ashes and dust! Better let my flame dry up in a dazzling flash than let mold suffocate it!
- The beginning of the road is a shot, the middle is drinking company, a light drink, a couple of shots at dinner. The end – in jail for drunken murder, for embezzlement, in a psychiatric hospital, in the grave from an occasional mild illness. Many overworked men of mental labor and laborers, succumbing to delusion, take the path on which alcohol leads them to death.