Jack London

Jack London
London in 1903
London in 1903
BornJohn Griffith Chaney
(1876-01-12)January 12, 1876
San Francisco, California, U.S.
DiedNovember 22, 1916(1916-11-22) (aged 40)
Glen Ellen, California, U.S.
OccupationNovelist, journalist, short story writer and essayist
Literary movementRealism, Naturalism
Spouse
Elizabeth Maddern
(m. 1900; div. 1904)


Signature

John Griffith London (born John Griffith Chaney;[1] January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916)[2][3][4][5] was an American novelist, journalist, and social activist. A pioneer in the world of commercial magazine fiction, he was one of the first writers to become a worldwide celebrity and earn a large fortune from writing. He was also an innovator in the genre that would later become known as science fiction.[6]

His most famous works include The Call of the Wild and White Fang, both set in the Klondike Gold Rush, as well as the short stories "To Build a Fire", "An Odyssey of the North", and "Love of Life". He also wrote about the South Pacific in stories such as "The Pearls of Parlay" and "The Heathen", and of the San Francisco Bay area in The Sea Wolf.

London was part of the radical literary group "The Crowd" in San Francisco and a passionate advocate of unionization, socialism, and the rights of workers. He wrote several powerful works dealing with these topics, such as his dystopian novel The Iron Heel, his non-fiction exposé The People of the Abyss, and The War of the Classes.

Family

Flora Wellman

Jack London's mother, Flora Wellman, was the fifth and youngest child of Pennsylvania Canal builder Marshall Wellman and his first wife, Eleanor Garrett Jones. Marshall Wellman was descended from Thomas Wellman, an early Puritan settler in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.[7] Flora left Ohio and moved to the Pacific coast when her father remarried after her mother died. In San Francisco, Flora worked as a music teacher and spiritualist, claiming to channel the spirit of a Sauk chief, Black Hawk.[8]

Biographer Clarice Stasz and others believe London's father was astrologer William Chaney.[9] Flora Wellman was living with Chaney in San Francisco when she became pregnant. Whether Wellman and Chaney were legally married is unknown. Most San Francisco civil records were destroyed by the extensive fires that followed the 1906 earthquake; nobody knows what name appeared on her son's birth certificate. Stasz notes that in his memoirs, Chaney refers to London's mother Flora Wellman as having been his "wife"; he also cites an advertisement in which Flora called herself "Florence Wellman Chaney".[citation needed]

According to Flora Wellman's account, as recorded in the San Francisco Chronicle of June 4, 1875, Chaney demanded that she have an abortion. When she refused, he disclaimed responsibility for the child. In desperation, she shot herself. She was not seriously wounded, but she was temporarily deranged. After giving birth, Flora turned the baby over for care to Virginia Prentiss, an African-American woman and former slave. She was a major maternal figure throughout London's life. Late in 1876, Flora Wellman married John London, a partially disabled Civil War veteran, and brought her baby John, later known as Jack, to live with the newly married couple. The family moved around the San Francisco Bay Area before settling in Oakland, where London completed public grade school.

In 1897, when he was 21 and a student at the University of California, Berkeley, London searched for and read the newspaper accounts of his mother's suicide attempt and the name of his biological father. He wrote to William Chaney, then living in Chicago. Chaney responded that he could not be London's father because he was impotent; he casually asserted that London's mother had relations with other men and averred that she had slandered him when she said he insisted on an abortion. Chaney concluded by saying that he was more to be pitied than London.[10] London was devastated by his father's letter; in the months following, he quit school at Berkeley and went to the Klondike during the gold rush boom.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Jack London
العربية: جاك لندن
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asturianu: Jack London
azərbaycanca: Cek London
تۆرکجه: جک لندن
башҡортса: Джек Лондон
беларуская: Джэк Лондан
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Джэк Лёндан
български: Джек Лондон
bosanski: Jack London
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Чӑвашла: Джек Лондон
čeština: Jack London
Deutsch: Jack London
Ελληνικά: Τζακ Λόντον
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فارسی: جک لندن
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한국어: 잭 런던
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हिन्दी: जैक लंडन
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မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဂျက်လန်ဒန်
norsk nynorsk: Jack London
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پنجابی: جیک لندن
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română: Jack London
русский: Джек Лондон
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српски / srpski: Џек Лондон
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Jack London
svenska: Jack London
татарча/tatarça: Cek London
తెలుగు: జాక్ లండన్
тоҷикӣ: Ҷек Лондон
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українська: Джек Лондон
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