Jack London is a literary hero and legend. Although most of his works were published more than a century ago, he still remains as one of the most recognizable names in the literary world today. His writings never wavered in their popularity as the decades went by. The man and his works are as popular today as they were popular over a century ago.
He became world famous in 1903 when his book The Call of the Wild was published. This was the book that made London a household name. This book was also his ticket to becoming the first writer to earn a million dollars from his writings.
Most people only know London as the author of The Call of the Wild but the fact is he had written dozens of works. And these are all great pieces of writing that fans of the written word should read.
Here are some Jack London trivia to help you learn more about the legendary writer:
1. His real name is John Griffith London but he preferred to be called Jack and this is the name he used in all of his published works. He also wanted to be called Wolf.
2. His real father has never been definitely established. Some say his father was William Henry Chaney, an astrologer who lived with Jack's mother Flora Wellman in 1875. Jack was born on January 12, 1876. On the other hand, some say that Jack's father was John London, a man married by Flora nine months after the birth of Jack.
3. Jack's family was very poor so he was often put to work as the breadwinner of the family. He was working even before he finished grade school. He held jobs that included selling newspapers at the Oakland water front, scrubbing the floors of dirty saloons, setting bowling pins in bowling alleys and working in a cannery for twelve hours a day. In his later years, London described his childhood as "my life has been one of toil".
4. Typhoon Off the Coast of Japan, one of London's first published works was a product of his adventures as a sailor aboard the Sophie Sutherland, a sealing schooner that operated in Japan and in the Bering Sea. London joined the schooner's crew when he was just seventeen years old.
5. As a teenager, London worked as a fish patrolman as well as a pirate in the San Francisco Bay. He bought a sloop with the three hundred dollars he borrowed from a certain Jennie Prentiss, his former wet-nurse.
6. He once served a prison term at the Erie County Penitentiary for vagrancy. This happened after his return from the sea as part of the Sophie Sutherland crew.
7. London easily passed the entrance examinations at the University of California in 1896 after extensive cramming. He however dropped out after just one semester because he can no longer afford the university fees.
8. London died on November 22, 1916 at the age of 40, just less than a year before the United States entered World war I.
9. London's most popular works are his books about the North collectively known as the Northland Saga. These include The Call of the Wild, The Son of the Wolf, A Daughter of the Snows, The Faith of Men, Lost Face, Scorn of Women, and Smoke Bellew.
10. London's other major works include The People of the Abyss, The Iron Heel, When God Laughs, The Valley of the Moon, The Star Rover and The Assassination Bureau Ltd.
If you haven't read any of Jack London's writings and you don't know where to start, it's recommended that you begin reading the collection titled Great Short Works of Jack London which was first published in 1965 by Harper & Row. The book contains the stories The Call of the Wild, White Fang, Batard, To Build a Fire, In a Far Country, The Law of Life, Love of Life, and An Odyssey of the North.
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